Rendering Tallow for Soapmaking

What did I do yesterday? Oh, you know, I had coffee with my step-sister, Marlo. We talked about my book, and we rendered down one of the four gallon bags of deer fat she brought. Yes, I know what you’re thinking–yuck. Why would we do that? Why?


Well, my reasoning is simple. Why not? The fat was going to be thrown away, and that’s such a waste. Also, tallow acts like palm oil in soap recipes; it makes the bar hard and long-lasting. I have been patiently waiting for hunting season so I could try it out myself.

Actually, the process isn’t that bad. The fat had very little odor, and what I did notice reminded me of a pot roast on the stove. I believe this had a lot to do with Marlo and her crazy fat trimming skills. Everything she bought was just nice, white fat, and nothing else.

Can you write nice fat? Does that even work?

Anyway, we cooked the cubes down in a pot with several inches of water, and we used my Pampered Chef masher to help the process along once the fat began to turn translucent. The fat cooked on low for about half a day. Once there was a significant amount of liquid in the pot, I strained it off into a couple soaping containers. After they cooled on the counter, I placed them in the freezer for the night.

Right now the tallow is warming up on my counter. Once it’s warm enough to work with, I will slice off the gelatin and impurities, and into the pot it will return. After one more round through the pot and freezer, the tallow will be poured into a mold, cooled and sliced, and then frozen until I am ready to use it for soap.

I will post about the finished product when it’s all ready.

So tell me, have you ever used tallow in your soaping recipes? If so, how did you like it?


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