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This weekend I worked on my first ever batch of soap using rebatch soap base. This is seriously by far my most favorite soap project to date–it smells so good!. I adore this soap. And so do the people who’ve tried it. Here’s what a house guest had to say:
“Is that brown thing soap? Because I kind of want to eat it.”
Recommendations just don’t get much more glowing than that, friends.
But what is rebatch soap base you ask? Great question! It is basically a big chunk of cold process soap that is grated down, melted, and re-batched (hence the name) into a new soap creation.
Why on Earth would you ever want to take a perfectly good batch of soap and rebatch it? If you’re a brave enough soul to make soap from scratch then you know just how dangerous handling lye–a necessary and highly caustic ingredient in soap making–can be. You also know that traditional, from-scratch soap doesn’t always turn out quite right every time–sometimes you end up with several pounds of useless goo, soap that is too lye heavy, or what have you. This is where rebatching comes in. Take your soap, grate it down, melt it, and fix it up!
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That said, I’ve yet to attempt making soap from scratch (One day…). So none of that applies to me.
Then why do I use rebatch soap base, you ask? Because rebatch base is a fantastic way to bridge the gap between melt-and-pour soap making and traditional soap making. When melted, it’s consistency is much like that of hot process soap, and rebatched soap bars come out looking more textured and rustic, with a look and feel similar to hot process soap bars. Plus, rebatch base is great if you want to use delicate ingredients that, for whatever reason, do not respond well to lye solutions used in making from-scratch soap.
JUST SO YOU KNOW: REBATCH BASE TIPS
- It melts to a thick paste and is a lot more viscous than normal melt-and-pour soap base. For this reason I recommend using a loaf mold, although you can use soap bar molds. Note that soap bar molds with detailing will make lifting your soap out of the mold difficult, and the detailing may not appear as desired.
- It sets a lot faster than melt-and-pour bases do, so you must work quickly!
SO LET’S GET STARTED, SHALL WE?
Step 1. First, gather your ingredients. For this cinnamon hazelnut coffee soap, I used cinnamon, a dash of pumpkin pie spice (optional), milk, cinnamon hazelnut coffee grounds, milk and honey fragrance oil from Bramble Berry, and Stephenson Personal Care’s Rebatch Base.
Step 2. Determine how many pounds of soap base you will need, and then begin grating your base down. I expected this part to be super tedious, but Stephenson’s base is so smooth and easy to work with that grating was a breeze–and I grated through three pounds of soap base!
Step 3. When everything’s grated, put your base in a double boiler or crock pot and heat on medium-high, stirring frequently, about every five minutes. Depending on the amount of base you’re using (and how cold it is in your kitchen, apparently) it can take anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour for your base to melt down. I was using quite a bit of base so it took a while for the base to melt.
Step 4. (Optional) To speed up the melting process, you can add distilled water (or milk, or goat’s milk) to your base, keeping in mind that the more liquid (water/milk and later, fragrance oils) you add the longer it will take for your base to set and the softer your finished bar will be. I added in about 1/2 cup milk to my three pounds of base. You really don’t need much (and you could probably get away without adding any).
(I also didn’t use a real double boiler–just a large pot of water with a Pyrex bowl over it. It works, but it’s a little precarious, so be careful.)
As it’s melting, it will start to turn creamy on the bottom. Be sure to stir! And as tempting as it may be to walk away, do not leave your melting base unattended! It can burn.
Once your base is melted, it will be thick and creamy throughout. It may turn a little darker in color and look ever-so-slightly gel-like and translucent as well.
Step 5. Once you’ve reached this point, you can start adding your additives: fragrance oil, cinnamon, and coffee grounds. When adding fragrance oil, Stephenson recommends not adding more than 3% additional oils to this rebatch base as too much oil can affect the performance of the soap.
And this is where I started working quickly! So quickly, in fact, that I didn’t even think to grab the camera and take pictures! Fortunately, the rest of the process is simple.
After I added the coffee grounds, the soap really darkened up in color and became a more coffee-colored brown. For a more textured/marble look to your soap, don’t mix in your additives quite all the way. My milk and honey fragrance oil contained a bit of vanilla, which will discolor the soap to a light brown once the soap hardens and cools. You can purchase a stabilizer to keep this from happening, but since we’re making coffee soap I was happy to let it develop this coffee-looking color.
Step 6. Once your additives are in, scoop/pour your base into your mold. I used a loaf mold made of plastic. Silicone loaf molds and wooden loaf molds work just as well, but keep in mind that wooden loaf molds require a wax paper liner so that you can remove your soap.
Step 7. Right after you’ve poured your soap into the mold, give the mold a couple of good strong taps on a hard surface. This will help the soap settle and eliminate any air bubbles in your soap. I let my soap live in the mold overnight before taking it out the next morning.
Step 8. From here, cut your soap into slices using a sharp knife or soap cutting tool. Since I didn’t stir in my additives all the way, I ended up with a neat rough and textured look to my bars. If you find that the sides of your bars aren’t as smooth as you like, you can always smooth it down with your knife later.
Step 9. It’s recommended that you let your soap dry out and harden for two days prior to use. I noticed a significant change in the moisture of my soap just after leaving it out overnight!
Step 10. Enjoy your soap, and don’t forget to share! I know at least 5 of my bars are packed in bubble wrap ready to be sent to my mom in Arizona! :)
Have you ever used rebatch soap base before? How did your bars turn out?
P.S. DISCLOSURE: I was not compensated to write this post; however, I did receive a free sample of Stephenson’s Rebatch Soap base to use for this project. Rest assured, I only endorse products and brands I use, trust, and would recommend to a friend! This post contains affiliate links. Please see my FAQs and disclosure policy for more information. Thank you for your support!