Braiding soap is an emulsion of fat in a soap-and-water solution. The water in the solution conditions the lace for a greater stretch while the fat permits the leather strands to slip more tightly into place. This allows the braid to be rolled more smoothly.
The following recipe for braiding soap has been used here at David Morgan for years. We usually make the braiding soap in a recycled 2 pound coffee can where the mixture can be prepared and stored in the same can.
1 3.5 ounce bar of Ivory soap
12 ounces (1-1/2 cups) water
1 pound (2 cups) lard
1. Coarsely grate soap into a coffee can or pot suitable for stovetop use.
2. Add water and mix.
3. Heat the mixture almost to boiling, stirring occasionally. Take care not to overheat causing the mixture to boil over.
4. Add the lard to the hot soap mixture, continuing to heat until the lard is melted. Again, take care not to overheat causing the mixture to boil over.
5. Remove the mixture from the heat. Beat at high speed with an electric hand mixer to emulsify the fat. Take care not to splatter or spill the hot mixture.
6. Allow the mixture to cool, then mix thoroughly once more with the mixer. Transfer the mixture to a storage container at this time if you are not storing in the container used during preparation.
7. Cool completely. Store, covered, at room temperature.
Makes about 2 pounds. The braiding soap will have a light, creamy consistency.
Note: Ivory soap is recommended as a commonly available pure soap. Do not use a facial soap or detergent.
LEARN MORE ABOUT: