How did the first batch turn out? Out of the mold and drying?
Yep! Got really busy with work so I am slow in reporting back.
The ingredients and mixing were easy. If you understand stoichiometry and lab benchwork it's no big ting; a bit disappointing, actually. The measuring, heating, mixing and molding took about 30 minutes. Nothing like a batch of all-grain beer. Making the mold took twice as long.
I can see the finer points of soapmaking come in the techniques and ingredients used to achieve desired, colors, textures and aromas.
The soap smells a lot like saddle soap, which I now realize smells a lot like vegetable oil.
I think I might have un-molded it too soon. I un-molded it after about 40 hours in the mold. When I extruded the soap from the mold, the shearing forces caused the sides of the soap to be rough and clumpy. There is a thin layer of soap still stuck on the inside walls of the mold. It doesn't have a nice a smooth finish like yours does in the photos above. Was this because it was the first time the mold was used? Does the soap create a passivation layer on the PVC on the inside of the mold when it's been used a few times? Do you coat the inside of the mold with a releasing agent?
Pretty cool how how the air pressure pushed it right out though! Was that your idea?
The soap makes a really nice silky - creamy lather. However, it is still pretty green. I see what you mean about getting a skin tingle from immature soap. I had to wash my hands with a fresh lime to calm the tingle down. I washed with it when I extruded it from the mold.
Is it better to age the soap in a log, or should I cut it into bars?
I can age the soap in my fermentorium (68⁰F - 50% humidity) or out in ambient air (68⁰F - 80⁰F and 70% - 80% humidity). Which do you think would age better?
All in all... very cool! I'm hooked!