The Handmade Soap Book (The Handmade Series) Paperback – Illustrated, 1 Dec 2000
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About the Author
In just four years Melinda Coss took cold process soap making from a hobby in her kitchen to premises from which she supplied products to Harrods, Tesco, Safeway, Asda and Sainsbury as well as many exclusive shops and hotels in the UK and in France. She has also helped set up soap making units in Africa and has written three best-selling books on soap making. She runs soap-making courses in the UK and France.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is attractively set out.The recipes are easy to follow and the photography is very pleasing on the eye.
There are tried and tested recipes a useful saponification chart and a handy troubleshooting guide in the event of any mishaps. If you want to make soap from scratch then this is the book for you.
The introductory sections for first-timers are clear, concise and instructive. The whole book is extremely well written with a notable lack of frilly waffle.
The book is written by a UK-based author and it provides a welcome change - weights and measures are given in grams and ounces, listed stockists are UK-based, ingredients that are difficult to find in the UK are highlighted.
The selection of recipes is very good, complemented by photographs that allow you to check your finished product is as it should be.
General sections on the qualities of different oils and natural additives are well presented and informative.
In summary, a brilliant starting point for any soap-maker, especially if you're in the UK.
Firstly, within the first few pages, there is a section where she has a highlighted section of the 10 main points to remember, one of which is to always ADD THE WATER TO THE CAUSTIC SODA, rather than the reverse!!! Luckily, she does explain elsewhere that in fact the reverse is true, but still, a beginner (as I was) could just go to that section to refresh their memory as to which way the two should be combined with disasterous results.
Secondly, she translates the measurements of essential oils from teaspoons/tablespoons into grams (that might be mls - I've given the book back to the library) completely wrongly. (It's o.k. if you follow the teaspoons/ tablespoons measures).
Thirdly, the amount of Sodium Hydroxide in some of the recipes is wrong - e.g. in one recipe (I haven't checked them all), it is 25% TOO MUCH!
Fourthly, she uses 'vegetable oil' and 'vegetable shortening' in many of the recipes; if you don't know what type of oil or shortening you are using you cannot accurately calculate the amount of Sodium Hydroxide to use. On realising this, and with a fridge half full of Cookeen, I contacted them only to be informed that their product does not include either Soya or Palm oil, and that they would not in any case disclose the recipe.
Fourthly, you will never be able to legally sell that soap in the U.k., because you will not be able to accurately declare the ingredients.Read more ›
Buy the book by all means, its a good book; but when measuring out ingredients use grams or ounces for the base oils but then teaspoons or tablespoons for the additives.
Also... Page 13, under the "ten commandments", step 5 reads "As you add the water to the sodium hydroxide" DO NOT DO THIS it would be bad, very bad! Always add the sodium Hydroxide to the water.
So I have three wrecked batches of soap because I followed the gram measures. I'm wiser now... and so are you.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the best books on soap making I have read and used. Boorrowed from the library first and now have my own copy. It has been removed from the library as too old!!!!!!!! Read morePublished 4 months ago by J. M. Tillotson
Great book to help you to get started on making your own soaps. Very clear instructions and practical advice.Published 6 months ago by tracey muir
This was a really disappointing book. Most of the recipes are unusable by me as the main ingredients are lard (YUK! Read morePublished 14 months ago by S G.
Unfortunately didn't read reviews and what I bought was a book giving recipes for using lye and not pour and melt which as a beginner I was experimenting with. Read morePublished 19 months ago by morverngirl
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