Easy Homemade Soap
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Gather a large pot, colander and cheese cloth. Set them up with the cheese cloth lining the colander so you can eventually drain the melted fat into the pot. Now grind up the fat with a cast-iron meat grinder or food processor. If you use an old-fashioned meat grinder, be prepared to take it apart a few times because it will clog with sinew.
Place the ground trimmings in a kettle with 1 tablespoon salt per pound of trimmings and cover with water (the salt ensures that when you make soap, it makes firm bars; otherwise you end up with mushy soap). Let this mixture slow cook on low heat until all that remains is a gray bubbling brew with bits of gray hamburger floating on top. Be sure you keep the exhaust fan on. You might also consider completing this process outdoors.
Pour the contents of the kettle into the cheese-cloth-lined colander, and let it strain out. If you still have trimmings to process, repeat the steps above. Collect the liquid that drips through the filter and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, collect the solidified white fat (tallow) from the top of the container and discard the brown jelly. Weigh this rendered fat and use a fat calculator (such as www.TheSage.com/calcs/lyecalc2.php) to figure out how much lye and water you will need to make a batch of soap. Need conversions? Visit www.AllConversions.com.
Gather lye, distilled water (or rain water), scales, a stainless steel kettle, resin cake pans or soap molds, a glass measuring cup with a handle, two candy thermometers with kettle clips, and the tallow. Goggles and gloves should be handy, too. Lye (sodium hydroxide) can be found in your local hardware store in the plumbing section. I don’t advise making it from wood ash, actually. It can be done, but the results vary.
Measure out the lye and water. Now, pay attention. Make sure that you are either outdoors or the exhaust fan above your stove is on. Add the lye to the water. The water will get extremely hot. Watch the thermometer to see the temperature climb. It’s amazing!
Place the tallow in the kettle and begin to melt it on low heat. Stir frequently with the fan on. Attach thermometers to the lye water measuring cup and the kettle full of tallow.
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