Finally, cracked the red soap dough code.
Red, really red soap is tricky to make. Making cold process soap that doesn't turn pink, brick color or cause red bubbles has been my bane.
In the last few months life has been weird. I have been conscious of changing - changing for my better. Change happens on many levels. In the process of this change I have had monumental soap failures, health failures and a few others that don't need mentioning. I could easily chalk it up to Mercury in Retrograde, but I don't think it's that reductive.
The soap I struggle with more than anything is making a true red soap and in this case, soap dough.
I thought I knew. I thought I had my recipe down. The soap gods had more education in-store for me. After 16 pounds of failed soaps, (it was more, but as far as the red soap it was only 16 pounds) I finally surrendered.
I read as much as I could about making a true red I discovered making red soap dough has been bothering me more than I admitted.
There are more issues about making a true red soap dough then just making a great bar of soap. Soap dough has to be a particular balance of oils and butters; the exact amount of water and other factors make a lovely, smooth pliable and moldable soap dough. Unlike making a bar of soap, any of these factors are off, the soap dough will be sticky, lumpy or just not usable, whereas a bar of soap has few variables to achieve a hard bar of soap that is bubbly without being too cleansing, and many other considerations. Once a bar of soap is cut the consistency is less important than a soap dough. This is not to say that making a truly wonderful bar of soap is simple, but I'm pointing out the differences and extra care that makes smooth, pliable soap dough, free of irregularities.
After much consternation in more areas than just red soap dough I have come to a new awareness. As much as I want to deny my attitude when I make soap, I have come to see my attitude is as important as the attitude of an airplane. The consequences aren't always as dramatic as a plane with an unstable attitude toward the horizon, for example, but results are less reliable when I add a poor attitude into my recipe. When things need to get done, my attitude seems less important. I see the task and have to get it done.
How much time could I have saved myself by taking a break, getting my attitude in order and then approaching my task?
Some days, a break is more important than the seemingly important task.