How to make an easy gingerbread soap, a practical, well appreciated gift that is perfect for stocking fillers, teacher's gifts or for the person who has everything!
- be careful to follow instructions very carefully)
Note: Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH), also known as lye, is an essential ingredient in the soap making process.
When sodium hydroxide beads or flakes are mixed with a liquid, a lye solution is created.
This solution, when mixed with fats and oils, will cause a chemical reaction called saponification.
The result of saponification is beautiful handmade soap.
Make your lye solution using a heatproof bowl or container. As always, add your lye to your gingerbread tea and
not the other way around!!! Be very careful when working with lye and the lye solution. Wear gloves, protective
goggles, enclosed shoes and long sleeved shirt and pants! Always use in a well ventilated room or even outside.
Let the solution cool down in an area where it won't be touched or knocked over by other people or pets.
Meanwhile, mix together your olive and coconut oils, and measure out your molasses. You can also take
the time to prepare your molds by oiling them down. I use silicone molds and plastic containers for my
Add your lye mixture to your oil mixture and mix together. Once you have incorporated the lye solution
into the oils you can begin to mix them together with a hand blender.
When you start to reach trace, the point in the soap making process in which your mixture begins to look
like mayonnaise in texture, you'll want to add in your molasses and essential oils. You can also add in
vanilla extract, which will help darken the soap a little more and will add a bit of vanilla scent, at least for
awhile. Most soap makers say that the scent from vanilla extract, though, is very short lived, and some
people have had problems with the alcohol in the extract causing the soap to seize (I didn't have that
problem), so you may not want to risk adding it in.
As for the essential oils, this time I added more ginger than anything else, followed by cinnamon, and just
a few drops of clove oil. I usually don't measure and just let my nose guide me, but it usually ends up being
about 5ml of EOs overall.
Mix together all of your ingredients, and pour them into your prepared molds. I like to wait until it gets to a
slightly thicker mayonnaise texture (but not too thick) to make sure it is completely and thoroughly mixed
and to be certain it has reached a definite trace.
Cover your soap with a cloth and set aside for at least 24 hours. After 24 hours has passed, you can carefully
unmold your soap. If you used a large mold, you can cut your soap into bars at this stage. I decided to use a
cookie cutter to cut a few bars of soap into a gingerbread shape. While I think it makes a cute gift that way,
I must admit that I like the practicality of a bar of soap much better.
Leave your soap to fully harden for about a month. To help the process, leave space between each bar, and
turn them over every day or two, at least at first.
Enjoy your soap!
Recipe and photo sourced from Oh, the things we'll make!