When Christmas time comes around, I think everything has to be Christmas-themed – right down to the way my soap smells.
Plus, I like to give soap away to friends and family, and you wouldn’t give spring-scented lavender goat milk soap away during Christmastime, would you?
In the past, I’ve always been happy to just stick with fall spice goat milk soap and let the warm, spicy scent of fall linger into the winter.
But while I’m still using our pumpkin spice foaming hand soap, this year, I decided I wanted my bar soap to be truly Christmassy.
So here’s our latest batch – I say “our” because it was actually my husband who finalized the essential oil blend that makes this goat milk soap smell so wonderfully Christmas-like.
There are a lot of ways you can go with Christmas scents, but I’m very happy with this blend of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cypress.
It’s like a Christmas tree with those homemade cinnamon ornaments that smell so good and look so much like real cookies you almost can’t help eating them.
Imagine that smell – the tree (real of course!) and the ornaments, but you don’t have to be standing next to it to smell it.
You take it with you as you wash your hands, and far from that dreaded toilet smell, using it in the steamy shower leaves your bathroom smelling like Christmastime too.
The festiveness of Christmas is everywhere – as it should be this time of year!
That’s a lot of goodness to pin on a little bar of soap, but that’s why we make our own soap, right? It’s just one more quality of life factor – and it’s one you can do on a budget.
Tools and supplies.
The recipe is perfect for the 42-ounce rectangular soap mold. I find this is the perfect size soap recipe for personal use + giving a few bars away.
You can buy fresh goat milk in most grocery stores in the US, alongside regular cow milk. Other options are canned, and powdered. Whichever way you choose, make sure your milk is just this side of being frozen solid before you mix it with lye. This keeps the lye from scorching your milk and leaves you with a lighter, creamier bar.
I find that lye granules are much easier to dissolve than beads, so I try to stick to the granules when I can. I’m currently using Red Crown, which is specifically for soap making, and like it a lot.
Isn’t it crazy that we use soap, which is made from oil, to remove and clean oil from our dirty hands? The saponification process when combined with the lye is a beautiful thing. I like to use some coconut oil (use cheaper, expeller-pressed cooking oil rather than extra virgin) for a hard bar and to help bring the soap to a trace quickly, olive oil for a stable lather and conditioning, and then either canola, soy, or sunflower oil for the same reasons as the olive, but much cheaper. I know how controversial seed oils are – especially those that come from typically genetically modified crops, but for soap making, which chemically changes the oils, I feel safe using these.
In my opinion, Young Living essential oils are the safest, highest quality oils to use both topically and internally, however, Now brand oils have been show to be high quality as well, and I feel safe using them in cold process soap making. Definitely do your research and use the oils you are most comfortable with.
When you think about it, there really is only three ingredients you really need for soap making – milk (or water), lye, and oil/fat. The essential oils are optional, but even with them, that’s only four ingredients.
Cookie recipes are more complicated than this!
So let’s get to soap-making!
Christmas Tree Goat Milk Soap
- 12 oz. ice cold goat milk
- 4 oz. granulated lye
- 8 oz. coconut oil (expeller pressed coconut oil is often cheaper and just as effective for soap)
- 8 oz. olive oil
- 16 oz. vegetable/soybean oil
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon essential oil
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg essential oil
- 3 teaspoons cypress essential oil
- Measure out your ingredients precisely by weight. I use a food scale like this one.
- Freeze milk in a non-reactive bowl – either glass or high-quality stainless steel – until nearly frozen solid.
- In a well-ventilated place – preferably outside – sprinkle lye granules on top of milk, and stir with a non-reactive spoon or spatula until lye is dissolved.
- Let mixture site and cool until it reaches about 100 degrees.
- In the mean time, melt oil, and cool to 100 degrees. I like to use an instant infrared thermometer, but a candy thermometer will work as well.
- When the temperatures match, gently pour the oil into the milk/lye mixture.
- Mix with an immersion blender for 5-15 minutes until your soap mixture reaches a trace. If you’re not sure what a trace is, read this article with descriptive pictures.
- Stir in essential oils and mix well.
- Pour soap mixture into a prepared mold. I use this one, which makes it easy to unfold the soap when it’s finished.
- Carefully move your full mold to a place where it can sit undisturbed for at least 24 hours.
- Cover with a cardboard or plastic box, and then with a towel or blanket to insulate.
- After 24-48 hours, you can remove your soap from the molds
- Place soap back in a place where it won’t be disturbed, and let cure for at least three weeks before using to complete the saponification process, sweat, and become harder.
- Enjoy your Christmas soap!
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