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Ann Bramson's Castile Soap Recipe


Soap by Ann Bramson

Soap by Ann Bramson

Workman Publishing Company
Ann Bramson's book Soap was one of the very first books published on making your own soap. She gives four basic recipes that she feels "should all be experienced." Her first recipe is a variation of castile soap which is a soap that uses all or mostly all olive oil. Hers uses 30% olive and 70% beef tallow, so (in my opinion) it's a bit of a stretch to call this a "castile" soap - but it's nonetheless a good recipe, especially if you don't have any coconut oil on hand. The lather isn't super bubbly, but it is rich and creamy. I've scaled her recipe down to make about 3 lbs. of soap and reduced her superfat to about 6%.

Prep Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour


  • 9.6 oz. olive oil
  • 22.4 oz. beef tallow
  • 10.5 oz. water
  • 4.2 oz. lye
  • 1.4 oz. of fragrance oil or essential oil blend


  1. Assemble all of your equipment and ingredients.
  2. Mix your lye solution and set it aside to cool.
  3. Measure and heat the tallow until it's completely melted.
  4. Measure and add the olive oil to the melted solid tallow.
  5. When both the lye and the oils are at about 100-110 degrees, slowly pour the lye solution into the oils. Stir with a stick blender, alternating short blasts with the blender and stirring.
  6. Mix the soap until it reaches a light trace.
  7. Add the fragrance oil.
  8. Mix them into the soap thoroughly.
  9. Pour the raw soap into your mold and let it sit for 12-24 hours until it has cooled off completely and is hard enough to cut.
  10. Remove it from the mold and slice into bars. Let it cure an additional 2-4 weeks.

    For more detailed directions on making soap check out step-by-step cold process soapmaking or DIY soap - making soap from scratch.

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