18 Aug 2013

Neglected Blogging

I was just flitting around catching up on some blogs yesterday and today and I realised that I've been neglecting my blog followers as I've been spending more time than I should on facebook and also posting pics on facebook instead of here.
My new resolution is to post here FIRST from now on and link to fb as I can do that and just link relevant posts to fb, not the whole blog. It's wonderful how much freedom you can have with the internet if you just do some research on the privacy settings.....and have family or friends check to make sure you've set them properly! I'm not an IT whiz but I do my best :).

So here's a roundup of photos I've taken since my last blog post as photos say more than words can. I won't do captions as the photos themselves will give viewers their own thoughts/feelings about what they see.......and it's Sunday and I'm feeling too relaxed to do the "journalist" thing today. They are roughly in date order from 6 August to yesterday (17Aug).


Small comment on the horse and rider - she broke this thoroughbred in herself - it has taken her a few months as she is her Dad's apprentice. He was given to her as a registered yearling that the owner did not want to keep, he's just turned 5, and she's done a magnificent job making him into a quiet riding horse. Her next job - making him a stock horse.

Robyn xo

6 Aug 2013

Hot process crockpot soap making

Last week I rendered my first lot of beef fat into tallow. I did it on the wood stove and, as it was fat from the beast we had just slaughtered, it cost me nothing but my time. About 4kg of fat became around 1400ml of tallow or approximately 1000g. The trimmings and leftovers became part of the next 3 feeds for 8 hungry 6 week old puppies :). I strained the tallow through cloth but I didn't need to skim it or clean it in any other way. I'll be doing this again as it's quite easy. I've also discovered grass fed tallow starts out yellow and turns a creamy colour unlike the white lard in the stores!

I've been wanting to try soap made with tallow for a while as it's supposed to be harder than that made with vegetable or olive oils. I've also been wanting to try hot process soapmaking so the soap can be, theoretically, used sooner.

The recipe I used is:
Copha                                 250g
Rice Bran Oil                       400g
 Beef Tallow                         350g 
      Water                                  380ml(g)
  Lye(in the plastic container)  142g 
       Lemon Myrtle essential oil    12  drops

and I prepared it mostly like I would if I was making cold pressed soap with the only difference being the cooking at the end of the process.

Melting the oil/copha/tallow 

Combining the melted ingredients. I then poured in the lye/water mix slowly while stirring gently but I was unable to take a photo at the same time.

After using a stick blender to achieve heavy trace

Halfway to cooked

Almost there

Next morning - the soap set in the mold

Bottoms up to cut

Finished blocks of soap averaging 136g each. They are still a bit spongy so will need some time to dry out and will lose a little weight in the process.

I think I'll need to cook them on a higher heat next time as it took quite along time on low. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for these to harden compared to cold process. From what I've read they should have been useable as soon as they are cut but I think the elevation here coupled with the soft rainwater used may have some effect on the hardness of the soaps.

Another three challenges to cross off my to-do list - rendering fat, making soap using tallow and making hot process soap :D.

 I'm on a roll!

Thanks for dropping by,
Robyn xo