Saturday, November 26, 2005

revenge of soap dough

I intended to post this (and a few other half-composed entries, coming soon) before I left for Thanksgiving, but never managed to.

My tentative soap dough recipe worked fine. At least, it worked fine on the last two bars of soap that have been in our bathroom closet for a few months.

Fresh new bars of soap are another story.

Fresh new bars of soap don't grate like chocolate bars, they grate like colby cheese. I think it's because they haven't been drying out and getting harder for a few months. The long and short of it is that fresh new bars of soap gum up the mixer and can't really be ground into fine powder.

Which is why there are eleven bars of Ivory soap unwrapped and on the washing machine in my bathroom, which hopefully dried out some while we were gone Thanksgiving week.

Over Thanksgiving it dawned on me that I ought to make use of the fact that my dad is a chemist, and ask him what I could mix with soap to make a good soap dough - pliable but not sticky, which will dry out and make a nice soap.

My dad being a chemist is one of the many, many things I'm thankful for. He's made sense of lots of the world to me - from how caffeine is extracted from coffee to what makes a good hair conditioner. When I was younger, his long technical answers to my questions often bored or frustrated me. The older I get the more I enjoy it. Now I'm actually anxious to hear more about what makes soap soapy and how it can hopefully also be made doughy - and why.


Anonymous kim said...

that's interesting that the fresh soap didn't work as well! I would've thought maybe it would work better.
For some reason soap laying out to dry sounds familiar to me, did you do that in the past for some reason, too?

11/28/2005 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Carolyn in Colorado said...

Hi Kelly -
Last night I microwaved a bar of Ivory soap (watching carefully so it didn't scorch.)

It got HUGE and fluffy. When I took it out and cooled it for a minute, my kids and I played with it. As we played, it disintigrated into powder. Hmmmm....

I reconstituted the powder with a little water and food coloring - instant soap dough! We made pretty soap balls, which we are giving to Grandma and our teachers for Christmas!

Hope that helps-

12/14/2005 4:56 PM  
Blogger kelly said...

thanks Carolyn! I tried microwaving as well (see Dec 12-ish blog entry), but only far enough to soften... not to inflate and dry out. I'll have to try that after Christmas, because once it's powder I should be OK with it! cool!

12/14/2005 5:01 PM  

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