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Soap: Making It, Enjoying It Paperback – January 4, 1975


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

ANN   BRAMSON Ann Bramson was recently named Publisher of Artisan Books, a division of Workman Publishing. Prior to that, she was VP and Senior Editor at William Morrow & Company. In the course of her career, she has worked with such major cookbook writers as Julia Child (Baking with Julia), Jacques Pepin (La Technique, La Methode, The Short-Cut Cook), Craig Claiborne (Elements of Etiquette, Craig Claiborne's Favorites), Barbara Kafka (Roasting, Party Food, Microwave Gourmet) and Guiliano Bugialli (Classic Techniques of Italian Cooking). She has published many chefs, bakers, and restaurateurs Ñ among them Paul Prudhomme, Larry Forgione, Biba Caggiano, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, Joyce Goldstein, Jim Peterson, Nancy Silverton, Amy Scherber, Jeremiah Tower, and Chris Schlesinger Ñ and has been instrumental in producing major works under the imprimaturs of such diverse institutions as Good Housekeeping and Le Cordon Bleu. 
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; 2 edition (January 4, 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0911104577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0911104578
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

It contains basic information and four recipes.
Stephanie Manley
This book is well written, gives you all the info. to get you started in making your own soap.
Cheryl Lavooi
I would recommend this book for anyone wanting to make soap at home.
V. Osborn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

120 of 121 people found the following review helpful By P. S. Black on February 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this particular book.
When I started making soap around 1990, this was the only book I could find. I had only been searching for about 30 years for instructions on how to make soap at home, haahaa.
Ann Bramson, whoever she is and where ever she is, gave me a start to the most successful business I've ever owned. As a result, it has completely changed my life.
But, about this book.... It is very simple, very basic, and has a lot of information in it that will lead you in completely the wrong direction. Not because it isn't correct information exactly, it all is true for her book and her method of soap making. We soap makers have learned much since we all put our heads together on the internet. By swapping thoughts and failures we've greatly improved how to make soap at home.
Probably 90% of soap authors just copy the information in this book. So instead of buying theirs, buy this one. It is much less expensive and you will receive the exact same information.
I still love this book. It explains how to make some soap at home and isn't that what you're looking for? With this very inexpensive, no thrills, no daring to be different book, you will make your first batch of soap successfully!
I like her recipes and those are the only recipes I made for years. They do make excellent soap!
The issues I have with this book are that we do not need to match temperatures on your fats and lye solutions. You really should not use fat temperatures of 98 degrees; this is far too low. Certainly, you CAN add herbs and fruits and all sorts of things to your soap recipe. The reason she says that you cannot is because of the low temperatures she's using in her book.
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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful By SJR on December 16, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been making soap for a year now, and this is the first book I bought. Overall, it is a great source. I read it three times before I even tried to make a batch. I would recommend thoroughly reading this book, but do not take all Ann's advise as law. For example: she says that your temperatures must be between 95 and 98 degrees or your batches will fail. Not true! And she says you should not make batches smaller than 6 pounds. Many people make 1 pound batches with no problems. For most people, this is just a hobby and what will they do with 6 pounds of soap, especially when you want to make a few different kinds!
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book. Very readable, very inspiring, and also entertaining. She has a really nice style of writing -- folksy and easy to understand. This book has four basic recipes -- three are animal fat based, and one is vegetable oil based. Her instructions are clear and reassuring. I really like her comments on carving the finished soap into bars. And I love the chapter on the history of soapmaking, including 100-year old ads for commercial soaps like Ivory and Cashmere bouquet. This book really makes you appreciate soap and the process of making it.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 17, 1997
Format: Paperback
I bought this book in 1973,when the price tag was about $3.00. It's still an excellent value at the present price. This is the ORIGINAL soapmaking book--the only one around at the time--and it's superb for beginners. Ms. Bramson goes through every detail of the soapmaking process. I learned on it; many new soapmakers have also learned on it. It's an excellent buy. It you can buy only one book about soap, buy this one
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the book that got me started on my own soap-and-toiletries making business, too. It is very inspirational! Ann Bramson even managed to get me to boil down many, many pounds of utterly disgusting beef fat to make my own tallow (I do NOT recommend this -- it will make your entire house smell like a meat-packing plant), but I'm glad I can say now, as a veteran soapmaker, that I did try it a couple of times. I quickly moved on from the beef tallow and lard-based soaps to the vegetable based soaps, though.
I have a few quarrels with this book, such as stirring raw soap with a wooden spoon (only recommended if you like having wood splinters in your soap as an exfoliater) and adding water to the lye instead of the lye to the water (this could cause an eruption of lye to shoot right out of your container, very dangerous). I also think that her extravagant use of essential oils could bankrupt the uninitiated who don't know how much those little teeny bottles cost! But all in all, this is a wonderful, thorough book, a real pleasure to read. She has a great sense of humor and really conveys her obsession with beautiful, handcrafted soap very well.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By B. Tackitt on November 30, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Soap
By Ann Bramson
One of the first soapmaking books available, and still a classic. This is homemade soapmaking from true scratch, including directions on rendering your own tallow from beef fat.
Good points:
*The very last pages are a grid on oils and their basic characteristics and what properties they will lend to the soaps.
* There is a fairly good section on blending scents with 10 recipes for scent blends.
* The section for special soaps has some info on how to change the basic recipes into soaps which would be more to your liking.
* I enjoyed reading the digressions section. It contained soapmaking history as well as having a nice section on early advertising of soaps from the late 1800's to the early 1900's.
The trouble shooting section, while having some good ideas for basic problems, is now a bit outdated. Most soapmakers nowadays don't have much of a problem with seperations, curdling, or long trace times due to the fact that we've (...) bought our lifesaving handy dandy stick
blenders.
Safety issues are covered fairly well, but we have also learned better and safer ways of mixing our lye and water.
** I do have a problem with the fact that while Ms. Bramson does mention the use of protective gloves for safety, she then freely admits she'd rather risk a small lye burn rather than wear them.
A bit dated, but still a good reference book, and one that helped me in a history class.
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