Laundry soap, this time with alkanet root
Well, maybe not 100% sheep fat but very close. I had steeped the alkanet root in sunflower oils, so I measured it (about 35 g.) and put it into the Soapcalc sheet and did the standard 38% water and a 0% discount. I had steeped about a tablespoon of alkanet root in a 1/4 cup, that seemed to be the consensus of my sources. Then again, they said to used a tablespoon of the coloured oil to a pound of oil. This recipe was for 500 gr., so just over a pound. Having stirreed the soap I rather unceremoniously plonked it into a dairy carton, laundry soap is going to be grated anyway so no need for a fancy mold.
The alkanet root infused oil was a beautiful ruby red, so it was quite a surprise to see it turn a delicate baby blue when I started to blend. I had expected a lavender or a pinkish tone! But alkanet takes on a different colour depending on the PH of the solution. It seems that a PH of 6 would give a red colour, 8 should produce a more purple tone and something like my laundry soap (probably very alkaline - I should test it!) will be blue. The colour also depends on the amount of colourant used according to the many sources that I have read, but in what way is not clear. So I shall have to continue to experiment, which is a good thing. I thrive on novelty.
The soap was also very hard, almost crumbly right away. I'm not used to that, my soaps tend to be on the soft side to start with. I often don't cut them until a week or more after I pour them. That is more down to lack of palm oil than by design. Most often they cure to be very reasonably hard soaps that last well.
I have to say that I love the endless surprises of lye and how the soaps change with time. I have been watching my laundry bars with excitement because they are beginning to turn in colour. Going over to the pink side, maybe. Or it's probably gray. But anyway, a thoroughly gratifying experiment that will continue all the way to the washing machine.