Aloe & White Lilac Soap

I have always used fresh aloe vera gel in the place of water for my aloe soap but this time I am testing out an aloe x 10 extract to see how it differs. Because I think aloe is a more soothing soap I designed it to be very conditioning and I upped the super fat to 8%. I usually stay in the 5-6% range unless I am using a lot of coconut oil.

I planned on trying out powdered coconut milk but I decided not to incase it medled with the white color I wanted to achieve.

I figured the combination of Aloe and White Lilac is a good spring soap selection. It should finish curing just before Easter.

I used an emerald green mica sampler. I have experience in the past that green colorants that I have used tend to react strangely with lye. My Hydrated Green turns grey and then back to green again the next day. This one ’emerald green’ turned more blue than green when mixed into the lye and never quite came back to the green it originally was.

Apple Cinnamon Challah

I have decided to expand my bread baking, I am going to stay with a bread I make well and try out stuffing bread. I like the slight bit of sweetness of honey challah and only added the cinnamon and sugar to the apples. I used Granny Smith, I prefer a juicy tart apple.

I am using a very old hand written recipe, so I am not sure of it’s origin.

I am using a very old hand written recipe with minimal instruction, I am not sure of it’s origin.

Ingredients:

1 package yeast

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 cup warm water

3 eggs at room temperature

1/4 cup honey

1/3 cup oil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

4 cups bread flour

2 large apples, minced into fine chunks

3 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Egg wash:

1 egg

1 teaspoon water

raw sugar

Instruction:

Proof yeast in the warm water with 1/2 teaspoon sugar.

whisk in eggs, honey, oil, salt, add flour 1 cup at a time and kneed for 10 minutes until smooth and a bit sticky.

Coat the dough in oil and place into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, allowing room to double and place it in a warm spot to rise for 90 minutes or until doubled.

Peel and chop the apples, mix with sugar and cinnamon.

Divide the dough into 4 parts. Place them back into the bowl and keep covered with the plastic wrap while working.

Roll out one portion at a time, long and thin and then flatten to allow for filling. Roll tightly and pinch the dough sealed. Set filled dough ropes in a cross hatched or tic-tac-toe pattern across the center of your baking sheet and weave them around together, and tucking the ends under.

Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for another hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush bread with egg wash, sprinkle with raw sugar and bake for 35 minutes. Rotate at about 1/2 way through cooking. Place tin foil over bread if it is becoming too dark.

Clay Soap

I added 1 tablespoon of bentonite clay per pound and some hydrated chrome green colorant. I used olive, coconut, palm, avocado, shea and castor oil as well as adding a teaspoon of salt for hardness and sugar to increase lather.

I added the colorant just after I added the lye water, before I started stick blending. Not that it really matters with hot process soap, you always sort of get a splotchy sort of finish due to the texture of the cooked soap, I rather like how it looks.

I find if I don’t water discount my hot process soaps they distort out of shape as they cure. I also find it takes even longer for my hot process soaps to cure. Most people are under the assumption that hot process soap is faster but if you want to cure it fully all of my hot process soaps actually take longer when I track their cure by weight.

Water Propagation

This is ‘Marble Queen’ Pothos and ‘Mona Lavender’ Plectranthus. I have propagated and given away several Mona Lavender’s. After flowering the plant grows crazily for a while so I cut off the run away branches.

I sort of waited till the last minute to finally put these in dirt, the leaves were starting to yellow it had been in water with plenty of roots for several weeks too long. overall these were in water for several months though they had developed their first roots in a matter of days.

My next propagation attempts involve even more Mona Lavender and some leaves that got knocked off the plant so they may be too damaged to start, who knows.