Recently we were hosting soap-making workshop with Tünde Udvarnoki. It was nice fresh rainy afternoon and we decided to make it outside, in our summer kitchen for both aesthetic and safety reasons - soap making might be quite unstable process and its better to do it open air. Tünde brought some equipment, like blenders, scales and bowls alongside with all needed ingredients - oils, butters, essential oils and lye - the main component that turns oil into a soap.
It was very easy to get immersed into this magical process while listening to her stories about travels and explorations of different soap-making traditions. From there we learned about the difference between hot and cold soap processes, and also that butters and oils can act differently which means we need to use very well designed recipies (as far as oil phase is concerned) to be able to make really nice soap that has both cleansing and nourishing properties. But what leaves room for experiments is the water phase, and it means we can experiment with herbal, fruity infusions and hydrolates and do it during the whole season, taking the gifts of a nature and exploring how do they work with our skin, or how do they change colour while being mixed with oil and lye.
We made few types of soap based on different herbal infusions - nettle, rosemary and thyme. For this be collected herbs, soaked them in hot water and mixed it with olive, hemp and sunflower oils. Than we put on gloves and moved on to a cooking process itself - we added lye, put our bowls into larger bowl with cold water and started mixing it. The liquid started warming up intensely and emit steam. It was quite time consuming process because we had to achieve the desired consistency. But finally we had few bowls with nicely whisked foamy soap. Then we mixed portions of it with different essential oils and colourful clays and started pouring it into forms, creating marble effect patterns, stripes, flower ornaments and adding embellishments - poppy seeds, herb leaves, flowers. When it was finished, we stored everything in a dark cool room and left it to get mature (normally it takes around one month). And after a week we cut in and wrapped it in paper.
And now we have enough soap to use at home, to gift it and, as we like to joke, to leave some for future generations.