The Start of the Soap
The start of the soap, the beginning of the bars, the launching of the lather…. did not commence with my first goat, Clara! I was milking Clara morning and evening but did not use her milk to make soap! All the while I was purchasing gentle and natural soap for my daughter, who has eczema. A few years later I was milking two goats, Esme and Katahdin. It was a lot of milk for our family of four! I began making soft and hard cheeses with our goat milk, in addition to drinking it, making ice cream and making lots of custard with our farm fresh eggs! Even with all this, I still had a surplus of goat milk! Much like when I have had an abundance of blackberries, I researched what to do with my bounty! Make soap! Why had I not thought of this? I was still buying soap for my daughter and was excited at the prospect of producing something that would work for her, in our home, with our good goat milk!
I read a great deal about soap making. I obtained the needed equipment. I learned new terms. I examined, and examined again, articles about safety in soap making. I gained an understanding of how to calculate lye amounts and what kinds of oils can be used in soap making. I had the goals of using my goat milk in a useful way and creating soap that my daughter could use.
I decided at the very start of my soap making that I wanted to use a few, simple, quality ingredients. I was experimenting, really, and it didn’t make sense to me to purchase 10 kinds of oils. I believed that in order to achieve my desired product, a soap that would be gentle, nourishing and mild, I needed to keep it very simple. It was thrilling to make my first batch! Although my first attempt was lovely, it used a great deal of olive oil, leaving me with a soap that was a little too soft for my preferences. I continued to experiment. At about this same time, my son shot a wild boar. Perhaps most people would have chosen to make delicious pie crusts with the lard, but that was not what I decided to do! I had found the combination of oils that would give me the product I wanted, and I continue to use this combination! My few, simple, quality ingredients are coconut oil, olive oil, goat milk, lard, lye and essential oils.
Today I made plain goat milk soap. It is my daughter’s favorite! I have promised her a lifetime supply! We cannot claim that Clara’s Creamery goat milk soap cures eczema. What we know is that it does not exacerbate her eczema! My goat milk soap does not dry her skin. It is mild and gentle. She loves it and as it turns out, many others do too!