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Marina's versions of double boiler and oven hot process soapmaking methods (DBHP, OHP) - Overview

Please notice these suggestions are made available as general information only. Soap making from scratch implies working with dangerous substances, such as caustic soda in its pure form (NaOH - sodium hydroxide, or KOH - potassium hydroxide). We do not assume or accept any responsibility for, and will not be liable for the accuracy or inappropriate application of any information whatsoever in any material on this website.
If you prefer to avoid working with strong lye solutions, you can choose the easy road and purchase a natural soap base for hand milling, also known as rebatching or, less appropriately, as remilling.

Overview

In the last few years, several Hot Process soapmaking methods have been devised, defined and made available. I have chosen to describe here the two I know best: the Double Boiler Hot Process soap making method, and the Oven Hot Process method. Although I have not "invented" either of these soapmaking methods, I feel I have acquired sufficient experience, over several years, to describe them in detail, and offer my personal versions of both.

It is however important to note that soapmaking is not suitable for everyone and all. Safety considerations are paramount when working with "lye", and we assume the reader is 100% aware of the risks, and can take total responsibility for the consequences.

Before attempting to make soap for the first time, you might like to check out some basic safety considerations for a run down of the precautions required when working with strong alkalis. For further and general background information about soap and soapmaking, please refer to my soap methods overview and my versions of traditional cold process soap and discounted water cold process methods.

What is Hot Process soap making?

In short, HP (hot process) soapmaking methods are ways to make soap that, by applying extra heat after trace, is fully saponified within a few hours. As explained in my cold process soapmaking method, soap is the product of a chemical reaction (called "saponification") where fatty acids, combined with an alkali, give a salt (=soap) as the final product.

When extra heat (that is, some sort of "cooking") is applied to the soap mix, saponification occurs within 30 to 90 minutes, depending on batch size and ingredients. Hot process soap is therefore ready to use, at least from a strictly chemical point of view, very quickly.

I would however like to point out that, in my experience and professional opinion, even soap that is fully saponified at the end of the process (such as Hot Process soap, for instance) must be cured (that is, allowed to lose excess water, as well as possibly residual free alkalis) for at least 4 weeks. Although longer curing times are particularly important for cold process soaps, it's a fact that good soap always needs correct curing times. As I like to point out to all those who ask my advice... if soapmaking could be described in one word, that word would be patience - and patiently waiting for Hot Process soap to undergo a reasonably long curing period is only going to give you better and more satisfactory results.


Pros and cons of cold process vs. hot process soap are described Next -->



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last update 24 sep 2011