The chai tea fragrance oil I ordered to make my chai tea soap this weekend didn’t arrive in time.
But when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right? I could still make soap with things I had on hand or that I could easily pick up at the grocery store. I can’t find a place around here that sells essential oils or fragrance oils, so it had to be something that would be OK without added scent.
I decided that this weekend could be the weekend I experiment with using milk in soap, and I created a chocolate milk soap recipe I really wanted to try.
Working with both milk and chocolate can be more difficult, however, so I had to change some things about my process.
- 13.2 oz. olive oil
- 12 oz. coconut oil
- 6.8 oz. palm oil
- 4 oz. shea butter
- 0.625 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
- 13.2 oz. whole milk
- 5.637 oz. lye
First, I measured out the whole milk, put it in a freezer bag, and froze it. This is a suggestion for working with milk (although she mentions it with goat milk) from Heidi Corley Barto’s in The Natural Soap Chef. When you use liquids other than water, it’s a good idea to follow suggestions of more experienced soapers like Heidi, and she’s not the only person I’ve seen mention working with frozen milk. The milk should be at least a frozen slush when you use it. Make an ice bath in your sink, and put the slushy milk into the ice bath. Then carefully, slowly add the lye, stirring as you go. Add a bit, stir a bit. Go very slowly. If the temperature of the lye mixture starts to climb above 140°, add more ice to the ice bath.
Prepare the chocolate with the oils. It should be melted. You can melt it in the microwave if you’re careful. Check this link for tips on melting chocolate. When the lye/milk has reached 100°, add it to the oil mixture. The rest of the process as the same as making any other cold process soap: use a stick blender to help the soap saponify, and once it reaches trace, pour it into the mold of your choice. My recipe fits a three-pound loaf mold.
I knew working with milk would be different, but as it turned out, the main difference seemed to be the amount of time for each step. I think I put too much ice in the ice water bath, and my lye heated up, but then cooled down to about 80° and stalled there, so I put it in a warm bath. Well, a hot one. And I managed to bring it up to 98°, but it wouldn’t budge any more, so I decided maybe I should add it to the oils. It look longer than usual to reach trace. The soap didn’t feel as warm as it normally does when I picked up the mold to put it in the closet where I keep my soap. It seemed to take longer to reach a gel stage, too. I’m not sure if this is just normal for working with milk, or if it was due to the fact that I had to warm up my lye, or what.
When I poured it into the mold, it did look exactly like chocolate milk. Really thick chocolate milk. Like chocolate pudding, actually. I fretted over it because it was slower going than the other soap I’ve made, but once it started to reach gel stage, I felt better.
But it darkened up quite a bit by the time it had cooled, as I figured it would.
When I cut it into bars, I noticed that there was a sort of dark brown rim around the bar, while the middle was lighter. I think it was due to the fact that the soap isn’t completely hardened yet.
A few hours later, the color had darkened to a deeper brown.
I noticed a couple of air bubbles, too, but you know, it’s chocolate milk, and who doesn’t blow bubbles in their chocolate milk, right?
It has a light scent that reminds me more of chocolate cake than milk, but my husband thought it smelled like chocolate milk. I lathered up and washed my hands with a tiny ball of the soap I had made from some trimmings, and it has a nice creamy lather. I was worried the chocolate would discolor the lather, but it didn’t seem to. I will have to test it again after some time passes just to make sure.
Chocolate Milk Soap by Dana Huff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
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6 thoughts on “The Great Chocolate Milk Soap Experiment”
Dana, please tell me the choc milk soap will be in Etsy soon, because years and years ago (at least a decade) I bought some chocolate milk soap from some random mall kiosk and I LOVED it! I would love the chance to recapture some of that magic! Am really loving your soap-making adventures 🙂
Hi Jackie! Woo! A customer. Yes, in about four weeks. It has to cure to make sure the process is complete and you have a nice, hard bar that will last a long time. And thanks!
I know this is an old post, but as a goat breeder with lots of milk for soap, I learned to use the much easier method of freezing milk hard in ice cube trays 15 years ago.
I sprinkle lye slowly on top of the frozen milk cubes, stirring as I sprinkle, until the lye completely melts the cubes, at which point I add to the oils. No smell, no burning, no worry about temps, lye mixture stays cool, soap color remains light, everything works fine. But be careful to sprinkle slowly as you stir, and resist any urge to dump the lye on the cubes.
I use this method for all non-water liquids… tea, coffee, beer, coconut milk, aloe juice, buttermilk, whatever.
However, if you discount liquids, you should use the frozen liquids fairly soon after freezing hard, especially liquids with solids like dairy products and coconut milk, or the cubes will dehydrate in the freezer, discounting your liquids even more and preventing your lye from dissolving properly. Adding a little water usually solves that problem.
Hope this helps!
Thanks, Jenny. This is good advice for anyone. I figured this out a while back, but it took some practice.
Thank you very much for this recipe.I just made chocolate soap but with different amount of chocolate and without palm oil.Its look lovely! My 3 children want to eat it! From all posts on chocolate soap your look the best.
Christina Van Rensburg