Hot Process Soap Making – Old Fashioned?

Most people involved in hobby soap making – and until recently I included myself in this group, think that hot process soap making is a) the old fashioned way to make soap, b) too time intensive, or c) "there is obviously a reason why not many people do it that way any more. "

Then due to time pressures I decided: "what the heck, I'm gonna make a batch anyway"

You see with cold process soap making you have to make the soap, which takes an hour or two, then the following day you turn the soap out of the mold and – if you made a block, you cut it into bars. Then you have to find a cool dark place to store the twenty or so bars of soap for anything from two to six weeks until it has "cured". Only then is saponification complete, resulting in usable soap.

By contrast, with the hot process, curing is taken out by cooking the soap mixture, this is great, it's almost like having a time machine. Twenty to thirty minutes of extra time spent cooking the mixture and you have completely cured soap, once it has been placed into the mold and has cooled off, it is completely ready to use.

Quite aside from the vast improvement in time, there are several other benefits with this process.

Many cold process soap makers have experienced the frustration of having their expensive scent completely disappear after the curing period, this is because both essential and fragrance oils are, well, oils, which means that they can become part of the saponification process and when this happens the finished soap smells of nothing much really.

Similarly, some dyes are affected by saponification, I have heard tales of a lovely batch of pale blue soap becoming a dreary shade of gray by the time it has fully cured.

Hot process soap making nicely side-steps both of these issues, because the saponification process has been completed by the time the dye and scent is added, so nothing is lost.

So I have made my first batch, it looks and smells great and was ready the day after I made it, the time it took to make was only a little longer than I would normally spend making a cold process batch, without any of the storage and curing afterwards.

I've come to the conclusion that I can stand that sort of old fashioned!