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am 9. Mai 2000
I really enjoy the straight forward writing style of Ms. Cavitch. She speaks to you like you're having a conversation with a good friend.
In the Introduction she gives some basic chemistry of soap lessons which are very easy for the non chemist to understand. Then she goes on to explain different types of soap, different fats and oils what when you might want to use each. All through the beginning are charming, little stories about real soap makers and their businesses. What a nice touch.
This seems to be a very well thought out book with just oodles of information on just about every aspect of making soap. She's even included a small section on blending essential oils and give some suggested blending for certain scents.
The coloring section isn't as lengthy as I think it could be, but it is a good start for the beginner, especially for those who want to start using herbs for coloring soaps.
I can't say I agree with Ms. Cavitch on her temperatures explanation. But that does seem to be more of a preference thing. She feels that vegetable soaps made over 95 degrees F are problematic, but I have never found that to be the case. Actually... I have found the opposite to be true.
Weighing your essential oils in advance as she suggests you do in Step 1, is going to give you a problem unless you tightly seal it. I learned right away that they will evaporate into the air. What you weighed out before you started stirring will be partly gone by the time you use it! She does however, later in another section, mention that you should tightly seal the container.
A picture, an actual photograph, of what 'trace' means would be nice. Would it kill these authors to say something like, "thick like pudding"? No one can ever figure out what is meant by the word trace. Newbees sort of freak out about it, and I can understand that.
There is one thing that I really don't like about her recipes. That is, some of the items are in pounds and some of the items are in grams. Unless you're good at converting or your scale does both, you're going to have a problem. It would have been much nicer had she offered all items in both grams and ounces and then you could use what you use. I can see why she's doing it. Grams offer much better accuracy with those items like lye and grapefruit seed extract. But many who aren't interested in doing conversions, won't use the recipes. :(
Cavitch is working with that old, bothersome method of matching your lye solution temp with your oil temp at about 80 degrees F. I don't recommend this method as it causing a soap separation many times when the temp drops and saponification slows to a crawl. But a good many people still use this method.
Her suggestions that a mostly olive oil soap can trace in about 7 minutes I don't agree with at all. I have hand stirred more like 3 hours for mostly olive soap. I wouldn't want anyone to think that they can actually accomplish this and not have under stirred soap. Pomace (a lower grade of olive) will trace quickly, but I don't think that can be done in less than 1/2 hour with hand stirring.
I guess the really big problem people have with Susan Cavitch is her method of figuring lye. What she does works, however, soap makers don't 'discount' lye, they add more fats/oils. It is quite confusing if you talk to someone who figures things with her discount method. It is just one of those annoying things. Some say the glass is half full, others half empty. Well, for Cavitch alone, the glass is half empty.
There are many recipes in this book and also a section on things you can add to the recipes and how to add them, such as herbs, superfat oils, etc., to make some varied soaps. There is a chapter on suggestions on wrapping soaps decoratively which is fun too.
All in all, I think this is a high quality book. I think the actual method of making soap is outdated now, but aren't they all? We have finally gone beyond the Ann Bramson book, but the authors have not caught up yet.
I have my little pet peeves about the book, but I think everyone should have a copy. All that chemistry is good to have so that you can talk to Dr. Bob later and actually understand him! :) . . .
0Kommentar| 6 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 19. Februar 2000
I'm starting a small business and I needed a book to help me with making a lot of soap in one time. The recipes usually make about 30-40 bars in one shot. If you're buying this for personal use I'D PASS. On the other hand if you're looking to sell soap go for it. Now the problem is there are NO pictures showing the final product! I like to see what i'm making and I'd like to see if mine looks the same when I'm done. They basically have little drawings if that's what you want to call them..not to helpful it that area. It's an O.K. gives you the list of things you need to make soap and that's what I basically bought it for...
0Kommentar| 3 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 23. Januar 2000
The only problem I have with this book is the sheer quantity of soap each recipe makes. I have never made 40 bars of soap at one time and cannot imagine ever doing so. I'm not sure what I would do with 40 bars of soap. It's more fun for me to make several small batches of soap for variety. It would have been more helpful had Cavitch included information on making half batches as well.
The author uses no animal products in her soap, which may be a plus for some, but I find lard and tallow to make nice soaps for much less money. Of course, this is a matter of preference to the soap maker.
Frankly, I wish I had bought another soap making book.
0Kommentar| 2 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 24. November 1999
I am a beginner soap maker and found this book to be extremely informative. There is a great amount of information regarding the different types of oils and additives you can use. But, being a beginnger, I found the recipes waaay to intimidating and extremely large. I almost got turned off of soap making thinking that I would need a scale to measure lye to tenths of grams! (i.e. lye weight 567 7/10 gm) Also her recipes call for you to make batches of at least 40 bars each, an amount I was not interested in making. There is a lot of good information in this book, but I think that this book is for people extremely serious about soap making.
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am 19. März 1998
I have now been making soap for two years and this has been my bible. I have never had a recipe flop and the end results have been great. The instructions are clear and Susan Cavitch provides adequate chemical and technical information if you want to start experimenting with other oils/combinations than those listed in the recipes. This book is a must for a beginning soapmaker and a great addition to the serious soapmaker's library.
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am 6. Dezember 1998
I've been making soap for fun and profit for 3 years and have found this book to be the most informative and comprehensive of any I've read--and I've read a lot! Great recipes, easy-to-follow instructions, and wonderful ideas. This is truly my soapmaker' bible--I use it constantly! This is the perfect start-up book for beginners, as well as a great resource for more experienced soapers.
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am 30. Januar 1999
This is _the_ book to acquire if you are planning to make vegetable oil based soap. There's a lot of information packed in this book. It presents all the elements of soapmaking very systematically, and explains the simple chemistry and logic behind the recipes and techniques. It specializes on the best ways to make vegetable oil soap -- which can differ from animal fat based soap. I'm a beginner. I made my first batch last night and it is happily solidifying in the molds as I write. I would buy this book in addition to whatever other soapmaking books you feel inspired to buy, because it covers just about everything and is a really good reference. It includes a large appendix of suppliers and a reassuring table of what to do when things go wrong. My only complaint is that it doesn't have a good description of what "tracing" looks like -- tracing being the sign that your soap is ready to pour into the molds. But, none of the other books I read did either. It's subtle, and I think it's the sort of thing you learn to recognize after you've made a couple of batches. Note that each of the eight basic recipes makes 40 bars of soap, so be prepared to share with friends!! If the amount of info in this book seems a bit overwhelming, beginners might also want to consider picking up a copy of Ann Bramson's book.
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am 14. September 1999
People either hate these books by Cavitch or they love them,and there's little room in between. Her book is a very valuableresource for technical info on oils/fats and their properties, and for basic ideas for recipes, however, if you follow all of her instructions you are missing out on some basic facts and better ways of doing things (i.e. you do NOT need to use GSE, just don't superfat your soap so dang much; USE a stick blender, the author probably had a batch trace too quickly and/or seize and thus swore off the stick blender; you do NOT need to use oxides nor are they "natural" colorants, they're metal-based and synthesized in labs; don't swear off the use of tallow or lard, and don't rely on the author's stats on them either; don't mistake her saponification table for potassium hydroxide as being one for sodium hydroxide, this will lead to disaster). You don't need to weigh your water either. These aren't serious procedural snafus, but the author obviously picked them up early in her soapmaking and has not let go of them. You will need GSE if you follow her recipes exactly and don't recalculate the lye, because her recipes produce soap that has enough excessive fat to make it go rancid after some months.
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am 24. November 1999
I'm thankful that I did not read this book until I'd mastered soapmaking based on more levelheaded information from other sources. This book is so very full of bad science, bad deductive reasoning, bad ideas, and clumsy instructions and clumsy logic, I sure would hate to be a beginner trying to wade through this book. Don't read this book. Cavitch has an axe to grind and tries to sway the reader with that while she is using smoke and mirrors to distract the reader from her poor laboratory technique and sketchy ideas about antioxidants, "nutrients" (tell me, Ms. Cavitch, do you even know that these things survive saponification?), and vitamins. I've looked at her newer and larger book, and it's full of the same loopy ideas about soap being a skin care product rather than soap, and much of the same misinformation. Like someone else said, it really is too bad that Ms. Cavitch got published before someone more intelligent did, and that she is taken to be some kind of expert on soapmaking, which she most certainly is not.
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am 4. September 1999
Everything in this one is repeated in her newer and better book, "The Soapmaker's Companion."
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