Making-of-the-traditional-Aleppo-soap

The Making of Aleppo Soap

For many centuries, between late November and late March, the making of the world’s first hard soap has followed an unchanged process. Najjar is a manufacturer of authentic Aleppo Soap, made exclusively with olive oil and bay laurel oil.

Completely natural, it contains no synthetic scent or preservatives. Its skin care properties are recognized around the world. 

Aleppo Soap's protected geographical indication:

Aleppo Soap is subject to protection by geographical indication under Syrian law no. 8 section 2 of 06.03.2007. A decree including a logo and a geographical indication was published under no. 9134 on 05.10.2011Protection of the geographical indication means that the name and location of manufacture are protected. Any product named Aleppo Soap must be manufactured in Aleppo, which is divided into 4 districts. In Syria, soap-makers name their product Ghar Soap (laurel soap) if it is not made in Aleppo itself. We are fervent protectors of the traditional and ancestral know-how of the master soap makers of Aleppo.  Our Aleppo Soaps are authentic because they really are made in Aleppo according to the ancestral recipe. We call the making of Aleppo Soap a “recipe” as we consider that master soap-makers “cook” the soap. In fact, the production of soap paste can be likened to a dish cooked in a caldron. 

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SAS|NAJJAR has 2 production sites: the Najjar laboratory in France and the Al Najjar soap factory in Syria.

The family-owned soap factory is used to cook, pour and dry soap paste. These are the necessary steps for traditional hard soap making. In the soap factory, there is also a storage area to let the soap dry for a minimum of 9 months and for soap cleaning. A hand-cut Aleppo Soap is what we call a traditional hard soap. They are also called Aleppo Soap breads. These Aleppo Soaps can be transformed (by adding an ingredient) and compressed (molded) to make Aleppo Soaps scented with different perfumes for all to enjoy.

The different stages in the making of Aleppo Soap adhere to a traditional method in keeping with an ancestral recipe, which is fundamental to its quality:

Phase 1. For many centuries, between late November and late March, the making of the world’s first hard soap has followed the same, unchanged process. The saponification process begins by heating water and sodium hydroxide to a specific temperature in a large caldron. We add olive oil, keep it at a high temperature for 12 hours, and then leave it to stand. One of our main advantages is that we heat the paste by steam distillation, which allows us better control over the temperature. If the temperature gets too high, the oils lose their beneficial properties.

Phase 2. The next day, we heat the contents of the caldron, whilst mixing them and adding bay laurel oil (which has first been filtered).

Phase 3. The resulting soap paste is then rinsed with salted water several times to remove any trace of caustic substances. The sodium chloride found in Aleppo Soap originates from this stage. The water is then removed from the caldron and recycled. These stages are part of the saponification process. The oil is transformed into soap molecules by a natural chemical reaction between the oils and the sodium hydroxide.

Phase 4. Then, the soap paste is spread out in a basin and smoothed at the surface. Once solidified, it is hand cut into blocks of soap. Each soap is then hand stamped with our Najel seal.

Phase 5. The soaps are then lifted progressively onto pallets and divided by percentage of bay laurel oil before being placed in ventilated cellars, away from the sun. This marks the start of the minimum 9 month drying period. During this time, the soaps oxidize at the surface and take on a yellow/brown color whilst retaining an olive green color on the inside.

Phase 6. Once the drying period is over, the soaps are cleaned, film-wrapped, boxed and put on pallets. They are ready to be dispatched.

Aleppo Soap is an authentic natural product renowned throughout the world. It contains no added colorings, palm oils or preservatives.

Good to know: 

During the curring peariod, Aleppo Soap is losing 30% of its weight due to the evaporation of water. When cutting, each bar soap weights 300 g (10.6 oz) to decrease until its distributionat 200 g (7.05 oz).