Whether you agree with them or not, there are a few simple reasons why beef fat (or tallow) is used so widely in soap:
- It's cheap
- It's readily available
- It makes really good soap. The lather is rich and creamy, and hard to duplicate in a vegetable oil soap.
So...how do we render beef (or other animal) fat into tallow? It's pretty easy. To render the tallow you'll need:
- 3-5 pounds of fat-chopped or ground into as small of pieces as possible. (Make friends with the butchers in your local grocery - or better yet, take them some soap - and you'll have all the fat you ever need!)
- A large soap pot
- Water and some salt
- A sieve or colander
- A large bowl to cool it in
- Some large spoons, and a potato masher if you have one
Be sure to see the Special Note about the fat you get in Step 10.