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Hand milled soap is created by taking a standard bar of cold-pressed, store bought soap and rebatching, or melting and remolding it, into a newly made bar of soap. While the soap is being rebatched, essential oils, herbs, flowers, and other additions are mixed in to create unique soaps. Hand milled soap is often considered some of the finer soap available for purchase because of its uniqueness and fine texture, making it more expensive than other types of soap.
While they can be costly to purchase, making a batch of hand milled soap is relatively inexpensive and easy to do. There are several reasons people prefer to make their own soaps. They can ensure that there are no chemicals, dyes, or other harsh additives present in the soap, which can often trigger allergic reactions. The soaps can be personalized with a favorite scent. People also often make them to give as unique gifts, as well as to keep for themselves.
There are numerous hand milled soap recipes on the Internet. While each recipe offers a unique creation, it is best to start with a basic cold-pressed bar of soap. These unscented soaps are generally made by combining lye with an oil, such as coconut or hemp. Vegetable glycerin soap works well and can be purchased online or in craft stores.
The first step to making hand milled soap is to grate the cold-pressed soap; a standard cheese grater works well for this. For a finer textured soap, the grated soap can be blended in a food processor. The soap should the be melted by heating it gradually to ensure it does not boil. As it is heating, the soap should be stirred enough to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan, but no more than that. Over-stirring will create bubbles that can affect the soap's ability to harden once it is in the molds.
Once the soap is melted, it should be removed from the heat and let cool to between 150°F and 160°F (approximately 65°C to 71°C). Oils, herbs, spices, flowers, or other additives can then be added and stirred briskly to ensure they are evenly distributed. The soap can then be poured into molds, which should then be tapped or shaken gently to release any air bubbles in the soap.
The soap should then be placed into the refrigerator or freezer to allow it to harden. This can take several hours, depending on the ingredients used. Once they have hardened, the soaps can be removed from their molds and placed on a piece of paper or a mesh screen to cure. The soaps should be allowed to cure for several days or weeks, depending on the size, to let the excess water evaporate. The soap should be turned over every few days to prevent warping.
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