Hot Process vs Cold Process
I started making soap with hot process. I felt more comfortable with the fact that I cooked out all the lye and the soap could be used immediately. I still make hot process soaps along with my cold process. Which is better? I don't think one is better than the other honestly. For a new soaper I would recommend hot process simply because I think it's easier. I found with cold process I have to move faster and I need to have more patients with being able to use and cut the soap. There are problems that can arise with added ingredients in cold process, ricing, accelerating, volcano that you don't have to worry about with hot process. Because most additives are added after the saponification process is complete. Like when you use fragrances,essential oils, aloe vera gel, milk, oatmeal and honey. (That being said you still need to check on your soap so that it doesn't overflow. ) I like the rustic look of hot process sometimes also I love the lather. for some reason the bubbles seem bigger even when it's the exact same recipe. I found another youtuber that also makes hot process and she does a wonderful job with creating beautiful looking hot process soaps. (Kim from Essential Soap http://www.youtube.com/user/EssentialSoap) If you want to make prettier soap rather than the rustic variety, Cold process is the way to go. I personally like both. As for cold process I like the refined look of the soap. I like being able to use so much of my creativity that comes with making a cold process soap recipe. I don't like having to be patient. I'm still learning with both and I think I will be for years to come.
The way I do hot process
When I make a hot process soap I use my crock pot now. I used to do the oven process but found it was just easier to use the crock pot. I melt the butters on high. Then turn off the crock pot. I mix my lye/water and wait for the temperatures of both lye/water and oils to be within 5 degrees of each other. If I don't then I will have my oils and lye/water separate on me. No big deal I just stick blend into submission. I turn the crock pot on low. I stick blend till a thick trace (just in case). Then I set it aside and let it cook for 3-4 hours. I do check on it a few times to make sure it is going threw the saponification process. First it gels and will look like vaseline. Then it will change again to look like mashed potatoes. I used to, at this point, do the zap test or use my phenolphthalein to see if there was still lye in the soap. To use phenolphthalein take a small sample of soap out of the pot into a bowl to test it, if it turns pink when a few drops are added let it cook, if not then the soaps done. Then Throw out the sample! To do the zap test take out a small amount of soap and touch it to the tip of your tougne and if it zaps you let it cook, if not then the soaps done. If it's not done after 5/6 hours throw it out because there was probably some mistake made during formulating or measuring your ingredients. When it's done add your additives be they fragrances, essential oils, color, honey etc. then plop it in the mold. When the soap is cooled completely you can take it out and cut it. It may still be soft. Note: A hot process bar will never be as hard or last as long as a cold process bar You can use this soap right away although I find it does last longer if you wait a couple of weeks for it to harden up a bit.
Here is a video of me recently making a hot process soap.
Making Mon Amour Soap