Did you know that handmade soaps need to cure? Soap made using traditional methods (in this case cold process) need to cure for around 4 weeks minimum. This ensures the bar is mild and because water evaporates from it, the bars will last longer and not wash away quickly once you start using them. These are my latest bars made earlier this week and now in the soap room curing, they should be ready to buy and use end Sept.
I use a variety of soap moulds to make different shapes and sizes, this one was poured into a large lined bamboo tray. I wanted to make large bars that have a greater surface area so I could swoosh up the tops a little ('swoosh up' being one of those technical soapmakers terms!) and then sprinkle with lavender buds :-)
Once the soap is set (usually 24 hours after pouring) I hand cut each bar. This does mean that no two bars are exactly the same, but most people like that in handmade soap. After all, if you want perfectly uniform, mass produced soaps, there is always the supermarket aisle! I do however try to keep the bars a similar size and weight, so all buyers get a good deal. This size batch gave me 20 generously sized bars - on cutting they were approx 140g - 150g each, although this will drop slightly with the cure time and evaporation process. And I have the next few weeks of lavender and chamomile wafting through the air ... :-)