I really thought that I knew how to make goat's milk soap. After three-plus years of consistently making it, it turns out that I still have quite a bit to learn. Although I have a tried and true lard recipe that I have tweaked to the point of being extremely happy with the results, I have been on a quest all winter to make an oil based recipe that I really like. Most of them turn out too soft or too slimy for my liking, and I just can't find that perfect recipe. Add to that experimenting with various scents from the tempting Brambleberry site, and you have the perfect scenario for botched batches of soap. My rack was getting pretty full of them, and after two more failed attempts this week it was time to get brave and attempt my first ever time of rebatching.
Since I am very impatient, I went with the microwave rather than the crockpot or oven method. I procrastinated long enough to check out various directions on the world wide web before I jumped in and finally just did it. Rebatching boasts the claim of being able to salvage nearly any soaping fiasco by magically remelting the mess and pouring it into your mold again. There are a few precautions because you are working with extremely hot soap, and of course warnings of active volcanoes in your kitchen is always a possibility. I wore gloves and goggles for safety, but four logs of soap later, rebatching isn't so scary anymore.
I started by finding a kiddo to help cut up the soap. We made two piles: one of larger chunks (1/2 inch or so) and one of smaller chunks for the imbeds. I tried to use the equivalent number of bars plus an extra to assure that the resulting soap would fit into my mold correctly. For me, that was 15 bars of botched soap to cut up. I had some Pearberry that didn't like the Titanium Dioxide that I added, some Plumeria that was castor oil heavy, and a couple of Lilac bars that had turned grey instead of a pretty purple, as well a couple of Oatmeal Milk and Honey bars that overheated. I saved the purple, greens and some tan/yellow pieces for my imbeds, the neutral colors all went into my glass mixing bowl.
As with any other soap making supplies, this bowl is now marked as "soap use only." I poured about 1/4 cup of canola oil on top (you can use any oil of your choice). Then I popped it into the microwave for 45 seconds, took it out and stirred. After a couple rounds at 45 seconds I decreased the time for each interval, the majority of them being 30 seconds each with stirring in between. You don't want to heat the soap too fast.
When the soap started to look dry around the edges I added a little bit of water to moisten it back up. It will start to look like a squash casserole with big chunks.
Then I plopped it into my prepared soap molds and set is aside to impatiently wait about twenty four hours before I cut it. Thinking that I had mastered this new art of soap making I went on to whip up three more rebatches of soap: Raspberry Patchouli, Drakkar, and Lilac and Lavender.
Wallah! Beautiful soap! It was still fairly soft when I cut it (maybe I added too much water?), so I will let it harden on the drying rack for a couple of weeks, but it already makes bubbles and smells so good.