You either hate it or you love it.  Castile.  I used to be on the “hate it” team.  But I never tried an aged…well cured bar of castile.  Now I’m on the “love it” team!

To me castile means a soap made out of olive oil only (+lye and water).  I know to some…castile is a soap made with “mostly” olive oil and can contain other vegetable oils.  I make my castile with no added color or fragrance.  It’s just a beautiful cream colored bar of soap.  I let mine cure for at least four months.

Let’s make some castile.

The recipe is simple.  100% olive oil.  So determine how many ounces of oils your mold holds and go with that.  My mold holds 48 oz of oil.  I like to do a 5% superfat with castile so that will give me 6.2 oz lye for 48 oz of oil.  I take a steeeeeeeep water discount when making castile.  I usually multiply my lye amount by 1.1 to get my water amount.  Since my recipe calls for 6.2 oz of lye, I’ll use 6.8 oz of water.

*Please note that doing such a high water discount makes your lye solution much more potent and dangerous if splashed on you.  Wear gloves, goggles, shoes and long sleeves to help protect against splashes.  Since your solution if much more concentrated make sure that the lye crystals are completely dissolved before adding to your oils.

For all my soaps I use Soapers Choice Refined A Olive Oil.  I personally don’t like pomace olive oil in soap; other soap makers use it. Olive oil is traditionally slow to trace but with such a steep water discount…it won’t take long at all to trace.

To start.  Make your lye solution.  Let it cool down a bit to 90-100 degrees F.

Measure out your olive oil.  I leave it at room temp…I don’t worry about heating it up or making it the same temp as the lye solution.

Add your lye solution carefully to the olive oil.  Be careful with splashes!

Stickblend until your soap reaches trace.

I like to let it sit for a minute or two before pouring it into the mold.  Olive oil can sometimes seem like it is well emulsified and then all of the sudden separate.  So after you think you’ve reached trace…let it sit for a minute.  It’s not going to thicken up or seize on you so you can take your time to make sure it’s properly mixed.  I love reaching trace and then lazily mixing by hand with a spatula.  It’s a bit soothing and somewhat hypnotic.  🙂

Pour it into your mold.

Cover and insulate as usual.  Since we’re using such a high water discount…your soap will probably not gel.  No worries though…this soap is rock hard after about 2 days in the mold.  Normally we think…high olive- must not cut right away.  But you’ll find that this is super hard after a day or two and ready to cut.

Be sure to cure your castile in a cool dry place without the bars touching (as that can trap moisture).  Cure them for at least four months.  The longer the better!

So…if you haven’t given castile a try…give it a go!  Or maybe you’ve tried it and hated it.  Try it again!  The high water discount and a long cure make for a really nice bar of soap.

Good luck!

-Amanda

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