Pumpkin puree soap recipe that makes 5-6 bars using the cold-process method. Ingredients include homemade pumpkin puree, pumpkin seeds, and a blend of essential oils that replicates a natural pumpkin spice scent. The lye solution includes less water than usual as the pumpkin puree is 90% water. Technical information: 16 oz / 454 g / 1 lb batch -- 6% superfat
You can make the pumpkin puree for this soap recipe up to a day in advance. Cut a small to medium-sized pumpkin/squash in half and clean out the seeds. Place the squash on a baking sheet face down and cook for thirty-five minutes at 375°F (190°C /170°C) fan.
Scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin and place it in a blender or food processor and blend to a puree. Measure the amount needed for the soap recipe using a kitchen scale and use the rest of the puree to make pumpkin pie, soup, or other food dishes. Note: you can also use the immersion blender needed for soapmaking to make the puree.
Soap Making Preparation
Ensure that your soapmaking station is set up with all of the equipment, materials, and tools you need. Pre-measure each ingredient using a digital scale. Take care to wear gloves when measuring the lye.
Make the Lye Solution
For full information on soap-making safety and equipment please head over here. It’s important to read it before trying to make soap the first time. Put on your rubber gloves and eye protection (goggles) and set yourself up in an area with good ventilation. Under a hob, on the doorstep, or outdoors is perfect. Pour the sodium hydroxide into the water and stir with a stainless steel spoon. Be careful not to breathe in the fumes.
Stir well and leave someplace safe to cool to 100°F (38°C). I tend to set the jug containing the lye solution in cold water in the sink.
Melt the Solid Oils
In a stainless steel pan, heat the coconut oil and shea butter on very low heat until just liquefied. They’ll melt quicker than you think so don’t be tempted to turn up the heat.
Add the Liquid Oils, Pumpkin Puree, and Essential oils
When the solid oils are melted, take the pan off the heat and pour in the liquid oils and the pumpkin puree. If you pour the liquid oils against a spoon or spatula held just inserted in hot oils, it will help to reduce air bubbles forming in your final bars.
Stir well and keep an eye on the temperature. You want the oils to cool to just above 100°F (38°C).
When cooled, pour in the essential oils and stir well. It's unusual to add essential oils to soap this early, but spice essential oils can speed up trace. It's better to add them before so that you have better control of how thick your soap batter gets. Please keep in mind that the essential oils create the scent but are optional. If you leave them out, you'll have a lovely unscented pumpkin puree soap.
Make Pumpkin Spice Soap
Preheat your oven to 170°F (75°C). Get the soap mold prepared and double-check that your goggles and gloves are on and that you won't be disturbed for the next ten minutes.
When the lye solution and oils are both about 100°F (38°C), pour the lye solution into the pan of oils. Pour the lye solution against a spoon held in the oils as this will reduce air bubbles in your final bars.
Dip the immersion blender into the pan at an angle -- this helps air that's trapped in the head to escape. Next, set the immersion blender completely upright on the bottom of the pan. Gently but firmly tap the blender a few times against the bottom. This can release more air that you might see escape as air bubbles.
With the immersion blender turned off, gently stir the contents of the pan together for a few seconds.
Next, bring the immersion blender to the center of your pan and press it firmly against the bottom of the pan. Turn the immersion blender on for a few seconds on its lowest power. Do not move the immersion blender while it's on as it will create air bubbles and splatters in a recipe this small.
Repeat the gentle stirring and immersion blending described above until the soap reaches a light to medium trace. This stage of trace will give you soap batter that looks about the thickness of warm pudding. You will also notice a texture on the surface, especially if you drizzle batter down on top of it.
Mold and Cool the Pumpkin Spice Soap
Pour the soap into your mold, and I recommend a single silicone loaf mold. That's because silicone is easy to pop the soap out of and a loaf mold helps the soap to gel and your final color will be deeper.
Create texture on the surface of the soap with a spoon, dabbing the sides first then down the middle. Next, decorate with pumpkin seeds (and/or sprinklings of spice). The decorations are optional but add lovely visual interest. When you add the pumpkin seeds, think of where you want to cut your bars and avoid sprinkling them in those places.
Place the soap mold in the preheated oven. Keep the oven on for thirty minutes then turn it off. Don't open the oven door and leave the soap inside for twelve hours or overnight. This step helps force the soap to gel, and for the color to intensify.
Cut and Cure your Soap
Take the pumpkin spice soap out of the oven the next day but leave it inside the mold. Set it someplace on the counter and leave it there for another day to harden up a bit. Begin the next step 48 hours after making the soap.
Use an ordinary kitchen knife to cut it into bars. Their thickness is up to you but might be dictated by where you placed the pumpkin seeds. Try not to cut through them, if you can. The color of the bars will be a light yellow at this point.
After you cut your bars, leave them someplace airy and out of direct sunlight to cure for at least four weeks. At the end of the cure time, the soaps will be light orange. For full instructions on how to cure handmade soap, and why a minimum month for curing is important head over here
Once made, your soap will have a shelf-life of up to two years. Check the oil bottles that you're using though, since the closest best-by date is the best-by date of your soap. That's because some of that oil is free-floating in your bars as the superfat, and it can go rancid over time.