As public as I am, I enjoy my privacy. My privacy contains certain things I hesitate to share, for no other reason but because it feels unreasonable. Until now I have not wanted to share my soap recipe preferences and this will help to explain...
I would like to offer insight to how I work. When I choose to understand something I look to those that have experience and prefer crafts-people who go so far down the rabbit hole that they become experts in that area, seeing things that are not most obvious to others.
Lately, it has come to my attention that my opinion on the recipes of "A Soap Recipe Book of Light and Shadow" might be helpful. I didn't offer my opinions in the book because I wanted you to choose what you were most attracted to, what ingredients were most accessible in your area and those that would suit you without being influenced by me.
Once you understand fully the terms of saponification and curing, you can see how any soap recipe can be made into soap dough. With that said, there is an ideal balance between soft and hard oil and butters that make for a wonderful soap dough.
After making thousands pounds of soap dough a new awareness has bubbled to the surface.
The first recipe in "A Soap Recipe Book of Light and Shadow" is a very basic recipe. The castor oil can be exchanged for soybean oil with success. I believe there must always be the most basic recipes, one that is reduced to the most essential elements, before we build on that core.
The first recipe in "A Soap Recipe Book of Light and Shadow" is reflected in the first book, "An Enchanted Book of Soap Potions and Peculiar Ideas". In "An Enchanted Book of Soap Potions and Peculiar Ideas" are the elements of inspiration I found helpful, soap history that will add to your education and a fuller understanding of soap over-all. I wanted to consolidate all the information I found useful into one place.
My second favorite recipe is #12 in "A Soap Recipe Book of Light and Shadow" . Although this soap dough recipe has touches of Apricot Kernel Oil and Sweet Almond Oil and is more complex it is adjustable and easy to substitute oils, with the help of the infamous Soap Calculator.
My third and all time favorite recipe is #17. This recipe has my two favorite ingredients, Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter and I adore this recipe. It provides a perfect bar and even more perfect soap dough. If you want just one recipe do try this long time coming, hard earned recipe.
Now, I want to let you know I love all these recipes, each one is my child. I have used each recipe for bars of soap and soap dough, some for their slow trace properties and others for their stout behaviors. I would not have offered them if I found them inferior in any way. I culled the those recipes that weren't up to snuff and reliable. I have books and books of recipes that didn't make the cut. All the recipes in "A Soap Recipe Book of Light and Shadow" are tuned and sound, sing a song and each amount exact.
Now, on to the next book... Which I'm working on at this moment (ok, not this very moment, but in the in-between spaces of life). The next book, a Complete Book of all things Soap Dough (not a real title but a focus) I will have written out details of how to create soap cookies, glittered soap creations, basic soap dough shapes, unique Sorcery creations and more soap dough recipes with exotic oils and butters to add to your collection of soap recipes.
Also, there will be a huge dose of inspiration. This part is much more delicate and takes my own authentic inspiration in order to convey. One cannot convey what one does not understand, posses or fully comprehend or it will certainly fall short.