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Project

Dr. Brent Ridge's Goat Milk Soap

Use this how-to from Dr. Brent Ridge to make unscented and chemical-free goat-milk soap.

Introduction

Nestled in the charming town of Sharon Springs, 200 miles north of New York City, is Beekman Estate. This slice of rich farmland is the home away from home for our vice president of healthy living, Dr. Brent Ridge.

Brent has about 75 Saanen Sable and Nubian goats on his farm, and he uses milk from these goats to make natural soaps. His soap, called Beekman 1802, is handmade, unscented, and chemical-free. The soap uses the maximum possible percentage of pure goat milk, and the milk's unique high butterfat content ensures that Beekman 1802 soap is one of the most moisturizing bars available, while its chemical free recipe makes it ideal for sensitive skin.

The farm at Beekman Mansion is a recently restored Georgian/Federal estate. The Beekman goats graze the land freely and drink the mineral water that once made Sharon Springs the most famous spa destination in the world.

Resources: Lye can be purchased at camdengrey.com. All other soap ingredients may found at Whole Foods. If you'd like to learn more about what Dr. Brent Ridge is doing on the farm or would like to purchase Beekman 1802 soap, visit beekman1802.com. Special thanks to Dr. Brent Ridge for giving some of his natural goat milk soap to our studio audience.

Materials

  • Protective mask and gloves
  • Stirring spoons or sticks
  • Candy thermometer
  • Electric hand blender
  • Spatula
  • Large bowl
  • Pitcher
  • Soap molds
  • Cookie racks
  • 12 ounces partially frozen goats' milk
  • 3 ounces lye
  • 4 1/4 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 ounces coconut oil
  • 12 ounces soy or vegetable shortening

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Wearing a protective mask and gloves, place milk into large bowl and slowly add lye. Stir until the mixture is smooth and without lumps. The lye will interact with the fat molecules in the milk and should bring the mixture to between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Step 2

    Melt the olive oil, coconut oil, and shortening together in one pot and bring to 115 degrees.

  3. Step 3

    Add the oil mixture to the milk and lye and use a hand blender to combine until the mixture demonstrates "tracing" (drips from the blender leave a noticeable path in the mixture). This will take 2 to 5 minutes.

  4. Step 4

    Using a spatula, fold the mixture to remove bubbles. Transfer to a pitcher and pour the mixture into soap molds.

  5. Step 5

    After 24 hours, turn the soaps out of the molds onto cookie racks. Allow to cure for 2 weeks.

Source
The Martha Stewart Show, April 2008

Reviews (82)

  • 3 Jan, 2014

    This recipe does not include fragrance/essential oils. Have any of you altered the recipe to include this? Also the instructions given do not clearly state how to maintain the correct temperatures. Not a good recipe for a beginner, like myself. I blended until it got about as thick as I thought it would (about 10 minutes), and put in the mold.... waiting to see

  • 15 Nov, 2013

    I made the soap a few weeks ago and it worked out fine using the recipe. Being a neubie at this soap-making thing, I really appreciated the comment telling the importance of adding the lye to the other ingredients, rather than the other way around.
    Just about to make another batch..great for Christmas gifts along with Goat Milk Lotion!

  • 24 Aug, 2013

    Never add liquid to lye. Always add lye to liquid. Seems their safety rules need to be re-evaluated.

  • 27 May, 2013

    This recipe took away an allergic flare up my daughter had after picking wild flowers, helped her eczema, took away my other daughters' chigger bite reaction and healed my husbands bought with Poison Ivy. We can't express how grateful we are for having this recipe to pull from, it was the one recipe that I actually had gotten to saponify correctly. Thank you for this recipe which turned out a successful, firm and creamy bar with a pH of 7. We used fresh goat milk from our Nigerians.

  • 10 May, 2013

    Hmm. I'm John, the owner of Stupid Creatures. I have a book called Stupid Sock Creatures, which has been out for 3 years.oakley sunglasses sale
    cheap oakley sunglasses

  • 16 May, 2012

    FYI.. the shortening they show is found at most health food stores. It is actually organic palm oil shortening not soy or crisco. The recipe is over a bit in liquid. Use 6-8 oz and not 12 or you will have a wet mushy mess and it will curl or warp while drying. Also find a video on youtube showing better instructions, especially regarding safety. They went very fast and did not explain things well. They didn't even check to make sure the lye was dissolved all the way. Shame on Martha!

  • 14 Oct, 2011

    I just made my first batch of this soap. I thought I followed the recipe exactly, but when I was mixing with the blender, it appears that the liquid "broke". It looks like milk does when heated too high for too long. Has anyone else run into this?

  • 9 Feb, 2011

    I checked his recipe against the lye calculator at www.thesage.com and he is way over the amount of liquid they recommend. Try using 8 oz. of goat's milk and lower the lye a bit to 2.9 oz. and your soap should turn out fine. Too much liquid makes for a slow trace and soft soap. Barb Miller, owner of Miller's Homemade Soaps

  • 9 Jan, 2011

    We don't use vegetable shortening as a filler in our soap. We use a higher percentage of olive, coconut and palm oils to make a more moisturizing bar. It is more expensive that way, but our customers have said it has helped their acne, rosacea and eczema. The longer you let it cure, we have found, the longer the bar lasts....depending on the softness or hardness of your water. www.guudie.com

  • 9 Jan, 2011

    We don't use vegetable shortening as a filler in our soap. We use a higher percentage of olive, coconut and palm oils to make a more moisturizing bar. It is more expensive that way, but our customers have said it has helped their acne, rosacea and eczema. The longer you let it cure, we have found, the longer the bar lasts....depending on the softness or hardness of your water. www.guudie.com

  • 27 Nov, 2010

    You can also buy lye at Lowe's (you might check at other large home improvement stores as well). Please make sure you wear protective eyewear and clothing.

  • 16 Oct, 2010

    Dr. Brent Ridge's Goat Milk Soap are nice color big bars and very creative.
    I had use last year also use soap from an century old lady Santa Lucia also
    recommended great soaps http://palinsoap.com

  • 7 Dec, 2009

    I would NOT recommend purchases through Camden Grey .com. They are rude and provide no quality customer service. There is no way to make changes to an order once it has been placed; whether shipped or not you are responsible for all costs.

  • 12 May, 2009

    Can someone please tell me how many bars of soap this recipe makes?

  • 17 Feb, 2009

    Clearly there are viewers out there who have a lot of insecurities about making soap. I found this recipe, and the episode to be both entertaining and accurate. It was my first attempt at soap making, and it turned out well. If you are unsure of your technique, go to Expert Village.com and watch the videos on soap making and precautions.

  • 27 Jan, 2009

    I would even venture to guess that Dr. Brent does not actually make the soap himself, he seems to know so litttle about the process. He had helpers weigh everything out for him. Those of you who were successful got lucky. If you will read the posts there are many people who have had problems because the directions are not complete. This is an irresponsible recipe and you run the risk of a chemical burn if you do not know what you are doing.

  • 19 Oct, 2008

    I HAVE MADE 2 BATCHES OF THIS SOAP AND I REALY LOVE IT, BUT MY BARS OF SOAP WANT TO CURL UP EVEN THOUGH I TURN THEM SEVERAL TIMES WHEN DRYING. DOSE ANYONE HAVE ANY ADVICE? THANKS SHAMC

  • 14 Oct, 2008

    On the United States Postal Service website they have some scales for sale at a good price. Would these be a good choice for soap making? Go to www.usps.com and under order supplies click on stock up on supplies. Then click scales. I would post the link but it's too long.

  • 13 Oct, 2008

    I made a batch two days ago. When I took the bars out of the molds, they were a little soft. They are still soft to the touch today, and they don't really feel like they've hardened. Does anyone know if the 2-week curing process will harden them completely? Thanks.

  • 30 Sep, 2008

    It says to cure this soap 2 weeks. Is that sufficient? I have seen other recipes calling for curing up to 9 weeks. I would hate to accidentally burn someone.
    Thanks!

  • 29 Sep, 2008

    This is the first soap recipe I have tried. It turned out great! The directions were easy to follow and the ingredients were easy to find. The final product is great and I had fun making it. Now I have another way to use my goat's milk. Thanks!

  • 28 Sep, 2008

    I don't know why there is a posting warning people how complex and dangerous this project is. and ruining everyone's fun. I tried it today, and it is no more complicated than making a cup of hot cocoa. I really enjoyed it as well. I think I will take the opinion of the physician who offered this recipe, and Martha Stewart (and her attorneys), whom I am certain thought it through before presenting on the show.

  • 10 Sep, 2008

    I will be purchasing goat's milk from the grocery store to make my soap. Do I have to do anything different with it before using it in the soap recipe? Does anyone know? Thanks!!

  • 26 Aug, 2008

    Sorry .... still having posting problems....my comments below on coloring soap doubled again....and only part of my comment posted....I'll try again later

  • 26 Aug, 2008

    I was just reading the Soap making instructions listed above....# 3 says to add the oil mixture to the milk and lye....NEVER DO THIS....ALWAYS ADD THE LYE SOLUTION TO THE OILS. This will help avoid splashing lye in your face or on yoru work surface...

  • 26 Aug, 2008

    Coloring cold process soap can be difficult because there is a chemical reaction taking place. You can use minerals and spices. I have also melted crayola crayons and added at trace with mixed results. If you add different scents to your soap they can bring there own unique colors. I use a stainless steel to melt the oils. Any equipment that you use for soap making should be then only used for that purpose because of lye residue.

  • 26 Aug, 2008

    Sorry for the double posts....when I checked earlier my first comment wasn't posted so I tried again...

  • 26 Aug, 2008

    Please be very careful when making soap. The demo makes it look very simple. While it's not difficult it can be dangerous. Research and experience are required. Milk soap is an advanced technique. Water is best for beginners. Always weigh your ingredients. Wear gloves and eye protection. I saw a couple of posts by Brent that could lead a beginner to believe that they can randomly substitute oils and the amounts in a recipe. DO NOT do this unless you are experienced. Have fun but research first.

  • 25 Aug, 2008

    PLEASE !!! Be very careful making soap. Milk soap is an advanced technique.Water is best for beginners. DO NOT randomly substitute other fats or oils in this recipe without doing the proper research. I'm just afraid that a previous post by Brent gave the impression that it's okay to do. Each oil requires a different amount of lye to turn it into soap. The amount of lye needed will change as the recipe changes. Always wear gloves and eye protection. WEIGH ALL INGREDIENTS.

  • 25 Aug, 2008

    This recipe is really only for experienced soap makers. You need to use a digital therm. and a digital scale. Everything must be measured by weight and not volume. The temps. of the lye mixture and oils should be close to the same temp. You can no longer buy lye at a store that doesn't have aluminum in it. You must buy it online. You can also use pringle cans to mold soap. To raise and lower temps on the ingredients you should use hot and cold water baths.

  • 25 Aug, 2008

    Please...don't forget to cover your eyes with safety glasses! Your lye solution can splash when adding it to your oils and raw soap can spit up from your stick blender or when you are pouring into your molds. So please, don't forget your safety glasses!!

  • 25 Aug, 2008

    I'm wondering what could be added to make different colors of this soap....thanks

  • 25 Aug, 2008

    hi there i have yet to try making this soap but it sounds wonderful! i was just wondering if u have to use any kinds of special bowls for the mixing (plastic/glass) or just any old bowl will do please let me know

  • 31 Jul, 2008

    I love your goat's milk soap recipe. I have made several batches with kids in 4-H goat projects to enter at local county fairs. We have already won a grand reserve. What a fun and educational project! Thanks!

  • 23 Jul, 2008

    I have never made hot process soap. I am a novice at soap-making and am trying to perfect my cold-process right now.

  • 24 Jun, 2008

    Teacherpete,
    Do you also make hot process soap?

  • 23 Jun, 2008

    First you will need to open up the top, fold and tape so it is like a box. Lay carton on its side, slice one side open on three edges like a lid, line carton with a strip of plastic wrap. I use this mold method for cold process soap making. After pouring, close lid and tape shut . Wrap the carton in bath towels for 24-48 hours. Test to see if set. When set, remove soap from carton and slice. Cure 4-6 wks.

  • 23 Jun, 2008

    Teacherpete,
    That is a great idea using the milk cartons! Could you please elaborate?

  • 23 Jun, 2008

    About my earlier post-
    I have now learned that the tongue test works for hot process soap making. I think cold process soaps cure from the outside in? So the tongue test is not helpful.

  • 9 Jun, 2008

    You do not need to heat your milk before making soap. Heating only pasteurizes the milk (it has nothing to do with breaking down the fat globules). Yes, you can use cow's milk (or teas). Always weigh each of your ingredients. Water is the only substance where 8 oz volume = 8 oz weighed. Laurie!C, you experienced "Gel Stage". Saponification is an exothermal reaction. It gives off heat. Your soap can be 170*F I have other soap recipes at www.mullerslanefarm.com/soapmaking

  • 15 May, 2008

    To pogwog, to answer your question, I have never made soap with milk, but when I use water, we weigh ALL ingredients and our soap has turned out great everytime. For molds, we line quart or half gallon milk or juice cartons with plastic wrap, then pour the soap and slice after a couple of days like a loaf of bread. We cure for about four weeks.

  • 13 May, 2008

    Shannynhall,

    Thanks for your tip. It worked! I wish I had followed your suggestion EXACTLY, though, I put the first mold in the freezer over night. They popped right out......but then the condensation from the FROZEN soap kinda made a mess. The next batch I left in the freezer for a couple of hours and they came out well without sweating. I didn't leave the third mold in the freezer long enough and, while they came out of the mold, they didn't come out CLEANLY.

  • 11 May, 2008

    Can this recipe be doubled successfully? On the video it said a larger barch would take 5 minutes to trace.

  • 10 May, 2008

    LaurelC, pop the trays in the freezer for a few hours and the soap should come right out!

  • 8 May, 2008

    uummmmm.........I made this soap last night and can't get it out of the molds. Am I doing something wrong or is this normal? Should I leave it another day? BTW, it's going opaque again.

    The part I scraped out of the mold DID suds up a lot when I washed my hands.

  • 8 May, 2008

    you can also infuse the olive oil with dried calendula petals. Just gently warm it on a windowsill for a couple weeks. Great baby soap!

  • 8 May, 2008

    Many comments have indicated that the measurements are by weight. Does this include the goats milk? Or is this a liquid measurement? Is there a metric version of this recipe available?

  • 7 May, 2008

    I made this soap about an hour ago. It was a beautiful opaque yellow. When I just went to check on it, I noticed it's going clear from the inside out. Did I do somerhing wrong?

  • 4 May, 2008

    Thank you everyone, your comments and suggestions helped a great deal. I made the soap this morning and it was very easy. This afternoon the surface of the soap turned a little dusty looking and a few of them had beads of oil that disappeared . Did anyone else notice this on their soap.? jjuju

  • 2 May, 2008

    I use a digital kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients. When I first learned soap-making, my teacher stressed the importance of being accurate with measurements including the temperature of the lye mixture.

  • 2 May, 2008

    I used the volume measures and not weight. The mixture never did trace. It's probably ruined? I used lye from the hardware store. When I stirred the mixture, metalic flakes came to the surface. Please help?

  • 2 May, 2008

    what do you use to weigh the ingredients ?

  • 2 May, 2008

    Nevermind, I just watched the video again and realized my error.

  • 2 May, 2008

    I thought the lye on the show was liquid, but I have crystal lye. Does the weight change? Am I mistaken about the lye I saw on the show? What should I do?
    Thanks

  • 1 May, 2008

    Perhaps the very important fact that the measurements are by weight, not volume should be included in the recipe, along with the addition of a scale in the list of equipment. Also remember to weigh the empty container before adding your ingredients.

  • 1 May, 2008

    I made three batches of this soap this past weekend and each one behaved differently in the mixing process. Now that I know the measurements are by weight not volume that could explain it. I guess I will know in two weeks what it is I have curing in my closet. But it does look like what I saw on the television.

  • 30 Apr, 2008

    This was SO much fun to make!! I still have yet to see the finished product, but making the soap was so fulfilling. I really want to play around and experiment with it. Thanks Dr. Brent for sharing the recipe!! I do have a question, though. When mixing the lye and goat's milk, the lye looked like it hadn't dissolved completely. There were still faint specs throughout the soap, is this normal? I kept stirring and stirring but it wouldn't go away!! I hope I didn't do anyhting wrong and the soap comes out well. But it was really fun anyway, I've never done anything like it.

  • 30 Apr, 2008

    The measurements are by weight.

  • 30 Apr, 2008

    I see this has been asked before but...are the measurements by weight or by volume? Thanks!

  • 29 Apr, 2008

    You can substitute canola oil for the coconut oil or add more olive oil. You may have to experiment with quantities of each to see which recipe gives you the soap that you want. You can add lavender essential oil right after you've mixed in the other oils
    You can absolutely re-use the utensils. The soap comes right off in water.

  • 29 Apr, 2008

    Question? What could be substituted for the coconut oil. Would really love this soap to have a lavender scent. Any sugestions out there?

  • 29 Apr, 2008

    Hi, it's me again!

    One more question...

    Can you reuse the bowls, utensils, and hand blender, etc? Should these be put away ONLY for soap-making use?

    I'm really getting "in" to making my own stuff! I've made my own liquid laundry soap and my own vanilla extract. Once I make THIS soap, I'll try making laundry soap with it!

  • 29 Apr, 2008

    I was at this show and we were very lucky to have gotten 2 bars of this soap. I have been using it since and have to say I love it!! I love the fact that there are only a few ingredients and no fragrance. Thank you Dr. Ridge!!

  • 28 Apr, 2008

    I'm so glad to hear that you made the soap and that it turned out well.
    To answer MC's question, you can use canned or dry milk but keep in mind that since the milk is about 40% of the ingredients, using the highest quality you can find will make a big difference in the quality of the soap that you get.

  • 28 Apr, 2008

    Made this soap yesterday, it's very easy. You can get the lye at Lowe's, Roebic crystal drain opener in the plumbing area is what you need. My grocery store(Publix) had all the other ingredients. No need to heat the milk but do freeze it because the mixture gets very hot and i was afraid it would mely my melamine bowl. Use plastic or glass utensils and any heat resistant plastic can become a mold.

  • 28 Apr, 2008

    Can canned or dry Goats milk be used? Also on the show you mentioned heating the Goats milk first.

  • 27 Apr, 2008

    I saw the last of the show and would like to know:

    1. what type of bowls were used for each process
    2. I heard that the amount of milk was 2 cups, the recipe calls for 12 ozs.
    3. Can you use canned Goats milk and do you heat it up before freezing it.
    4. Can you use "Red Devil" lye.

    soonerfan

  • 26 Apr, 2008

    Thank you for your response Dr. Brent. Your soaps are truly beautiful and you sharing your knowledge and recipe is very generous. I will try to make it sometime and then will try yours as well. Once you use natural homemade soap you never go back to commercial cleansing bars. It give you great peace of mind to know that you are not putting chemicals/fragrances/dyes on your skin every day; after all everything you put in your skin ends up in your blood stream (like nicotine patches, etc.)Thanks.

  • 26 Apr, 2008

    I've had several people email me on our website, asking whether cow's milk can be used. From a scientific standpoint, you should be able to use cow's milk. The butterfat content is roughly similar to that of goat milk. I've never made the soap with cow's milk and can't speak from experience. I will say that making soap is more of an art than a science. You may find that you make soap that is more to your liking if you use more coconut oil or less olive oil, etc. Part of the fun is the experimentation (but that might just be the scientist in me speaking!)

    Thanks to those who clarified the question about the lye. You were absolutely correct. You cannot make soap without lye. By the end of the curing process, all of the lye has been consumed by the saponification reaction.

    I have never heard of the tongue test. Thanks for sharing. People might find that strange, but sodium hyrdoxide (lye) is actually used in quite a few food products like noodles and pretzels.

    ---Dr. Brent

  • 26 Apr, 2008

    I'm glad to see so many of you are going to make soap. I hope you'll let me know how it turns out.

    To answer some of your questions:

    The soap is heat treated at 155 degrees for one minute. This is less to kill bacteria than it is to break up the fat globules. I cannot see any reason that pasteurized goat milk or canned goat milk will not work.

  • 26 Apr, 2008

    Hi, Aix

    Our soap is made using the "cold method". The mixture does not exceed 115 degrees. You do not need to worry about melting the plastic molds. An excellent source for the molds is www.milkwaymolds.com

  • 25 Apr, 2008

    I am concern about using the plastic molds. Won't they melt, or does this recipe not get as hot? I normally use a wooden mold but would love to use pretty molds right after tracing. I also cover the bars with plastic wrap to prevent the ash from forming on top of the soap when first poured. He didn't mentioned anything about this so many this recipe reacts different than soaps made with water?
    Thanks for your response.

  • 25 Apr, 2008

    The best way to be sure the lye has completely reacted is the toungue test. I test all my soap because I use it on my baby. Touch the soap to the tip of your toungue. If it stings at all, let it cure some more. Sorry- there is really no substitute for this test.
    I use water or cow's milk instead of goat milk- it is hard to come by here.
    And yes, the lye is required. Lye is what turns oil and milk into soap. Otherwise, it's just oil and milk.
    Hope this helps, and good luck.

  • 25 Apr, 2008

    I find it to be very important if at all possible to caught the show that the project you are going to make was on. The guest almost always give a more detail instruction then what gets printed. So set those recorders and keep crafting.

  • 25 Apr, 2008

    The lye is required to make soap. Soap is made by a chemical reaction. The oil/fat particles combine with the lye. There is no lye remaining in the soap once it has cured. The soap must sit for 2 weeks mininum before using to make sure the lye has all reacted and it must be mixed very well.
    They are heating the raw goats milk to kill any bacteria in it. I would think that pastuerized goats milk would work as well. I don't know about using cow's milk. I have never seen a recipe for it.

  • 25 Apr, 2008

    Yes you can get pasteurized goat's milk at Whole Foods. I'm guessing you can use it but that's just a guess and I'm also guessing that if you use it you can skip the heating part but I don't know.... anyone else have any insight?

  • 25 Apr, 2008

    I have the same question about heating the milk ?? Also, lye is so caustic. Can you make soap wtihout the lye and why is it needed? Anyone know?

  • 25 Apr, 2008

    To #2 Laurel: I believe the temperature was 155 degrees for one minute.

  • 25 Apr, 2008

    Are the amounts measured by weight or volume? Also, when I make soap I use a stainless steel stock pot, what is the material of the large bowl? Does cow's buttermilk work as well?

  • 25 Apr, 2008

    On the show, they mentioned that you should heat the milk before partially freezing it. I remember they said to heat it for one minute, but not how HIGH to heat it. Anybody catch how high to heat it?

  • 25 Apr, 2008

    what if you don't have any goats to milk?
    can you use canned goats milk as well ?
    Carol C

  • 25 Apr, 2008

    Can you use pasteurized goat milk and can you find that at whole foods as well?