Monday, April 11, 2022

From natural ingredients to handmade soap – vtdigger.org

Press Release submitted by: Andi Lutter — [email protected]

From Natural Ingredients to Handmade Soap

How a Self-Taught Local Soapmaker Crafts Her Wares

HARTLAND, VERMONT – When she retired from her career in information technology during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Vermonter Andi Lutter didn’t pack up for a sunny life of leisure. Instead, she taught herself the art of handmade cold-process soapmaking, and launched a small business.

“All my soaps are handmade, by me, in small batches in my Hartland kitchen,” says Lutter. She learned soapmaking by scouring the internet for online how-to videos, and perfected her process through trial and error. In 2021, OutsideIn Soaps, LLC was born.

From the start, Lutter was determined that unlike commercial products, her soaps would feature only all-natural vegetable and essential oils. No detergents. No Preservatives. No artificial fragrances.

The process requires precision with recipes and temperatures. When the oils are combined with sodium hydroxide (or lye), a process called “saponification” occurs. “The result is pure soap and glycerin – the lye is no more.” The saponification process requires at least 24-48 hours to complete. The soap can then be removed from the mold, hand-cut by Lutter and left to set for up to four to six weeks. It’s then ready to use.

Lutter’s creativity is on full display in everything from natural aromatherapy ingredients like eucalyptus and frankincense, to clever packaging and novel gift concepts. The “Stone Collection” soaps look uncannily like rounded river stones of gray or pink granite. Each is hand wrapped with twine and a Chinese Feng Shui Coin. For Mother’s Day, some offerings are combined with a bamboo face cloth and a stone heart charm.

For St. Patrick’s Day and Father’s Day, a special batch called “Suds O’ Stout” was on tap. Brewed up with Guinness Stout as it’s not-so-secret ingredient, the rich brown bars look like a pint glass with a frothy head of suds, each bar embossed with a shamrock.

“Because they are hand cut, no two are exactly the same,” says Lutter. “Most bars average between 4.5 and 5 ounces, and if one seems a little light to me, customers catch me slipping an extra bar into their order.”

OutsideIn soaps are available for $7 apiece, at OutsideInSoaps.com



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