Guest Author - Winsome Tapper
Rebatching is not technically soap making because you do not make soap from scratch. I like to think of rebatched soaps as soap crafting. Rebatching is taking soap that is already made through such methods as cold process or even hot process, grating or shredding it, melting it in a small amount of liquid, then adding ingredients and allowing it to dry thoroughly.
Why make rebatched soap? Soap made from scratch uses lye which can destroy organic material and diminish certain essential oils, making rebatching a perfect foil to,, ingredients that:
1. are very expensive and would deteriorate in the chemical environment of lye
2. are perishable - e.g. organic nutritive ingredients such as, wheatgrass juice, fresh aloe vera pulp, and other ingredients that would be destroyed by the heat of saponification and the high pH of sodium hydroxide(lye).
Some folks believe that rebatching soap will produce a soap that is comparable to milled soap, thus spawning the misnomer that rebatched soap is hand milled soap. Rebatched soap is a totally different animal from milled soap. Milled soap is soap that is processed under great heat into flakes then reformed under great pressure into a bar of soap that has the distinction of being very hard, fragrant and having a fine, luxurious texture.
Rebatched soap at its best is a labor of love. Other than that, rebatched soap is soap that can contain ingredients that one only dreams of in their soap fantasies. Ever thought of making soap with ground strawberries or soap with essential oils that are too expensive to experiment with in cold and hot process soapmaking, then try these very same ingredients with rebatching.
Rebatched soap is unlikely to be profitable as the effort and ingredients make it a very expensive product. But for those of you who feel the urgent need to use that fantastic ingredient you have on hand, then who cares how time consuming this method is. If you want soap that is made with luxurious, organic and or fragile ingredients such as fresh fruit and herbs and expensive essential oils, then this method of remaking/remelting soap is for you.
The fascinating aspect of making rebatched soap is that one cannot predict how the final soap will be. There are many factors that affect the finished bar, among which is the water content or dryness of the soap base and the ingredients used. I have made many bars of bebatched soap and they all seem to end up as one fascinating product or another; each with its own characteristics that makes it unique.
One rule to remember when making rebatched soap is that the less water one starts with, the more in control of the final product you will be.
Here are basic ingredients and steps to make rebatched soap
1. Rebatched soap can be made from cold process soap base, hot process soap base or messed up soap base that is devoid of lye. Test your messed up soap base to make sure it has suds and does not sting.
2. Use 1-3 tsps liquid(e.g water, milk, juice, herbal infusions, etc) per pound of soap, then increase if more is needed.
3. To melt the soap, place the grated soap base into a double boiler under low heat. Add the couple drops of water or other liquid and cover tightly. Mix every now and then to ensure that the soap is not sticking to the pot. Add more water if the mixture is too dry.
4. After the soap is melted, let cool just a bit and add your ingredients.
5. Prepare your molds. I like to use silicone molds as this type of soap tends to stick to other molds. If using a regular plastic mold, try oiling the mold lightly before pouring soap. A loaf mold is also ideal - either silicon or wooden. The great thing about using a wooden mold is that weights can be placed on the lid to squeeze the soap into a uniform shape. If using a wooden mold, use freezer paper to line the mold.
6. Rebatched soap oftentimes takes a while to set and dry into a usable bar of soap. The longest I have waited for this type of soap to set is 4 weeks. Be prepared to wait longer if needed. The soap is not ready until you are able to get it out of the mold in one solid piece.
7. Chocolate Bean Soap is the first soap I made using the rebatched method. Substitute the melt and pour soap base for a rebatched soap base. Add the ingredients after taking the soap off the stove.
This soap was loved by everyone who tried it and I had customers willing to pay a hefty price for this bar of soap. It is sheer indulgence. The finished soap has the rustic appearance of volcanic rock and a scent that is heavenly. Enjoy!