I have reached the conclusion that soap is a living being, and a bad humoured one at that. At the weekend, I made a double batch of CP Cedar and May Chang soap. Cedar is a lovely woody fragrance which is set off beautifully by the lemony-sherbet May Chang (exotic Verbena) and this soap is one of my favourites.
I measured out my ingredients, stuck them in the slow cooker and did everything I normally do. I popped it in the mould and left it, I would like to say patiently but I would be lying, until today when I went to unmould it.
Problem 1. The soap decided that it was not going to leave the mould. I pulled at the lining paper, which came off in my hand. A great deal of banging it upside down on the worksurface did no good at all, so with a great deal of under the breath muttering I took a knife and cut out the offending log.
Problem 2. Ash, and lots of it. So much in fact, that about an inch at each end of the bar crumbles like Cheshire cheese. Once that had been cut off, the soap looked fine, just a tiny bit of ash around the edges which I can cope with.
Ash is an issue that all soap makers have, and no-one seems to be able to give a definitive reason for it. I would love to know what makes such innocent ingredients behave like someone in line for an asbo. It is the most annoying thing and convinces me that soap is alive. Either that, or there are gremlins at large the kitchen!