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The First Practical Book on Making Castile Soap at Home!

Castile Soapmaking
The Smart and Simple Guide to Making
Lovely Castile Soap from Olive Oil
Quickly, Safely, and Reliably

By Anne L. Watson

General Info
Sample Text

For centuries, the name Castile has been associated with the highest quality in soap. But Castile—made from olive oil, traditionally in factories—has proven hard to translate to craft soapmaking. It has earned a reputation as difficult to make, slow to cure, and lacking in rich lather.

Until now.

Anne L. Watson, author of Smart Soapmaking, continues her soapmaking revolution with the first practical book on making Castile soap at home. With the secrets revealed in this advanced guide, you’ll be making lovely, quick-curing, lather-rich Castile with no trouble at all.

Anne L. Watson is the author of the wildly popular and widely acclaimed beginners book Smart Soapmaking and its companions, Milk Soapmaking and Smart Lotionmaking. She has made soap professionally under the company name Soap Tree, and before her retirement was a historic preservation architecture consultant. Anne’s other published books include Baking with Cookie Molds and several novels. Anne, her husband, Aaron, and their cat, Skeeter, live in Friday Harbor, Washington.

Shepard Publications
Ebook ~ 2015
Paperback ~ 2016

Amazon | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU
Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Book Depository

Book cover: Castile Soapmaking


(Facts and Myths About Castile)

(Moving It from Factory to Kitchen)

(The Ingredients of Castile)

(Gathering the Equipment You Need)

Recipe: Anne’s Classic Castile

(From Prep to Cleanup and Beyond)

(Different Castile Soaps You Can Try)

Recipe: Milk Castile
Recipe: Herbal Castile
Recipe: Oatmeal Castile
Recipe: Cleansing Castile
Recipe: Gardener’s Lemon Poppy Seed Castile
Recipe: Castor Castile
Recipe: Coconut Castor Castile
Recipe: Tropical Castile

(Frequently Asked Questions)


Sample Text

Castile soap is a soap made from olive oil, sometimes with other plant fats mixed in. It takes its name from the Castile region of Spain, where it was made. But similar soap has been linked to other places where olive oil was plentiful, such as Crete, Nablus, Damascus, Aleppo, and Marseille.

There are romantic stories about the soap’s origins—stories involving queens, crusaders, and the Silk Road—but little or no reliable information. Plant oil soaps, though, were probably developed in the Middle East in medieval times to meet religious objections to the use of animal fats. Castile soap itself is thought to have been inspired by Aleppo soap from Syria, but it omitted that soap’s laurel berry oil, which was not easily available in Spain.

Unlike Marseille soap from France, Castile soap has never been legally regulated for content. But it was originally a solid soap made exclusively from olive oil. Hot processing was the only soapmaking method in earlier times—in fact, soapmakers were called “soap boilers,” and their patron saint, St. Florian, was shared with firefighters.

Going by histories and old pictures, soaps like Castile were produced in factories, using unsophisticated equipment and apparently no safety precautions at all. There seems to be no record of Castile soap being made at home. Compared with cottage soap, which was made with reclaimed kitchen grease, Castile was definitely a luxury item.

Castile soap is regarded by many as the pinnacle of the soapmaker’s craft. It’s also believed to be difficult to make, and especially difficult to make well by a small-scale soapmaker.

It’s thought to need lengthy mixing. And to need lengthy aging, with some sources recommending a year or more. And to have poor lather, or even slimy lather.

These are all myths, based on the trouble that craft soapmakers have had in adapting what was originally a factory process. But making quality Castile soap on a small scale is not only possible, it’s even not so difficult. It’s just different.

So, now, let’s explore the differences and see how to make perfect Castile soap—traditional or with variations—with little trouble at all.

Anne’s Soap and Lotion Books

Book cover: Smart SoapmakingBook cover: Milk SoapmakingBook cover: Smart LotionmakingBook cover: Castile SoapmakingBook cover: Cool Soapmaking

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