Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A SudsMuffin Soap Story

Our soap starts simply; a carefully measured amount of pure water and sodium hydroxide (the magic ingredient that transforms ordinary elements into soap). To this mixture we add pure raw silk and a natural moisturizing agent. In a separate gleaming stainless steel pot, we melt solid oils, removing then from the heat when the last of the oils have slowly disappeared like melting ice. Now we add specially selected liquid oils.

We blend our very own original recipe of oils together, each one chosen for their unique properties that allow our soap to be so long lasting and very wonderfully moisturizing.

Now comes the tricky part of blending. It is this action where the transformation begins. The combined oils and lye water mixture have to be stirred until just the right consistency. This is called bringing the soap to trace. It cannot be too hot or too cool as this can cause unwanted reactions in the process. Once the proper trace has been reached, we add one of our amazing scents that we take great care and time to choose. There are many fragrances that have not measured up to our standards. Hundreds of samples have not agreed with our finicky noses. After all, you have to love it to sell it. We source from some of the best fragrance providers in the business. Our essential oils are from all over the world and are chosen for both their purity and aroma.

On with the soap magic. Sometimes it requires an extra step or two to bring about our wonderful creations. We may separate a portion of the traced soap from the main batch in order to add extras to it, such as any number of our glorious, vibrant colors, clays, oxides or botanicals. This bit of withheld soap is then mixed back in to make an eye catching swirl. It is somewhat like pouring a marble cake. Or the withheld soap can be layered in to give the illusion of frosting or to be one of the layers of a spectacular multi-layered soap cake, complete with soapy sprinkles, icing or "chocolate" curls.

Next it's time for the mold. Each of our handmade wooden treasures was created just for us by skilled local craftsmen to our exact specifications. Each mold is painstakingly hand lined for every pour. We reuse our mold liners as many times as possible to minimize waste and help do our green part.

The freshly mixed soap, now at just the right thickness and temperature, is ever so carefully and gently poured into waiting prepared molds. We carefully pick up the mold and set it gently into a low warmed oven to start the gelling phase. It is this gelling that completes the chemical process of turning all of the wonderful ingredients into SudsMuffin soap. The heat has to be just right and the process very carefully watched. The gelling process is something that is not always predictable so we take great care to watch it like a soufflé through the oven door to ensure nothing is amiss. Once the gelling starts, the change happens very quickly and within minutes the new batch of soap is ready to pull from the oven and set aside to cool so it can be cut the next day.

After cutting the soap with our special cutter, the new bars or cakes or muffins are then set on a curing rack for as long as four weeks until they are ready to be served up in your home for you to enjoy every last soapy crumb.

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