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