We have made a couple batches of soap, but we weren’t very happy with the hardness. They were mostly olive oil and rapidly dissolved unless you took great care to keep them dry. So in practice they were always slimy, and someone being careless in the shower could dissolve away half a bar.
For our third batch of soap, we thought we’d try something different. We’d seen many recipes that included lard or tallow for hardness, and although we thought that was a little gross, it seemed worth trying. As it turns out, we’d been saving our bacon grease, but didn’t really have any use for it, so we had two mason jars full sitting under the sink. So we melted those down, boiled the lard with water for a few hours, and then let it cool in a larger container in the fridge to make it easier to scoop out for making soap.
The other recipe change I wanted to try was using beer as the liquid instead of water. This was partly because my mother-in-law sent me a link to a blog post that said it improved the soap. Though I admit it was more for novelty’s sake, since as soon as we realized that we were making soap with the primary ingredients being bacon grease and beer, we started calling it bro soap, or broap.
We put together the recipe using SoapCalc:
- 190 g beer
- 69.65 g lye
- 350 g lard
- 75 g olive oil
- 75 g coconut oil
- 10 ml tea tree essential oil
And made the soap using a basic crockpot hot-process soap technique, with some slight modifications for the beer:
- Drink about 1½ cans of beer, because you only need about half a can for the small batch of soap. Keep the remaining half can in a jar and shake it thoroughly to make it completely flat. n.b., it won’t ever stop foaming, because of the proteins in the beer, so just shake it up and then open the lid to relieve the pressure.
- Carefully measure the lye in your dedicated lye measuring container. I won’t belabor the safety precautions, but suffice it to say that lye is massively exothermic when combined with liquid, and is also the main ingredient in Drano, so wear gloves and goggles, mix in a well-ventilated area in a heatproof container, etc.
- Slowly add the lye to the beer and stir until dissolved. The lye beer will be just about boiling, and releasing toxic fumes, so let it sit until it cools down a bit.
- Measure the lard, olive and coconut oils into a crockpot and heat on low until they are all melted.
- Slowly pour the lye beer into the oils and stir until combined.
- Mix with a stick blender until the soap is thick and opaque.
- Cook on low for 30-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the soap bubbles up over the entire surface.
- Remove the crock from heat and mix in the tea tree oil.
- Cut the tops off of two of cans of beer and spoon the hot soap into them.
- Cover the can molds with waxed paper and allow to set for 24 hours.
- Cut the cans away from the soap and slice the soap into discs.
So far, we’re liking the broap. The bar is firm and lathers well. It seems like a good balance of cleaning well without being overly drying. It has a faintly meaty odor to it, but doesn’t leave me smelling meaty at all.