Their are primarily 4 types of soap making:
Melt and Pour Soap Making
Where typically a commercial melt and pour base is purchased then melted down where colors, scents, and botanicals may be added then poured into molds to harden. This soap is already a complete pre made block where the soaper has no option to change recipe and customize, but can only add scent, color, and additives. It is good for making intricate designs like 4D images such as roses and emblems.
Cold Process Soap Making
Where oils, lye and liquids are measured out mixed appropriately (lye into water, this mixture into oils) and mixed until a trace or pudding consistency is reached to make sure all ingredients are incorporated evenly and then poured into molds, allowed to sit until hard enough to cut, then set on curing racks to naturally cure/dry for at least 6 weeks before use. This method is the oldest traditional style of soap making where the soaper has complete control of soap recipes and the resulting quality and properties. This method allows for extreme customization and tailoring.
Hot Process Soap Making
Is made the same as cold process but the mixture is forcibly heated to hasten the saponification process and allow quicker dry time of 4 weeks. It is a way to sell products faster, but not necessarily of the same quality. This process can not be done or is advised against with goat milk as it will scorch, burn, and discolor the soap darkly. Here at Tipper Valley Farm, we never use any other process than cold process soap that is allowed to cure at least 6 weeks.
Re-batch Soap Making
This is the process of melting down various bits and pieces as well as grated soap to make a new soap. Soap is simply grated down, put into a pot with a little added water, melted down, then poured into molds to harden to cut. This is often done to save a recipe that did not set, or to use and upcycle extra soap bits and pieces. Often done with melt and pour soap base, but may be done with any soap making method.