Ginger and Anise Seed Soap

A new adventure on my crafting journey: milled soap. Apparently this is different from regular soap… I’d never heard the term until I discovered instructions on how to do it in my mom’s book The Complete Soapmaker by Norma Coney. To try it, I’m using my most recent batch of handmade soap (cold process pure olive oil).

001To start, I’m using about 3.6oz of soap (two pieces seem like a good test amount) and a Dollar Tree cheese grater. The grater is perfect for this (and cheap enough to use only for milling soap ^_~)!

grated soapThe two pieces, when grated, filled my ceramic fondue bowl (bought just for craft stuff like this)… It fluffed up a lot more than I expected! I added the suggested ratio of water and lit my little candle in the fondue stand and put the bowl on top. In hindsight, I wish I’d kept track of how long I let it heat up because I started to get impatient when it wasn’t looking very liquidy.

fondue standmelting soapIn my excitement to see it melt, I switched the bowl to a pan of boiling water for a double-boiler effect hoping to see the process sped up a little – Nope. After 20mins of basically no change, I removed the water from the pan and scooped the mess directly onto it (I turned the heat down a little so it wouldn’t scorch). The mess became the consistency of mashed potatoes – ^_~ looked just like them! – and refused to melt any more. Close enough. I scooped it back into the fondue bowl and added 1 tsp ginger powder and 1 tsp anise seeds.

I was originally going to add just ginger, but after taking a whiff of the powder I realized I wanted something more. Randomly sniffing different herbs in my cabinet in combination with the ginger, I settled on anise seed as a suitable partner. I wasn’t following any particular recipe so I just kinda eyeballed what looked good and added 1 tsp each. Without a wooden spoon, I’ve been using a wooden skewer to do all my mixing and it works alright – I’ll have to visit the $ Tree again to see if they have something that’ll work better. Once sufficiently mixed, I scooped the stuff into two plastic molds (^_^ also from my mom).

006I chose the rectangle and the circle (somewhat randomly) and the mix was the perfect amount to just fill both. Because it didn’t really pour, I had a little trouble with air bubbles getting trapped between the soap and mold. Using my skewer I tried to fix them as best I could and let it sit out for a few minutes to kinda settle. Then, as per instructions, I put the tray in the freezer for an hour and a half to let them harden. When that was done, I popped them out of the mold – which was way easy!

milled soap 1My finished 1st batch of milled soap and the rest of my normal soap pieces (sorry for the poor quality pic). I can’t wait to try out a bar! They’ll be ready April 17th. As you can see, by using two pieces for each practice batch of milled soap, I have 4 combinations left that I can try. Right now I’m planning on at least a oatmeal version and a coffee grinds version (The Complete Soapmaker says that coffee is good for removing food smells from your hands – who knew?). I’m sure I can come up with more additives for the other two batches ^_~ Look forward to it!

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