Oat-Infused Milk Soap

While perusing other soap making blogs the other night, I found this lovely Oat Milk Recipe for Soap over at Oil & Butter. It’s a simple recipe that calls for soaking oats in water, blending, and straining. I’ve used this same basic process to make almond milk. Simple. Fast. Inexpensive. Great!

Seeing the recipe inspired me to make a batch of Oatmeal, Milk & Honey soap with a new twist. I typically only use milk in my recipe, but did you see my post on Mama’s Milk Soap? I love how it turned out, and the benefits of breast milk are staggering. So I decided to use heavily fatty breast milk and infuse that with rolled oats. I guessed that soaking oats in only milk would create a very thick mess, so I cut the milk with water first. Here’s what I did: two parts distilled water, two parts milk, and one part oats. The oats soaked in the milk water in the refrigerator for a day, then I blended it up and strained it using a tea strainer (since I couldn’t find any cheesecloth). Boy, was that a mess! The milk was stringy and sticky with tiny bits of oats floating around. I strained it again twice, but somehow the tiny oats remained in the mix.

Oat-Milk & Honey Soap

Here’s a first look at the new Oat-Milk & Honey Soap.

I froze the oat-infused milk, then used it to create my lye solution. As with any milk soap, I added the lye very slowly, one tiny bit at a time with the pitcher sitting in an ice bath so as not to overheat and curdle the milk. Because there were still tiny bits of oats in the milk, I was worried about the lye dissolving properly, so I stirred and stirred and stirred. It looked like a mess of disfigured rice pudding! After about half an hour of stirring off and on, I thought it was time to take a deep breath and attempt to make the soap. I had to carefully glop the pudding mess into the oils. To my great surprise, the soap traced at the same rate as usual, didn’t seize, and didn’t cause any other problems either. I poured off a few cups to turn white, then added fragrance to the main batter. A simple in-the-pot swirl resulted in a very beautiful soap. In my excitement, though, I forgot to add the honey! I remembered the bubble wrap for the top and bottom of the mold to make it look like a honey comb, but I forgot the honey! Darn. Despite that, I really love the look of this soap. And I’m still calling it Oat-Milk & Honey Soap because the fragrance has a hint of honey in it.

Oat-Milk & Honey Soap

I just love a good in-the-pot swirl. Every bar is so unique!

I’m honestly thrilled that I could even cut this loaf! I was afraid that the wet oats might leave me with a soppy goo rather than a hard bar, but so far it’s hardened wonderfully. The bits of oatmeal add great texture to it. I’m not usually a fan of exfoliates in soaps, especially large chunks of oats or loofah. But these bits of oats are so tiny that I hardly feel them and don’t mind them at all. I’m hoping that this soap will be even more moisturizing and soothing because the oats were infused directly into the breast milk. As always, time will tell. I got impatient (what soaper can wait for the full cure?) and used an end cut to lather up, and it’s just delicious! It starts with a super bubbly lather, then turns rich and creamy. It leaves my hands feeling like silk!

Oat-Milk & Honey Soap

See the specs of oats in the soap? They look bigger than they feel, and they add great texture without being harsh.

Now that I’ve tried this infusion, I’m excited to delve deeper into the giant world of milk soaps. I’m going to experiment some more with infusions, different kinds of milk, and using multiple milks and creams in the same recipe. I’m seeing more and more blogs and recipes that include a combination of milk, cream, and/or powdered milk in the same soap. And there are so many ways to add it into recipes. The half and half method. The frozen milk method. The hot process add some milk or cream after the cook method. (I’m making up names for methods here, but you get the point, right?) I want to try them all! Next experiment: yogurt soap. I’ll be posting about that as soon as I make it!

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Mama’s Milk Soap

Our newest babe has super sensitive skin and had terrible eczema breakouts from two months old until about four months old. Every so often, she still has a little flare up, especially on her face. I’ve found that my soap is nearly the only soap I can use on her skin. It keeps her super moisturized, helping to heal the eczema breakouts and preventing new ones from occurring. In my attempts to prevent it, I’ve been researching ingredients known to help and playing around with soap recipes that are very nourishing. In my studies, I’ve found many who say that using breast milk is great for healing skin problems from eczema to sunburns. I’ve seen recipes for breast milk lotion, heard of applying it directly to the skin via wet gauze wrap, taking baths with it added to the water, and so on. So, why not use it in soap?!

I’m sure I’m not the first to try this, but I’m also sure that not many people probably want to talk about it! (I can just hear some of my friends with weak stomachs gagging now.) After breastfeeding five kids, I’m not grossed out in the least by this awesome, natural wonder of God’s creation. In fact, I think it’s pretty incredible! So. many. benefits. Please don’t think I’m getting on a soap box. (Haha! No pun intended!) As wonderful as breast milk is, I totally understand using formula and other types of milk as well. But science has proven how totally awesome breast milk is in so many ways. Plus, I have GALLONS of extra milk in my deep freezer! Just ask my husband. He’ll tell you in a very annoyed voice that I’m not lying when I say our chest deep freezer is FULL of breast milk. The entire freezer. I’m not kidding. My body thinks I had triplets again! 

Another incredible natural wonder for skin: honey! Have you ever checked out the benefits of honey? It’s great at drawing moisture to the skin, and it has antibacterial properties. I’ve been using it as a facial mask a few times a week, and my skin is much more moisturized and clearer. I’ve added it to a few other soaps and wanted to include it in this one as well.

Loaf of Baby Bee Buttermilk fresh out of the mold.

Loaf of Baby Bee Buttermilk Soap fresh out of the mold.

This newest Baby Bee Buttermilk soap recipe includes lots of nourishing oils and butters, high in vitamin E and other skin-benefiting vitamins. It begins with a lye solution made from 100% breast milk. I froze the milk to a slushy state, then added the lye very, very slowly with the pitcher sitting in an ice bath. The milk went from a creamy white color to a deep yellow, almost orange color. When I added it to the oils, everything turned a lovely deep tan color. I separated out a bit of soap and colored it white. At a very thin trace, I added about half an ounce of honey and scented the main batch. For fun, I put bubble wrap in the bottom of the mold, poured the main soap in, did an in-the-mold swirl with the white, then put more bubble wrap on top. Looks like a honeycomb. I oven processed this soap overnight. After just 24 hours, it was already quite hard when I cut it. 

Baby Bee Buttermilk Soap

Baby Bee Buttermilk Soap

It’s cute with the honeycomb edges and a whimsical swirl, smells great, and should be really great for my baby’s skin. Great for my skin too. And yours. And your family’s. And your friends’. And…