Life’s a circus
April 23rd, 2009 at 11:01 am
Posted by Allena in making soap

I made some soap last year from goat’s milk.  My first try, with the help of my friend Mary was a spectacular sucess!  It’s all gone now.  This is a big problem.  I am one of those itchy people.  Beau will come up and hug me and wake IT up.  IT lives on my back, just in those spots I can’t reach.  Funny thing is, with the homemade soap IT went AWAY!!!  So, I need to make more soap because I don’t want to go back to being itchy all the time.  I like hugs!

I have read a lot, and found that my best alternatives for the type of soap I want to make are beef and pork fat, or tallow and lard.  Lard I can purchase, but beef tallow is no where to be found here in the Show Me state.  So, I kindly inquired of my local small store with a butcher shop if they would save their trims for me and they agreed.

I read a lot of instructions, but I have found a much better way than any I saw on the internet or in books, which I would like to share now.

First you need:

4 – 5 pounds of fat, beef or pork.  Not bacon grease or anything that has a strong odor.  Let it thaw halfway, and it also helps if you have a food processor to grind it.  Your butcher may do this for you if you ask really nice.

A peice of cheese cloth, or some other way to filter the fat makes it MUCH easier than the information I have read, which requires you to render it twice to get the chunks out.  Floursack towels will alsowork well.

A colander

Large saucepan with one inch of water, start it warming, your goal is steaming not boiling.


Thaw your fat about halfway, or all the way


Or you can grind it frozen which is a little less messy, but I think thawing worked best.  Alternatively you can just cut the fat into chunks but this makes the rendering part go really slow and I didn’t like it at all.

So fill your processor about half full of thawed fat, or 1/3 full of frozen fat, if your frozen fat is cubed it will work up easier.


Pulse until it goes pretty smoothly then kick it into high and finish the job, the result will look like this:


The thawed fat will kind of stick together much like sausage or something, but the frozen fat will just fall out into the pan.  So it really just depends on which you prefer.  Ease of removal from the processor, or ease of processing.  The frozen takes more to get it ground, but doesn’t stick to the sides.  The thawed sticks together but grinds up really fast.  To save the life of my processor, I will probably half thaw or fully thaw in the future as it had to struggle a bit.

So, once all the peices of fat and bit of meat are pea sized or smaller, dump them in the hot water


This is a picture of my first batch that was only cubed.  You will NOT want to do it this way if you have ANY alternative.  It’s way too much work, and too much mess, and you hardly get any fat for your efforts.  Anyhow, note how the water is hot, and melting the fat, but not simmering at all.  This works best.


You can see how you get a lot more fat melted when the fat is ground up well.  The grinding allows more of the fat to melt much faster.

Once you have heated the fat enough that all is left is bits of meat, and bits of gristle then remove it from the heat and strain it off.  I used our milk filter here, and it worked great.  BUT that was for chunks which I removed with a slotted spoon.


So instead for the second batch, I laid a clean cheesecloth in a colander over my bucket and poured it all in there.  Be careful not to over flow.  Let it sit quite a while so as much of the fat can drain as possible.  Once it is mostly drained, you can wrap the cloth and push with a spoon to get every last drop out.


There is still quite a lot of fat there, now that it’s drained I can see that.  So, you can regrind it and heat it more, or any dog will happily eat this.  It’s mostly meat at this time, and I would guess you could also make something from it that was finely ground such as homemade hotdogs or something.  My dog will eat this for me.


I restrain it again once the chunks are out through the milk filters.  You can also restrain through a hankerchief or flour sack towel, but this will enable you perfectly clean fat, without re rendering!  Most people chill it then remove the fat layer, and repeat the above process.  I’m too lazy for that.  Once you have strained your fat again, then set it in a sink of cold water until it gets to room temperature, then put in the fridge or other cold place.rendering-fat-005.JPG

I don’t like to put hot things in the fridge until it cools some.  Once it has chilled overnight, it will form a lovely little cake on top.


Give your pan/bucket a dip in some hot water, and when the edges start to liquefy.  Then take your cake out and it will have a layer of gelitan on the bottom.


Peel this off, and I give this to the dog too, she’s a very happy dog!


My clean beautiful fat!

Now, I’m ready to make soap as soon as my new scale comes in!

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