Small batch of light colored honey and beeswax soap with oatmeal. Includes information on deepening the color to a warm brown and caramel-honey scent. Technical information: 1lb / 454g batch -- 5% superfat -- 34.5% lye solution
Time to suit and boot. Make sure you're wearing a long-sleeved shirt, pants or a long skirt, and closed-toe shoes. Put on eye protection (goggles) and rubber gloves.
Dissolve the lye (Sodium hydroxide) crystals in water. In an airy place, outdoors is best, pour the lye crystals into the water and stir well. There will be a lot of heat and steam so be careful. Try not to breathe it in. Leave outside in a safe place, or in a shallow basin of water, or sink, to cool.
If you'd like dark brown honey soap, add the honey to the lye solution now. If not, wait until later to add the honey.
Melt the solid oils in a stainless steel pan on very low heat. When melted, remove from the heat and set on a potholder. Pour in the liquid oils and stir.
Measure the temperatures of the lye solution and the oils. You should aim to cool them both to be about 130°F / 54°C.
Pour first the honey (if not already added at the optional lye solution stage) and then the lye solution into the pan of oils. I tend to pour the lye through a sieve to catch any potential undissolved lye or other bits.
Dip your immersion blender into the pan and with it turned off, stir the mixture. Next, bring it to the center of the pan, and with both your hands, hold it on the bottom of the pan and blitz it for just a couple of seconds. Turn it off and stir the soap batter, using the blender as a spoon. Repeat until the mixture thickens up to 'Trace'. This is when the batter leaves a distinguishable trail on the surface. The consistency will be like thin custard at first but it will thicken quickly thanks to the beeswax.
Working quickly, stir in the oatmeal and pour the soap into the mold(s). Use a skewer to create a texture on the top. For these, I dipped the end of the skewer in one corner then made tiny circles all the way to the other side. Four columns of this and each bar is complete. Sprinkle the top with just the smallest amount of oatmeal or rolled oats.
Set the mold on a heat-proof surface and leave uncovered for two days. Alternatively, you can pop the mold in the fridge overnight. This will ensure a light color.
Once 48 hours have passed, you can pop the soap out. Cure it for 28 days. Curing means leaving the bars spaced out on a protected surface out of direct sunlight and in an airy place. This allows the extra water content to fully evaporate out.
Once made, your soap will have a shelf-life of up to two years. Check the oil bottles that you're using though -- the closest best-by date is the best-by date of your soap.