Putting milk and lye together can, if you're not very careful, burn the milk, making for a dark, temporarily smelly soap, because the lye heats up rapidly, and scorches the sugars in the milk. So, if the preference is a pale, creamy-colored, milk soap, one typically must make it by the cold process method. Unfortunately, that method means the soap needs to cure for anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks.
If you want your soap right away, the hot process method is the way to go. It still benefits from a curing time, getting harder, so it lasts longer, but it actually usable immediately, because the addition of the heat cures the soap, as it cooks. Add honey to the mixture - which I do - and the increased sugars increase the darkening effect. Unfortunately, the addition of heat to a milk soap increases the likelihood of a dark, very rustic looking soap. There's nothing wrong with that, really - unless that's not the look you want. My shampoo bars are about that rich, caramel color that I'm expecting the hot process to turn my face soap, and that could be bad, in the shower, if I can't tell which is which, at a glance. But, I am almost out of my soap - don't have 4 - 6wks, for it to cure. Shop, what's a novice soap maker to do?
Enter the 'milk-in-oil' method. With this method, the lye is first dissolved in a small amount of water, rather than icy milk, and the milk - at room temp - is combined with the oils, instead. The lye water is then allowed to cool, before being added to the oil & milk mixture. You can then process it by low heat, and keep the resulting bars much lighter and creamier, in color, as from the cold process, but with the instant cure of hot process. Sounds perfect - like it's exactly what I need to do, right? But, the devil is pretty much always in the details... And this is where I'd really appreciate the help of someone more experienced.
I have a specific recipe I'm using, and it will need to be altered a bit, but I'm not sure by how much - and I'm afraid it will be more than I'll like. The current recipe calls for 101.49grams of granulated lye, 26.95grams water, and 200 grams of goat milk. I've read that the lye must be initially dissolved in an equal amount of liquid, but the additional liquid can be added later. I really don't want to sacrifice so much of the goat milk, to either switch it to water, or risk it scorching.
So, can I get away with using the measurements, as they are? Will that little water dissolve that much lye? Or must I freeze enough of the milk to make up the difference, only saving the balance, to (hopefully) reduce the darkening, in the processing (essentially combining milk in lye and milk in oil methods)? Have I just made this as confusing as I fear?
A little help, please?
The only thing...more expensive than education is ignorance.~Ben Franklin