I started my first batch today. It's currently cooling in the fridge and it seems to be taking a little longer than 2-3 hours to set completely but I am hoping it's ready to cure tomorrow.
Observations: It was a really fun process though way messier and more chaotic than I imagined after watching Beau's beautiful videos. I am sure more experienced soap makers have a process going but I found myself trying to figure out the best way to measure and heat the oil (since for palm and coconut oils, it required me to heat to be able to measure) with the tempeature checking, pouring, watching the video again, etc -- all while trying to keep everything clean! I think I decided (though I can try this again) that heating via microwave was a little easier than heating in a pan on the stove. While you may have more control on the stove, it seemed messier and I think I accidentally splashed a little water into the oil once when I was removing it from the stove. Beginners mess, I'm sure!
I was a bit nervous about the temperatures of the oil and/or lye cooling too much while I heated the other oils. I'm not sure if you're supposed to feel rushed during this step or if it's something as you get more efficient in, you get a sense of how much time is too much.
Questions I have so far: - What happens if you keep mixing after trace? I got to a point where I thought it was in trace but wasn't sure. Would you ruin the batch if you mix too long? - Do you have to heat all of the oils separately or would it make sense to measure them and heat all at once to 104 F?
Can't wait to cut my soap tomorrow. Crossing my fingers it's ready!
My soap has been curing for some time and it's finally finished. While it's a bit messier/not perfectly rectangular than I'd like (most likely because I put too much in the container and it couldn't completely dry before I started curing), I think it actually turned out great. It lathers beautifully and I am loving it. I can't wait to try another recipe (something scented this time!).