It’s pumpkin time!  My favorite time of the year.  I thought I would kick pumpkin season off with a salt bar made with real pumpkin and coconut milk scented with Bramble Berry’s Pumpkin Lager.

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This recipe sets up fast and gets REALLY hard so it is best done in individual cavity molds.  It does not cut well if done in a slab or log.

The recipe:
Coconut oil – 28 oz
Shea butter – 4 oz
Fine Sea Salt – 24 oz

Pumpkin – 4.5 oz (canned pureed pumpkin)
Coconut milk – 2.25 oz
Lye – 4.6 oz

Make the lye solution.  Measure out the coconut milk and pumpkin.  I like to mix in a cold water bath.  Both pumpkin and milk contain sugar and the solution can heat up real quick and sometimes even burn.  So to keep the temps down, use an ice water bath or you could even freeze the pumpkin and milk in ice cubes.  Here I did an ice water bath.

Sprinkle in the lye while mixing.  Mix and mix and scrape and scrape until no lumps are left.  It will turn liquid.

Be sure to scrape as you mix and break up all of the lye clumps.

Measure out the coconut oil and shea butter and melt.  To keep the temps lower I like to first melt the shea butter.  Then add the coconut oil to the melted shea butter, mix and then if it needs a bit more heat to melt completely…add a bit more heat.

Get everything ready to go!  Salt bars can sometimes move a bit quick!  Weight out the salt needed.

For fragrance I used Bramble Berry’s Pumpkin Lager.  Its my favorite pumpkin scent so far this year.  Go ahead and add about 1.2 oz (you don’t need much) of the fragrance oil and add the lye solution to the oils.

Zap it with the stick blender just a bit until you get a light trace.

Add the salt and mix it all up.

Then pour it into your mold.  I used Bramble Berry’s 9 cube silicone mold.  This is a such a fun mold!  This mixture got thick because of several things… the high coconut oil, the salt, the fragrance oil and I did a bit of a water discount.  So I had to move fast.

I poured into the mold.  Well, okay…there was more glopping going on than pouring.  Then I used my spatula and smooshed it down into the cavities.

Bang it on the floor or counter top hard so that the soap will go all the way down!

The cool thing about salt bars is that they are ready to unmold in about four hours (depending on your recipe).  They heat up real quick and then as soon as they are cool…they are rock hard and ready to be unmolded.  I still had some air pockets because the mixture was so thick but I think it just makes them look a bit rustic or primitive.

Let them cure the standard 4 weeks.

Some general notes on salt bars:

  • Salt kills lather so use 50-100% coconut oil.
  • Since coconut oil can be drying you’ll want to superfat 10-20% for best results (I do an 18% superfat).
  • Salt bars made with high coconut oil set up fast…like 2-5 hours fast…so it’s easiest to use individual molds. If you use a log mold be sure to cut as soon as it’s hard enough…usually after 2-5 hours.
  • Don’t judge your salt bars the next day or even after week. Give it a nice long cure of 4-6 weeks and you’ll be surprised at how nice it is to use.
  • I prefer a salt bar with 75% (of oils) salt but you can go as high as 100%.
  • Use regular table salt or sea salt. Do not use dead sea salt or you’ll end up with a gloopy mess.

Happy Soaping!