It’s very unfortunate to say but it is looking like I’m going to have to rebatch my Neroli and Lavender Meadowfoam soap. My Cocoa Butter and Rose soap was a success, infact if I had any complaints about it at all it was that it took quite awhile to trace, something like 15 minutes, BUT it looks and smells glorious! My Neroli and Lavender Soap however has issues: I think the lye wasn’t properly incorporated into the batch when I made it – I unmoulded the soap after 24 hours and found that there were oil/lye pockets throughout. I waited for awhile in the hope that perhaps it would dry out and rectify itself but after 3 days the wet patches are still there so I think it would be safest (particularly as they will be provided to strangers as complimentary favours) that I rebatch and start again.
Now I have never rebatched soap before so I’m not 100% certain I know what I’m doing but I have it on good authority by reading a number of soapmaking forums that once it’s rebatched it’s perfectly safe to use, and in this way you can save your failed soap or improve it by adding various nutrients, colourants, fragrances etc that would otherwise have caused your cold process soap to seize when made in the traditional cold process way. Often the reason why people rebatch is because they have forgotten to add an ingredient. My case is simply because I don’t think I stirred it for long (or thoroughly) enough. It was taking awhile to come to trace and I got impatient. Because my experience with other soap batches was so different (they all seized on me within seconds due to, I realise now, the fragrance oils I used). I expected the batch to seize in a moments notice and I was preparing for it to do so but then I was also worried that it was going the other way..it was taking too long to trace. And so the soapmaking story goes!
Well I have been warned that when you hot process or rebatch soap it doesn’t come out quite the way you hope it to (aesthetically that is), and that is a shame because I am not particularly a fan of the rough, rustic, knobbly look, alas it will have to do as as perfectly looking as my soap currently is (aside from the lye spots that is!) it’s not going to retain it’s smooth look after I have rebatched it. On the flip side, at least I’ve learned a valuable lesson about how long it takes to bring this particular recipe to trace, and I had previously written in my notes that I would have preferred a little more Neroil Oil in the batch and with this rebatching method I will now be able to remedy this. ALSO, and for me this is the most exciting thing of all (sad I know), I will now be able to call this soap technique French Milled Soap (though apparently you can’t actually use this term to describe your soap made here, it has to have been made in France!). I know that it basically means the same thing as rebatched soap but this version sounds more desirable to me! lol
There are 3 ways (and possibly more that I’d love to hear about in the comments below if you know of any!) of rebatching soap namely: Microwaving, Oven Method and the Double Boiler Method. I will be using the Microwave Method because it’s much quicker and I don’t intend to spend much more time on it!