This weekend, as well as playing with my new e-reader, I made up a few test batches of soap. One of the key ingredients in my old recipe, palm oil, isn’t available to me locally at a reasonable price anymore so I’m having to try out new recipes to find a new one that I like.

I hate trying out new recipes – I do little 100-gram batches to find one I like (no sense making a big batch of something I won’t like) and you have to clean up all the equipment and such from the previous batch before you can do a new one. A hundred grams is about the size of a large bar of soap (or two small ones) and it’s easier to figure things in metric.

And of course I was in a rush and tried to hurry things along by oven-processing the first batches. I don’t often do oven-processing even though it speeds up the curing process. Soap cures faster if you heat it up, but there’s a Goldilocks zone – to cool and it does nothing too hot and it, well…

Does this.

It’s called “volcanoing” – the soap gets so hot in the center that it liquefies, boils, and foams up. It’s a bad thing. The greenish soap on the left was so bad I had to rebatch it – I melted it down with a little water to get rid of the foam and poured it back into the mold. The batch in the back right blue cups might need it later, they look a bit odd. I don’t like rebatching soap, it comes out less smooth and sort of grainy.

I did get a couple to come out right. I think I’ll let them cure normally.

Much better.