Soapmaking Workshop

Soapmaking workshop in the Eastern Shore Food Lab

Ever since I really got into soapmaking (you can read about that here), I have been in love. The process of formulating and making soap satisfies both my scientific curiosity, as well as my need for a creative outlet.

I once again had the opportunity to work with Washington College to do a small demo on cold process soap making in the new Eastern Shore Food Lab. This was my first opportunity to spend time in the lab and incorporate sustainable ingredients left over from the students’ other projects.

Have you ever spent a lot of time planning something so that every detail is covered, your event goes seamlessly, and then something absolutely crazy happens? That was this workshop.

I spent some time planning the soap formulas around lard and olive oil, ingredients which the students had on hand. The students’ had tons of lard in the lab so it was a great way to sustainably make soap and reduce waste. The day arrived for the workshop and everyone was excited to get started.

We began with discussions about safety (note the super sexy glasses and gloves!), cold process and hot process, saponification, accelerants, etc. The students took turns measuring out raw ingredients while the faculty watched. Next we started melting down our raw ingredients.

We were really in a groove with the discussions and hands on practice right about the time the clouds started rolling in. Within minutes the rain had turned into torrential downpour, we saw people getting drenched outside, and the skies were dark.

No sooner had we reached trace than the sirens started going off. For safety reasons, we needed to shut everything down and get everyone away from windows and doors. With tornadoes in the area, we were able to quickly get our soap into the molds. The graphics capture the lesson I was trying to give the students and should walk a novice through making both castile soap and lard soap. Let me know if you have any questions!

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