CROCKPOT HP INSTRUCTIONS by 2001(Kathy Barnett)

I use 32 oz. of oils (water is additional) in my 4 qt. crock and 66 oz. of oils in my 6-1/2 qt. crock. Do not fill your crock more than halfway or you increase the risk of boilover. Try not to fill less than half either or your soap may burn.

1.    Measure out all soft oils (liquid at room temp). Pour into crock using rubber spatula to get out "all the goodness."

2.    Measure out all hard oils (solid at room temp). Melt in microwave (usually about 4 minutes or so on high; may have to add in 1/2 min. intervals for harder oils like cocoa butter) or melt in double boiler if you don't have a microwave. Add to oils in crock. Turn crock on low. Do not turn crock on sooner. If your oils are too hot to begin with, you run the risk of boilover.  **All crockpots are different. I use high because I know my pot. You should initially use low until you get a feel for your pot. If you try high, keep an eye on it.

3.    Don your protective gear. Weigh out lye and mix into the weighed water. Stir away from your face in a ventilated area until dissolved (about a minute or so).

4.    Add lye/water to oils while stirring and bring to trace. I usually use a whisk to initially incorporate everything and then switch to the stick blender to trace. Mixture MUST reach trace. No trace - no soap.

5.    Cover and leave to cook. It's OK to peek, but don't stir unless it starts rising out of the pot. My personal opinion is that stirring mixes uncooked soap into the cooked soap so you have to cook it longer or you can’t be sure it’s all been cooked properly. You do not want raw soap mixed into the cooked soap when molding.

6.    While soap is cooking, prepare your mold and measure out any additives. Either coat mold with oil or line with freezer paper – shiny side to the soap.

COOKING NOTES: As soap cooks, you will see the edges start to cook first. They kind of roll into the center of the soap as it cooks. When the edges have completely rolled in and there is no smooth center island, it is done. It will now be in what people call the "vaseline stage." People have a hard time visualizing the vaseline stage, because they think of it as melted vaseline and it is not fluid. It is like a thick, gooey, translucent blob. When it is done, you may want to test it. I do not test mine because I know the look of when it’s done. I recommend doing a test if you are new to HP. To test, take a tiny bit between two gloved fingers and rub together. It should have a dry waxy feel. If you wish to do the tongue test (some people don’t recommend doing it – it’s up to you), you may take that waxy bit and touch it to the tip of your tongue lightly to feel for tingle. Do not perform this test unless you are relatively sure the soap is done. Do not perform this test after adding fragrance of any kind (EOs/FOs will produce a tingle and you will think the soap is not done when it really is).

7.    When soap is cooked, remove lid and stir up gently to break any hot air pockets. Use a pot holder – the crock will be hot. Make sure it all looks even and incorporated. Do not stir fast. The soap will get little cooled bits as you stir, especially if you scrape the sides. This is normal. Add EO/FO if using and stir gently until incorporated. I always use a rubber spatula with a good, long wooden handle and a scoop-like rubber part. My husband bought me a great one at Williams-Sonoma. Add any additives and stir gently until incorporated.

8.    Using your spatula, glop it into the mold, spreading as evenly as you can. Bang the mold on the counter after every other glop or so to spread and break any bubbles. Cover the top with plastic wrap and use a potholder to smooth the top the best you can. Leave it to cool. I usually make my soap at night and unmold in the morning – about 8-10 hours. Unmold, cut and let sit for a week or so to let the water evaporate. You can wait to cut, but I prefer to cut the softer soap and let all the cut sides dry out. I find it really does need a good two weeks sometimes. You can absolutely use it right out of the mold even though it will be a little soft.

If you have any questions or are unsure of anything, please ask. It goes without saying to observe all safety precautions (gloves, goggles, etc.) throughout the steps. Good luck! – Kathy Barnett

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