I have a confession… I’ve been making soap for over 5 years and have never made the classic Lemon and Poppy Seed. Shocking, I know, but true all the same. Here’s why and how I remedied this soap tragedy. (The soap is fantastic, the fact that it took me 5 years to make is the tragedy.)
In the doldrums of a horrible South Dakota winter, I was planning the May Soap of the Month - a themed soap that I make for subscription members. I was brainstorming what May means to me, and I kept circling around to Sunshine. Bright glorious sunshine. I needed to make a bright yellow cheerful bar of sunshine.
I rummaged through my recipe ideas notebook, and came across a recipe that I had jotted down for a lemon scented soap made with yogurt. Then I rifled through my supplies looking for lemon fragrances, yellow colors, and ooohhh… poppy seeds. Beautiful, simple, and perfect.
My recipe is a combination of rice bran oil, tallow, coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and castor oil. I knew I also wanted to make this soap with honey which tends to yield a softer soap, so to help make a firm bar I replaced 1% of my oils with stearic acid.
Note: I masterbatch my oils, so I reduce my masterbatch by 1% - at that low percentage any SAP values that may vary are negligent, and the yogurt that I added will supply an additional superfat not accounted for in the recipe, so I had no concerns that this bit of recipe “fudging” would leave my soap lye heavy. If you don’t masterbatch your oils and want to add in 1% stearic acid to a recipe, I suggest removing 1% from one of your liquid oils.
I won’t share my oils recipe here because it’s my base recipe for almost all of my soaps – but if you are interested in those details, please leave me a comment below so that I know that’s what you’re interested in. If you have a favorite recipe already, use that!
Another thing to note: I don’t measure oil or lye temperatures. I found it to be unnecessary fiddling. If you are a soaper who does measure temperatures, I recommend soaping this recipe at cool temperatures, probably in the 80-90°F range. Want more info on my soap making process, let me know in the comments! I’ll make it a future blog post.
31.68 ounces oils, fats and butters
0.32 ounces stearic acid.
Note: You can tweak the lye concentration and superfat to meet your soap preferences. Just be aware that you will need to recalculate based on your numbers, the numbers given here are based on the lye concentration and superfat given. Please also note that the water calculation is Lye Concentration and not Water as % of Oils.
I start my soaps with masterbatched lye solution. This is a 1:1 solution – or equal parts lye and distilled water. When I make my masterbatch, I dissolve tussah silk into the mixture. [Once my current stash of tussah silk is gone, I am going to be removing this from my recipe, I don’t think my soaps need it!] So part of my total liquid is already in my masterbatched lye solution, but I need to figure out how much more distilled water to add – or if I even need add more because of the additional additives.
For this soap I chose a lye concentration of 29% and superfat of 3%.
Recipe: *please calculate lye quantity for your recipe*
Sodium Hydroxide (lye)*
10.81 ounces Total Liquid needed comprised of the following:
4.52 ounces Distilled Water
0.5 ounces Honey + 0.5 ounces Distilled Water
5.29 ounces yogurt (150g container)
I also added:
0.40 ounces kaolin clay (roughly 1 TBSP)
0.40 ounces dendritic salt (roughly 2 tsp) – any salt that tickles your fancy will work, this is what I happen to have.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW
I added kaolin clay and salt to my masterbatched lye solution.
I warmed up the honey + water mixture in the microwave for a few seconds and added that to my oils along with the yogurt. I also added 0.75 ounces of 5 Folded Lemon Essential Oil – I’ll add the accelerating fragrance oil later – and 1-1/4 tsp yellow mica.
Pour in the lye solution and stickblend to emulsion or even an extremely light trace. I’m not too worried about the batter being able to hold the poppy seeds at this point because the fragrance oil will accelerate and suspend the poppy seeds without any problems. If you are using a non-accelerating fragrance oil, you can add it to the oils like I did with the essential oils, and stickblend it to a thicker trace.
I added 1.25 ounces of Crafters Choice Blueberry Lemon Verbena fragrance oil and 1 TBSP poppy seeds and hand stirred until poppy seeds were well incorporated and fragrance oil is blended.
I had to start moving quickly, the soap batter was setting up alarmingly fast, so I poured it into my custom made loaf mold, sculpted the top using a fork to create drag lines and a spoon to make swoopy swirls. I sprinkled a line of poppy seeds along the side.
The yogurt and honey will cause this soap to heat up quite a bit, so I decided to pop this into the fridge for 18-24 hours before unmolding and cutting. I do periodically spray the top of wet soap with isopropyl alcohol to help prevent ash, otherwise I didn’t keep an eagle eye this soap.
I allowed the soap to come to room temperature before cutting – it was quite firm! All of my soaps are stamped and beveled before putting on the cure rack for 5 weeks.
Like this soap and want to buy it? You can get it only during the month of May by subscribing to the Soap of the Month Club.
Like to watch this soap being made? Check out the video on YouTube and subscribe to the channel.