About a year ago, a good friend of mine taught me how to make cold process soap. It was something I had always wanted to learn, but the use of lye, a vary caustic chemical, had always scared me. Once I saw the process though, I realized that as long as things are handled appropriately, it's a safe process.
I'm not a patient person though, and I quickly got tired of having to wait 24 hours to take the soap out of the mold, and then yet another SIX WEEKS before the soap could be used. That's just not my style. Luckily for me, there's also hot process soap making, which cooks the soap after it's made, and you can use it the same day. But there is a trade-off: The soap isn't as smooth or glossy as it is if you stick with cold process.
The other day I was looking on youtube for ideas and I came across the CPOP (Cold Process Oven Process) method. This is done like cold process soap, but you put the molded soap into a 170 degree oven for two hours, then let it cool in the oven overnight. The soap finishes like a cold process, but is safe to use immediately and only needs to dry for two weeks. Could I really have my cp soap and use it too?
I was itching to make a test batch, so I made up a little two-pound mold. I had also been wanting to try a pumpkin soap using some of the pumpkin beer my husband brewed a few weeks ago. Another thing I was anxious to try-- making a color swirl with botanical ingredients. Yes, this is typical me. I am always anxious to try about three different new things at once. Luckily for me, I was able to get them all in one shot this time.
Soapers do something called a zap test to check if the soap is finished and the lye is completely reacted with the oils. It's just like it sounds- You touch your tongue to the soap and if it zaps like a battery it's not done. No zap from this, so it would seem that the claim of useable straight out of the mold holds true. It will still need some drying time though, or it will melt away too fast when used.
I would definitely call this a success. Now I just wish I had made a bigger batch!
Soap Making Resources:
Soap Queen TV has a great series of how-to videos on youtube.
Soap Nuts has directions for Hot Process Oven Method.