Tips on Making Buttermilk Soap

I make and love buttermilk soap also. To avoid the ammonia smell or burnt orangey color, I freeze the buttermilk solid, take the frozen buttermilk out and set to defrost a little. It’s so hot in Boston in the summer, half an hour gets it loose enough so I can slip the milk out of the container easily (I also harrass everyone I know to save 1/2 qt. containers for me). I save the container to use as a mold, lovely squarish roundish soap (because the soap bulges the container, making round soaps with corners, make sense?).

I put the frozen buttermilk into the lye liquid and wait 2 minutes till everything starts melting, then I stir, gently, gently till it’s all melted, then I put in salt and sugar, stirring to melt. The liquid becomes a dark brown, almost black, but no smell.

I make up my recipe like any other recipe, if the buttermilk isn’t enough for the liquid % of the recipe, I just add milk to make up the difference. My soap after curing 2 months is a lovely light golden color, like buttermilk. Heavenly smell, I don’t scent at all, the milky scent is great, with wild honey, whoa!!

submitted by Nancy Y.

I use buttermilk in most of my recipes. Usually, for a 12# to 13# batch of soap, I add 21 oz. of lye to 26 oz. water (depending on the oils used, of course) and add 32 oz. buttermilk at trace. I always run it through a lye calculator, so that my amounts are right. I package my lye in 21 oz. containers, so I use the oils in amounts that superfat about 6 percent, according to a lye calculator. With my soap box, that make 48 – 4 oz. bars. I used to make 12# batches, but now have expanded it a bit so that the bars are still 4 oz. after I sculpt them. I’ve also used 2% milk with a couple Tblsp. of lemon juice added to make buttermilk!

submitted by Alaena H.

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