Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Grumble rumble mumble

Soapmakers of the world, apparently not satisfied with tormenting children by providing a product that washes dirt off their bodies, and tormenting adults by charging them ever larger prices for ever smaller products, and tormenting me by crafting little cake-shaped things that are actually soap, have added a new evil to their list. Well, new to me, anyway. Soap made out of milk.

What is wrong with these people? Do they not have anything better to do with their lives than make soap out of milk, lovely milk, beautiful milk, milk that could be used for drinking or cooking or making yoghurt or cheese? It is true that there are two types of people in this world: clean people, and myself.  But why milk, of all substances? Why can't these clean people find a way to make soap out of broad beans? Or broccoli? Or tofu?

There is something perverse about a world that allows this sort of thing to go on. But perhaps, in the sake of mutual accord and cooperation, we can work out a little compromise: instead of making soap, all these people start making cheese instead. They lather themselves every evening with the cheese, hang it up to dry, and then crumble the cheese on their pizzas in the morning. Sounds good to me. Clean people get to stay clean, and gourmets get to enjoy the new and entrancing flavours in their daily cheese hit.

Alternatively, we could just hand out a regulation bar of Solvol to everyone when they go to take a bath, and stop playing silly buggers with all these milk supplies. Soap! Who ever wanted to make soap out of milk?


Steve said...

My wife, who is quite the expert home soap maker now, used milk once. It was very nice (and you don't use all that much milk in the process.)

She also made some soap recently (using a bit of aloe vera as the "special extra" this time) and poured some of it into a small ramekin, and I use that with a shaving brush for lather each day. It lasts a ridiculously long time. I suppose talking to you about shaving soap is a bit irrelevant, though...

TimT said...

Nooooooooooo! Just hearing about all that lovely milk going into soap makes me go nooooooooooo!

I assume the process is similar to cheese though? You culture the milk, make curds, then press it/pour it off? Or do you just chuck in a thickener and/or boil the liquid off?

Steve said...

Nope. Soap is just made by mixing lye (caustic soda) with oils in the correct proportions. The caustic soda comes in solid form and for ordinary soap you dissolve it in water before adding it to the oils. For milk soap, you just replace all or some of the water with milk.

You and the baron seem to make everything else at home. I'm surprised you haven't given soap a go.

TimT said...

Oh. Well you know when you make a lot of soft cheese - ricotta, paneer, etc etc - you do so just by heating the milk up and adding something acidic. Could be lemon juice, could be vinegar, could be citric acid. I don't know the science but it basically causes the fatty/hard parts of the milk (the curds) to separate from the liquid (the whey).

I was going to suggest it's a similar process to the soap but maybe not, lye is an alkali!

The Baron knows all about my horror at milk soaps so I don't think we'll be making any of that around here. But I suppose we could make some soap around these parts one of these days....

Steve said...

I suppose you could make chicken soap: using the rendered fat from the bottom of the baking pan if you grilled or baked, I don't know, 40 or 50 chickens. However, the soap calculators on line (which deal with the proportion of lye you need depending on the type of oil used) might not cover that.

Don't tell your chickens I have been thinking about this...

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