The first year of milking I actually milked a couple of my cashmere mamas. It was a lot of work for not a lot of milk, but I loved the milk. So I bought a young Alpine dairy goat, Bluebell.
Then, I learned how to make soap. I'm still a beginner but I'm happy to share my experiences. Like bread baking or riding a unicycle, making a good bar of soap takes a little trial and error to get the feel for it. My first batch never reached trace and I poured it on the driveway to keep the dust down.
A Goat Milk Soap Recipe and How to Make It
Cheap plastic 1/2 gallon pitcher
Cheap stainless steel 10 quart stock pot
Electric hand blender (also not expensive)
2 cup measuring cup
Long handled spoon (a narrow spatula is pretty
Kitchen Scale (making soap is like a chemistry
experiment in your kitchen, you
have to measure accurately by
A length of 2 inch PVC pipe to mold the soap
700 grams Olive Oil
300 grams Coconut Oil
380 grams goat milk that has been frozen into ice cubes
142 grams NaOH (lye)
We'll talk later about where you get this stuff and other soap making supplies.
Put on your goggles and gloves.
Put your plastic pitcher on the kitchen scale and tare it (zero it).
Measure goat milk ice cubes directly into the plastic pitcher.
Let the ice cubes melt just a little bit, so there's a little melted milk in the pitcher and the cubes are a tad softer.
Put the stock pot on the scale and tare it.
Measure the coconut oil into the stock pot. 300 grams.
Measure the olive oil into the stock pot. 700 grams brings the total weight to 1000 grams.
Warm the stock pot gently so the coconut oil becomes liquid. I just put the pot in the sink filled with warm water. I put the plastic pitcher with the milk ice cubes in the warm water too, but don't melt the cubes too much, you need ice.
Prepare your soap molds while the oils are warming to liquid. I use a couple one foot lengths of PVC pipe. To prepare them I oil the inside surfaces and seal off the bottoms with saran wrap and packing tape. You could also line a shoe box with saran wrap, or oil a bread pan, or you could buy a fancy
silicone mold or some cool soap molds, whatever.
Put the 2 cup measuring cup on the scale and tare it.
Measure the lye into the cup.
Fill a sink or large bowl with icy cold water and place your plastic pitcher with milk cubes in the cold water.
Slowly pour the measured lye into the pitcher stirring it into the milk cubes to dissolve it.
Note that it gets hot! Refresh the icy cold water in the bath if you need to so the lye mixture doesn't get too hot.
Note that it stinks! Make sure you have lots of air circulation in your room so you can breathe fresh air while you're dissolving the lye.
When the lye is dissolved, pour it into the stock pot with the oils.
Stir it in with your hand blender. Run the blender for a minute or so, then just stir the mixture around for a couple minutes, then run the blender for a bit, then just stir for a while. This process takes several minutes so crank up your favorite music and keep at it for a while. Be careful to give your blender breaks so you don't overheat it or wear it out.
Stop blending when the mixture reaches "trace". Trace is when the mix begins to thicken, like a soft pudding. When you lift the blender out of the mix it holds its shape a little bit.
Pour the soap into your molds.
Wrap the molds in a thick towel to retain heat and put them out of the way to cure overnight.
The next day the soap should be firm to the touch and ready to pop out of the molds. If the soap isn't firm enough to come out of the molds cleanly, give it more time to cure in the molds.
It is helpful to put the molds in the freezer for a couple of hours before unmolding the soap.
When I use the PVC pipe for molds I put them in the freezer for a while then I take them out to the shop and put them in the table vise and push the soap out with a stick.
Next, we'll let the soap cure for a few days or a week. Then if it's molded in a form that needs to be cut up, cut it up. Finally, let it cure for at least a month before using.