Goldenrod Soap Recipe

Goldenrod Cold Process Soap Recipe

In September, I wrote a post on foraging and using goldenrod, and in it, I mentioned that I really wanted to make goldenrod soap soon too.

Well, I finally got around to it! I kind of thought that my soap would turn out more yellow-toned than it did, but I’m still very happy with it.

Before I get into the recipe, do you see the pretty floral imprint that’s on the outside of my soap? I got the idea to use a fondant mat to line my mold from THIS guest tutorial over at the Soap Lovin’ Blog. (PS: While you’re over there, sign up for Amanda’s Soap Week Update Newsletter. It’s one of my favorites!) I thought that was a really fun and clever idea, shared by Angela of Alegna Soap, and was happily surprised at how easily the mat peeled away from the soap.

I used two goldenrod infusions in this soap: a water infusion (tea), plus an oil infusion.

 

Dried Goldenrod for Making Infused Oil for Soap

To Make Goldenrod-Infused Oil:

Place around 1 cup of dried goldenrod flowers in a heatproof jar. Pour 12 ounces (340 g) of olive oil over them. You could infuse this the slow way (tuck in a cabinet for at least 4 to 6 weeks), but I used the quick method.

Quick method: Set the uncapped jar down into a saucepan containing several inches of water. Place the pan over a burner and turn the heat to low. Let this steep for 2 to 3 hours. (I let mine do this, then let the oil infuse almost another 3 days at room temperature before using.)

Strain. Weigh the oil and add more olive oil, as needed, so that you have exactly 12 ounces (340 g) to use in the soap recipe.

 

1 cup of goldenrod flowers for tea

To Make Goldenrod Tea:

Place around 1 cup of fresh (or dried) goldenrod flowers in a heatproof jar. Pour 10 ounces (283 grams) of simmering hot distilled water over the flowers. Let cool to room temperature, then let the tea steep in your refrigerator overnight. (I let mine steep for almost 3 days, because I got too busy to make the soap right away as planned.)

Strain and weigh the tea. Add enough distilled water so that you end up with 8 ounces of liquid.

 

If you’ve never made soap before, be sure to thoroughly research the process and precautions before proceeding. You can find more information in my Soap Making 101 post (HERE) or check out my Natural Soap Making eBook (HERE).

Natural-Soap-Making-eBook

(This article contains affiliate links to Mountain Rose Herbs, Bramble Berry and Amazon. If you click on one and make a purchase, I earn a small commission for sending a customer their way. This costs you nothing extra, but helps support this website and lets me keep doing what I do. Thank you!)

Cutting Goldenrod Soap

Goldenrod Soap Recipe:

  • 12 oz (340 g) goldenrod infused olive oil
  • 8 oz (227 g) coconut oil (*or babassu oil, if allergic to coconut)
  • 3 oz (85 g) rice bran oil (or more olive oil)
  • 3 oz (85 g) cocoa butter (I used deodorized)
  • 2 oz (57 g) sweet almond oil
  • 8 oz (227 g) goldenrod tea, chilled
  • 3.98 oz (113 g) sodium hydroxide (lye)
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) Karma essential oil blend (optional, see step 6)

Yield:

2.5 lbs of soap (28 oz oil + 8 oz liquid + 4 oz lye), or around 8 bars

Supply Sources:

I used oils, cocoa butter and an essential oil blend (Karma) purchased from Bramble Berry to make this soap. (Use a light colored olive oil, if you don’t want the green shade of extra virgin to potentially tint your finished soap.) Goldenrod flowers were gathered from the fields around my house, but dried ones can also be found at Mountain Rose Herbs. I bought my lye from Amazon. Babassu oil is a little harder to source, but I’ve had good results with the Dr. Adorable brand from Amazon. I bought the imprinted fondant mat from Amazon, but your local craft store might have one too, in the cake making section.

Notes:

  • This recipe has a 5% superfat; if you’d like to go up to 6% then use 3.93 oz (111 g) of lye.
  • *If using babassu oil, use 3.93 oz (111 g) of lye for a 5% superfat.

Lye Solution for Goldenrod Soap

Step 1: Make and chill your goldenrod tea, as directed above. Strain. Pour the tea into a heat proof plastic or stainless steel pitcher or container and add enough water, until it weighs 8 ounces (227 g).

Step 2: Wearing safety goggles, gloves and long sleeves, weigh out the lye and pour it into the pitcher of goldenrod tea. Stir well to make sure the lye is fully dissolved. It will heat up quickly and give off strong fumes that you should avoid breathing in directly. I like to do this step in my kitchen sink, in order to contain any spills or splashes. Set the solution aside in a safe place, out of the reach of children and pets, and let cool for about 30 to 40 minutes. The temperature should drop to around 100 to 110°F (38 to 43°C) during that time.

Step 3: Weigh the coconut oil (or babassu oil) and cocoa butter into a small saucepan or double boiler. Melt gently over low heat, keeping a close eye on it. Weigh the other oils into your soap making pot or container and then pour the melted oils into there too. The melted oils should bring the temperature up to around 90 to 100°F (32 to 38°C), though you don’t have to get too hung up on trying to make the temperatures match.

Step 4: Now, you’re ready to mix! Working carefully and still with gloves, goggles and long sleeves on, pour the lye solution into the oils. Stir by hand for around 30 seconds then begin mixing with an immersion (stick) blender. Do not use a hand mixer – you want a stick blender that looks like THIS.

Step 5: Blend for around 30 to 40 seconds, then hand stir with the motor off for 30 to 40 seconds. Alternate until trace is reached. “Trace” means that your soap batter has gotten thick enough so that when you drizzle some of it across the surface of itself, it leaves an imprint or “tracing” before sinking back in.

Step 6: When light trace is reached, stir in essential oil, if using. Bramble Berry has a handy fragrance calculator HERE to help you figure out how much to use. Since the Karma essential oil blend is rather strong (at least to my nose), then I only used 1 tablespoon (15 ml) so the soap would have just a hint of scent. Use more, if you like more strongly scented items.

Karma is something of a “hippy” essential oil blend. The first time I smelled it right out of the bottle, I thought it smelled like a health food store! It really develops a warm, pleasant scent in soap though and many of my family members LOVE it in lotion. It does have a 1% synthetic component to mimic Ambergris, which is a musky note extracted from sperm whale intestines. The possession and trade of real ambergris is prohibited by the Endangered Species Act, so in this case, synthetic is a better choice. You could also look up the essential oils contained in the blend and put together your own similar fragrance profile, if you’d like, use a different essential oil (perhaps lemongrass) or just leave it unscented.

Goldenrod Soap in the Fondant Mat Lined Soap Mold

Step 7: Pour the soap into the prepared mold and cover with a sheet of wax paper, then the mold’s top or a piece of cardboard. Insulate the mold with a towel or small quilt, but peek every so often to make sure that the soap isn’t overheating. It will darken in spots and take on a gel-like appearance at some points (that’s all normal as it goes through “gel phase”), but if you see a crack developing down the middle, it’s getting too hot and should be uncovered.

Step 8: Allow the soap to stay in the mold for at least 24 to 48 hours. Remove from the mold and slice into bars. Let the soap cure for at least 4 weeks before use.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below. Because of pesky spammers, I have several spam filters in place and unfortunately some legitimate comments get lost in the system. If your comment doesn’t show up in a week (it sometimes takes me that long to get to all of them), then try again with a different email address. I try to answer every single one that I see. Thanks!

If you enjoyed this tutorial on making goldenrod soap, be sure to sign up for my newsletter HERE to get my best herbal projects, soap ideas, and DIY body care recipes sent straight to your inbox, once per month. (No spam ever, unsubscribe at any time.)

You  may also like:

Cucumber Soap | Kombucha Soap | Pumpkin Soap

Palm Free Cucumber Soap Recipe  How to Make Kombucha Soap Palm Free Recipe   Pumpkin Soap Cold Process Recipe

 

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35 Responses to Goldenrod Soap Recipe

  1. Pingback: Foraging & Using Goldenrod

  2. I love the design on these soaps! These turned out perfect. The Goldenrod infusion sounds so nourishing.

  3. Beth Walker says:

    Sounds wonderful and yours looked beautiful!

  4. Heidi says:

    I love the mold liners! Can you tell me where to find them? Thanks!

  5. Denise Moore says:

    Where do u he the liner with the design on it? I love it. THANKS for sharing .I make soaps as well try to stay simple…Neenee’s cupboards on facebook

  6. Diana W says:

    Hi Jan I also love this design for this soap. I have plenty of goldenrod in my yard. I will try a sample batch also. I’ll try anything that is good for you skin. Diana

  7. Kirsten says:

    I didn’t see any instructions for the print design, how to put it into the mold, or where you got it. I have never seen anything as beautiful as this on soap. Just gorgeous. I have to say, there are many people making soap, but very few that do the infusion of fresh flowers from their garden like you. Just awesome! Thanks.

    • Hi Kirsten! I bought the fondant mat from Amazon (there’s a link under “Supply Sources” to the exact one I got.) Usually, it’s intended for people that bake fancy cakes to use with fondant. It’s got a pretty raised design, so when you line the inside of your soap mold with it, the soap picks up the imprint. It’s non-stick too, so it just peels away with no mess! What I did was cut the mat into 2 strips to fit just inside my mold – one the long, skinny way, and the other the wider way – including enough allowance for overlap on the sides, just like you would if lining your mold with parchment or freezer paper. I definitely need to write up a post about it. I think it’d be easier to explain with a series of pictures and I can take measurements too, for reference. I’ll try to get one up this week or next! :)

      • Kirsten says:

        thank you so much for your reply. I found it on Amazon, you are right, the cutting part looks tricky, and I wish I could get the imprint on the side of each bar in a loaf mold, but at any rate, it is worth exploring and playing with this. Thanks!!

  8. Jessica says:

    Hi there!
    I love your blog and have recreated many of your recipes for soaps, lotions, and so on. I just made a lotion and it separated. I’ve read why this happens, my question is it safe to use like this or do I have to start over?
    Also, when I make soap, mine always comes out darker than what I see online, especially if I’m using an herbal tea. Am I doing something wrong, using bad/spoiled ingredients? Any help would be appreciated and I look forward to your next great recipe.

    • Hi Jessica, Thank you for the kind words! I’m happy to know that you enjoy the blog. :) You can still use a separated lotion. Just stir it really well before each use. Darker soap can come from a few reasons – first, are you using a light colored olive oil? If you use green-tinted extra virgin olive oil, or a dark colored avocado/hemp/etc, it can affect the final color of your soap and make it green-tinged or darker. Second, when making a tea for soap, don’t let it steep so long that it becomes really dark. You want to keep it on the lighter side, or your finished soap may pick up some of the brown color. Both of these are just cosmetic happenings though and your soap is still perfectly fine to use!

  9. Beth says:

    Hi Jan what size is your soap mold and where did you get it? I would love to see a post with pictures on how you did the fondant mat also. Thanks.

    • Hi Beth! I use a wooden loaf mold (inner dimensions are 8″ x 3.5″ x 3.5″) that my husband made for me. It holds almost 3 pounds of soap I believe & I had plenty of mat left over where I could’ve line a bigger mold. I will definitely get a post/photos up soon! :)

  10. Danni says:

    Hi I just wanted to thank you for the great newsletters. I always enjoy reading them. I also love the fondant mat idea. Beautiful!

  11. Mary says:

    G’day Jan
    Wow! It looks amazing! I can’t wait to try out my fondant mat now!
    I didn’t realise soap can overheat, I have always wrapped it in pure wool blankets. Is there an optimum temperature during the first 24 hours?

    • Hi Mary! It really depends a lot on your environment and soaping temperatures. I love insulating my soaps too, but my house gets VERY warm in the summer (no central air) and in the winter (my wood stove is near my soap making area). So, my soap sometimes overheats and cracks even if completely uncovered. When it’s cooler in the room and I leave it uncovered, I risk a partial gel (the middle is darker than the edges), so I’m sure to insulate. It can also depend on the mold, since some types hold in heat more than others. Soap gets up to around 180 degrees F (82 degrees C) during gel phase. If you’ve been wrapping your soap with wool blankets and it’s been doing well for you, then I would just keep on doing what you do – it sounds like you have figured out just what your soap needs! :)

  12. Anna says:

    Tried the fondant mat. Great idea. Thank you!

  13. Rebecca Woodbury says:

    Hi! I’m curious if the beneficial properties from an herbal infusion make it through the saponification process. I love using tea and different infusions for soap making (peat smoked barley seems to make a rich lather?) but I’m also concerned that I’m just fooling myself and the delicate properties are just burned up in the gel phase. ?

    • Hi Rebecca, That’s an excellent question! It hasn’t really been fully studied as far as I know, so no one is really sure. However, according to the comments section of this fantastic interview between Robert Tisserand & Kevin Dunn, it’s quite possible that many of the therapeutic actions of essential oils remain, so I don’t think it’s a stretch to believe that those same constituents (or ones that aren’t even in essential oil, but in the whole herb itself) remain if you use herbs. (Albeit, probably less concentrated values.) I’ve made plenty of soap with and without herbs and I do think herbs lend a little something extra special to soap. Whether anyone ever tests it scientifically or not, it’s still enjoyable for me to work herbs into my soaps as a creative outlet!

      http://roberttisserand.com/2011/06/essential-oils-in-soap-interview-with-kevin-dunn/

      In the comments, someone asked:
      ” I would like to ask if there has been a study done to see if any of the therapeutic properties of essential oil remain intact through the process of saponification.”

      and the answer:
      ” I am not aware of any peer-reviewed studies that directly compare soap without essential oil to the same soap with essential oil, in terms of antibacterial or any other properties. But, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that essential oils in soap are active. The heat may cause some loss of essential oil molecules through evaporation, but it should not cause any significant chemical changes. The contact with alkali will cause some chemical changes, and of course that’s what Kevin describes in the interview. These changes may or may not result in an alteration of therapeutic properties. That depends on which properties you are measuring and also on which constituents you are talking about, so there isn’t a simple answer. Except perhaps to say that in MOST instances essential oils do in fact retain their therapeutic action!”

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