The Making of Aleppo Soap
The making of Najel Aleppo Soaps
Master soap makers since 1895, the members of the Al Najjar family passed on their know-how handcrafted technique from generation to generation in order to produce the famous Aleppo soap, that has been protected by geographical indications. For several centuries, from late November to the end of February, the manufacture of the first hard soap in the world, repeats itself.
The saponification process begins by heating water and sodium hydroxide in a large cauldron until a certain temperature is reached. Olive oil is added and left to heat for 12 hours, and then left to stand. One Najel’s major advantages, is to head the soap paste by steam as it provides a better temperature control. If too high, then all of the beneficial qualities of the oils are lost.
The next day, the contents of the cauldron are heated, while mixing Bay Laurel Oil is first filtered and then added.
The whole preparation is then rinsed several times with salted water, this is to remove any traces of caustic. The water is then removed from the cauldron and recycled. These steps are a part of the saponification process: the natural chemical effect between oils and sodium hydroxide that transform the oil as a soap molecule.
The soap paste obtained is then spread in a basin and smoothened out on the surface. Once it has solidified, it is manually cut into blocks of soap on
Each soap is then hand-stamped with Najel’s brand logo on
The soaps are gradually assembled on pallets and separated by percentage of bay oils, they are then put in airy cellars to ensure they are kept out of the sun. Once that is completed, the drying process starts, which lasts for a period of 9 months. During this period, the soaps oxidise and develop a yellow/brown colour on the surface but keep the olive-green colour inside as seen on phase 8.
The drying stage is essential for the quality of the soaps, as this allows the water to evaporate and solidify the soap, guaranteeing a longer period of use.
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