Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What to do with all that milk?

That was the question in my mind when the milk started building up. How can I make money from the milk without selling milk directly. I had heard about goat milk soap and searched for a recipe on the internet. I was a crafter and loved to cook so what better than cooking up a batch of soap. I found a fragrance oil supplier near me and bought a few small bottles of fragrance. I remember the first batch was oatmeal, milk and honey fragrance and it had oatmeal, goat milk and honey in it. It was a hit with family and friends. I added a few new scents and started making it up in decorative molds as gifts.

Over the winter I worked on my recipe until I had a really rich creamy bar of soap with great lather. I decided to try to get into the local farmers market as a vendor. I attended the state agriculture department seminar on small farm marketing where I met our local market manager and learned the most valuable information of all. I was not a crafter. I was a value added agricultural product because I raised the goats, milked them, and a high percentage of the soap was goat milk. While crafters were limited in the market, with a value added product I was move to space availability right after the growers and did not have to wait in line for a crafting space to become available. Wild River Soaps was born

The first year I made up small batches and sold them my self at the local growers market on Saturdays. That first year I actually made a profit. It was enough to pay for all the feed for the goats and all the ranch supplies. That winter my husband was laid off and my son moved out of our 600 sq ft guest house which had a full kitchen so we decided to make soap making our living. We got into two other growers markets that were held on different days and my husband became the salesman and I did the production.
Actually soap making is easy to learn and just plain old clean fun. Here is what you need to get started.


1. Mixing containers such as enamel or stainless steel pots to melt the oils in and plastic bowl to weight the ingredients in NOTE: NEVER, NEVER USE ALUMINUM, it reacts with the lye

2. A heatproof container for your lye mixture such as a large plastic or glass bowl or pitcher.

3. Stainless steel slotted spoon or plastic heat proof spoon or heat proof rubber spatula. Do not use wood.

4. A stick blender, good for 3 lbs. or larger batches. The stick blender enables you to get a faster trace. Use only for a minute at a time and stir in between. This is optional if you don't mind stirring.

5. Use eye protections. Eyeglasses are not enough. You can get some that will fit over your glasses. A splash of raw soap in the eyes can be very painful and damage the eyes.

6. Latex or Chemical gloves. Use this to keep any possible splashes off arms and hands and when stirring the lye water, to keep the steam off the arms.

7. Scale to weight the oils and lye. A digital scale is the best

8. Soap molds. You can use rubbermade drawer liners or any plastic container you have around. Vinyl down spouts, PVC pipes, cut in about 12" lengths. Jello Molds or even cookie cutters for animal shapes and toy shapes, for the kiddies. Be sure it is not aluminum.

9. Thermometer. I prefer the quick read digital one. You can wipe it clean between testing the oil or lye mixtures and it gives you an instant readings.

Creamy Goat Milk Soap

8 oz olive oil

5 oz coconut oil

3 oz palm oil

2.3 oz lye

7 oz frozen goat milk

Melt the coconut and palm oil in an enameled pan on low heat. Place the frozen goat milk in a glass bowl and slowly add lye while stirring with a plastic spoon. Stir until lye is dissolved and all milk is thawed. When the oils are warm to the touch (105 degrees) pour in the olive oil. Pour the goat milk & lye mixture into the oil mixture while stirring. Keep stirring until you get trace. Trace is when it thickens to the point where you can drop some of the mix back into itself and it leaves a trail. At this point use any herb, scent, or coloring and stir and pour into molds. Place plastic wrap on top of soap. Let sit for 24 hours. Unmold, cut into bars, and place on a rack to cure for 3-4 weeks.


  1. Thanks for this lovely post! It makes it sound possible. I have always thought soap sounded really intimidating.