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Finally a Good Use for Fat, Part Two

After having rendered the tallow, poured it through a strainer with cheese cloth, shoved it in the refrigerator for the night, and blown out all those scented candles (lit to help with the odorous process) the fat is ready to scoop out. (Did you miss all those beginning steps? Check out Finally a Good Use for Fat, Part One.)

See that brown jelly stuff? Don’t eat that. That’s the water and impurities that I have not found a use for. I throw it very far away from the house. I did have a bit of a brainstorm, though. I wonder if we could bait the fox trap with it? Hmmm…. Back to soap making! Weigh the rendered fat and use the fat calculator to figure out how much lye and water you need. Just plug and chug with your amount of tallow and that you are using water and sodium hydroxide (lye). Need conversions? Click here. Remember that your tallow is already salted so you’ll have nice firm bars of soap.

Gather lye, distilled water (or rain water), scales, stainless steel kettle, resin cake pans or soap moulds, glass measuring cup with a handle, two candy thermometers with kettle clips, and your tallow. Keep white vinegar around to neutralize any acid that touches your skin. Lye burns can be nasty. In the fall (once our burn ban if lifted), I’ll show you how to make your own lye from wood ash. Then we will really be in touch with our inner pioneers.

Measure out your lye and water. Now, pay attention!!! Add the lye to the water.

Did you get that? Add the lye to the water and stir. Do not inhale the fumes. As you add the lye — hold the measuring cup by the handle. The lye water gets VERY hot. VERY hot.

Place your tallow in the kettle and begin to melt it on low heat. You can also melt it in a slow cooker. This I leave up to you but I prefer the stove. Keep it on med-low heat and stir frequently with the fan on. Don’t worry, your soap will not smell like the fat. Promise. Attach thermometers to lye water measuring cup and the kettle full of tallow.

Once the lye water and the fat reach the same temperature — about 100 degrees Fahrenheit — add the lye water to the fat. Stir. Now keep stirring. I like to use a hand mixer (a yard sale find) but stick blenders are nice, too. I stir for a while and then take a break and then come back to stir some more. Some people will tell you that you must stir constantly and never leave the mixture alone. But I’m not some people. Stir at least every five-ten minutes.

Once the mixture reaches trace — a thickened state that’s sort of like cake batter — you can add scent or color. The additives must be soap-approved. MUST. I poured half of the soap into a mould without scent or color and then colored the other half for fun.

I like to use my hand mixer to create a whipped look on the soap. Let cool overnight.  There’s no need to wrap it up or cover it (unless you think someone is going to try and eat it — cause it does look very inviting).  So don’t worry about that.  Just let it hang out until morning.

In the morning, remove them from the pans and cut them into bars. Let the bars air or age on cooling racks or use produce containers. Some people will tell you that you MUST age the soap. You don’t actually have to age the bars. They really are perfectly safe for use — no more acidic than pool water.

There. You did it. You made soap from scratch. Now what to do with that meat that was leftover? Tune in next time for panhas! Oh yes, and one lucky commenter will get a bar of this soap. Winner to be announced tomorrow. Congratulations, chocolatechic!  You won yourself a bar of homemade soap.  How about that for a great way to end the weekend and start the week??  Way cool dudette.

  • Heidi - You make soapmaking look so easy! I really need to rethink all the stress I add to the preparation. LOLReplyCancel

  • Staci - I’ve been lurking on your site for a while and LOVE it. I’ve made my own soap before, but never with tallow. You have inspired me! Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Julie at Elisharose - I made goat’s milk soap once. Once. It was OK. I certainly have never been so ambitious as to render my own tallow. You are going to have to come spend a week with me when we move and get me set up on how to work all your magic.ReplyCancel

  • Marlene - Dear Lacy,
    A.J. said (man I sure don’t want to lick that bowl, ha ha ha). Actually he was quite amazed at the whole process as I am. I want to start making that soap. I cannot find that book about soapmaking. I would like to make laudry soap as well. Any helpful ideas? Keep up the great posts. They are very informative. If A.J. continues his way then I can wash his mouth out with soap too. Ha ha.

    Love AlwaysReplyCancel

  • chocolatechic - Beautiful.

    When I made soap, I would cover it so that it wouldn’t ‘catch cold’. Everything that I have read suggests to do that.

    I used window casings as molds. They are the perfect size for bars.ReplyCancel

  • Rosa - Wow, that’s very crafty! I never made soap… A great idea!



  • Tipper - Lacy-you really make it look so neat and easy too.ReplyCancel

  • Shelli - ok, I could do it if I could buy the fat already rendered. Part one was gross. As you know I am incredibly squeamish.

    I love handmade soap though, I have used some of Robin’s in the past. It is nice on the skin.ReplyCancel

  • Holly the Knitter - I’ve come to believe that there is nothing you can’t do – or make – from scratch!ReplyCancel

  • Sheri - You make me want to try things I have never tried before. I can always count on coming over here for intereting, fun ideas. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Dawn - Very cool. Thanks for the tutorial. I look forward to your other instalments, especially how to make lye from wood ash.ReplyCancel

  • YDavis - You are one talented girl, Lacy! I really love coming here to your blog.

    About your question, I think it would fit in the “Family” category.

    Good day!


  • Leah - My mom has a business making soaps and lotions and other fun stuff like that. I have already told you that though. lol I don’t think she’s ever tried it with tallow before though. Hmmm… I’ve made soap before too but again, never with tallow. I will have to give that a try some time. =)ReplyCancel

  • Ann - Dang, it looks like frosting….but alas…I know I cannot eat it…can I?ReplyCancel

  • Sandy (Momisodes) - Those are going to look lovely! I love the whipped effect. And yes, I would totally mistake those for food upon first glance 😉ReplyCancel

  • Holly the Knitter - You’ve been blog tagged! Please see my blog for the rules.ReplyCancel

  • Robin - What did you use for your perdy green? Micas? Labcolors? Crayons? Lettuce? 😆

    Very pretty! 😀ReplyCancel

  • Fishing Guy - Lacy: You make me happy that they have soap in the stores. That was a lot of work.ReplyCancel

  • CC - I always wanted to learn to make soap. After seeing all that fat and reading your warnings about lye… I think I’ve changed my mind! 😉ReplyCancel

  • fatboy2063 - HEY!

    if the bar of soap is made from real people fat, you will be washing with fat


    for man= moobs (man boobs)
    for woman= Fat belly

    think about it?!ReplyCancel

  • Soap Making Fun - Great tutorial=) It’s always good to see extras (like fat) put to good use. Are you applying heat to the soap mixture while you are using the hand blender?ReplyCancel

  • Robin B. - Hey Miss Lacy! I can’t believe it’s almost been two years since this post. I am so looking forward to making soap this spring. I LOVE the smell of raw soap. lol Hugs, RobinReplyCancel

  • sh - wonderful site…..wish i’d seen some of this last year….just stumbled over you today…..i have the same handmixer myself…..just can’t give it up even though my mashed taters come out a bit lumpy 😉ReplyCancel

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