If you suffer from allergies you know just how unbearable some fragrances can be. So I decided to craft a kitchen soap using fresh, real ingredients from my herb garden rather than fragrances. The idea was to make a soap that would not only clean great, but that would remove odors from your hands you acquire when cooking – neutralizing odors like garlic, onion and fish. It needed to have a great lather, but not be drying, and I definitely didn’t want anyone to walk away from the sink smelling like synthetic apple or a flower orchard. (Plus Scott does the majority of the cooking and he HATES flowery scents.) This is the recipe I came up with.
1 oz. unrefined cocoa butter
5 oz. unrefined shea butter
2lb. 7oz. 76° melt point coconut oil
1lb. 8.5oz. palm oil
2lb. 8.5oz. olive oil
6oz. rice bran oil
36 fluid oz. distilled water
1.2oz. whole bean, certified organic coffee
.8oz. fresh herbs (lemongrass, basil, lemon verbena)
Optional: If you would like to scent your soap, use 6-8oz. of fragrance oil or 3-4oz. essential oil (Be sure to refer to manufacturer’s directions for % of usage for oils as these can vary.)
Before you begin, be sure to refer to my cold process soapmaking tutorial if you have never made soap before. You need to careful about safety and know how the process works to avoid mistakes. Substitutions for any oils or butters can change the amount of lye you need for your soap as does reducing the recipe.
You’ll need to start by lining your molds and preparing your ingredients. I used three basic wooden box soap molds for this recipe. The inside dimensions of my molds measure 11″L x 3.5″W x 3.25″ H.
Weigh out your whole coffee beans, then finely grind the beans in a coffee grinder. I chose to use Counter Culture Coffee No. 46 which is available from The Fresh Market. Then take your collection of fresh herbs – I used about 2/3 fresh lemon balm leaves, just under 1/3 fresh basil leaves, and freshly picked lemon verbena leaves for the rest. Combined they should weigh about .8oz. Finely chop these with a sharp knife. Set the coffee and herbs aside.
Measure out your distilled water and pour into a glass or plastic pitcher. Then weigh out your lye. Pour the lye carefully into the water and stir well. Set aside to cool.
Next, weigh out your butters and oils and combine into a large, stainless steel pot. (If you’re looking for organic ingredients, I recommend checking out Mountain Rose Herbs.) Place the pot on the stove and melt the ingredients over medium-low to medium until the ingredients have completely liquified. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Allow your lye-water and soapmaking oils to cool down to about 100° F. This can take anywhere from 1-2 hours.
Once your lye-water and oils have cooled, slowly pour the lye-water into the pot of oils. Mix well with a stick blender. Once your soap reaches a light trace, add your ground coffee beans and fresh, chopped herbs. (At this point you would also add fragrance if you choose to use a scent. Though this soap has a wonderful, natural scent without any added fragrance.)
Mix well, then pour the soap into your molds.
Cover your soap molds either with a lid or a piece of cardboard cut to fit. Than lay a bath towel or blanket over the soap to insulate it.
Wait 24 hours before unmolding your soap and cutting it into bars. Allow bars to cure 3-4 weeks before use. This batch should yield about 30-36 bars of soap depending on how thin or thick you cut your soap. The resulting handmade soaps should be good solid, scrubby bars that do what soap is supposed to do without leaving you walking away from the kitchen smelling like a perfumery. And really, why do you need perfumed soaps in the kitchen anyway? Instead, you get a nice, natural soap scent that leaves you smelling – quite simply – clean.
You can purchase the limited edition soap bars from this batch that I made at Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen as soon as they have cured! Be sure to follow me on facebook or twitter or sign up for my email newsletter for updates on when new products become available. You’ll also be notified of sales, coupon codes, contests and more!