Sometimes I have this insatiable desire to experience what our pioneer woman before us had to do out of necessity, and not out of desire!
Soap making was one of them!
After learning, and making my first bars of soap, I wanted the 'whole' experience of making soap, which to me meant: making soap out of Tallow.
I did not know where to buy Tallow, so I had to learn how to make my own. Through reading on the subject I discovered how.
Making your own tallow is not only 'not hard' it is very satisfying! If you do not have the time there are places such as EssentialDepot.com that sells all ready rendered beef fat.
If you have the time and the desire to make Tallow....then dig right in and follow along as I give instructions.
*5 lb of beef FAT (or less if you so desire)
If you can get the butcher to grind the fat it will be better.
-ground beef fat-
Place the fat in a large pot ad melt slowly, avoiding burning the un-melted fat. Continue to heat for 30-60 minutes, cool slightly for safety, and carefully decant over a sieve to remove cooked meat particles.
Melting beef fat
Add 1/2 volume of clean water to cooled melted fat.
Heat up water and fats again and cover and reduce heat to continue a low boil for 4 hours. Most of the water will evaporate and the impurities of the fat will go to the bottom.
Cool slightly and pour fat/water gently and carefully into a large plastic or ceramic bowl. I use a large plastic bowl myself. Place this bowl into the refrigerator to cool over night.
The next day turn your bowl upside down on a platter, over or near a sink. There will be two to three layers that will have formed. One: a protein laden jelly type water on the bottom,
and a fat/water grainy suspension layer in the middle, and a disk of pure tallow on the top. (this layer will be on the bottom when turned over)
Pick up and rinse the jelly protein off and pat dry.
You have just tendered and made pure Tallow!
How much tallow you will have depends on how much beef fat you have rendered. For example: If you render 2 lbs of beef fat...you will get 1 lb of tallow.
Although this was not the first recipe I made with tallow, is was one I made for a local Museum's store that carried 'old time' crafts. (I cut the recipe down for the sake of putting it here, because it was a very large batch I made for the museum)
32 oz Tallow
12 oz water
4.2 oz sodium hydroxide
2.5 oz fragrance of your choice
Add sodium hydroxide to water under a fan, or in a well ventilated area.
Stir until all the sodium hydroxide is dissolved. Set aside.
When Lye water and Tallow are about the same temperature, 125-130 degrees, pour lye water slowly into Tallow. Stir until blended, then use a stick blender until it comes to trace.
Add fragrance oil, and blend well. Pour into a mold of your choice.
Cover and let it sit for 24 hrs. Cut into bars and cure 3-4 weeks.
* Tallow produces a very hard bar of soap that is mild to the skin, but only produces a small creamy lather.
Have a great Monday!