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Vegan Readers - Beware....You should skip this one!

            Using Rendered Fats - 2016

In giving thought to reducing the amount of palm oil in my soaps, I've been considering experimenting with lard.  I will admit, yes, my very first thought was "I don't know...kinda gross!"   But I've had some good conversations with other soapmakers in recent months who have had super success with using both lard and tallow.  Some, like friend and colleague Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks are making the switch to rendered fats exclusively.  While I'm not ready for such an undertaking, I've been curious enough to give it a try.  

I spent a day researching and playing around with Soap Calc and came up with a recipe using these percentages:

    30% Olive Oil
    25% Coconut Oil
    20% Lard
    15% Rice Bran Oil
      6% Castor Oil
      4% Palm Kernel flakes (ok..I was still worried they would be too soft without a little palm :)

I used a 30% lye concentration and added 1 TBSP goat's milk powder to make a one pound trial batch.

These soap bars were made yesterday, and unmolded in about 16 hours.  They came out of the molds very easily, and 24 hours later, are already quite firm and super smooth to the touch.  While there was a very slight "cooking" type of odor when the lard was first melted, that went away when the other oils were added. I used Alkanet root (right) and Nettle Seed powder (left) as my only colorants.  I wanted to see how the fragrance oils might effect the color.  The white portion is far it's stayed very creamy white. This recipe held the fragrance well with no problems so far.  I just blended up some bits of this and that I've had left over from other batches, so very random scent combos, but they smell really nice.

I can't wait to test the lather, but it's going to be awhile...Sigh.  I will report back on the bubble factor.

All in all I am very impressed with the look and feel of these bars.  Next time I'll try this recipe in a loaf mold so I can see how cutting will go...these are so pretty, I'd hate to cut into them now.  (You know I will, right?)

I'd love to hear what your experience has been using animal fats.  I know this topic can be controversial, but all opinions matter for good conversations...let's just keep in friendly folks!


  1. Hi Angie,
    I stopped using palm oil over a year and a half ago. The 35 lb bucket I'd bought smelled fine but made every soap I added it to go bad within 3 months! I contacted the people I bought it from and they wouldn't do anything. So I used it to burn up some trees on the lot! :) Since then I haven't used any palm. I substitute with other oils and sometimes add babassu oil, cocoa butter or some other very hard butter. It hasn't made any difference. My soaps still bubble great and are hard as a rock! If you intend to follow in Amy's path I advise finding a processor to get the lard and tallow for free or at very little cost. If you lived here in Kentucky I could give you their address out here in the country! ;) Happy 2016! Hope this is a great year for soapers and not our final year. God bless!


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