Aleppo soap is made with olive oil and bay leaf oil.
Before 1950, all the inhabitants of Syria made their soap with these two ingredients. The oils were first pressed because at that time there were no factories capable of pressing the waste and pits of the olives (pomace).
Syria was under French mandate from 1920 to 1946. Engineers developed a process to extract more oil from the olives by pressing the pomace (residue of the first pressing) with a solvent.
Since then, the quantities of Aleppo soap produced have exploded because the oil is cheap. Today, many Aleppo soaps are made with this solvent extracted olive oil.
During the reports, we are never shown the method of extraction. Why is that?
The only ones who tell us the method of extraction are those who sell Aleppo soaps with oil extracted by pressure. Why not the others?
Here are the real questions to ask without relying solely on the word of the seller.
- Quality of oils: 100% olive oil? (possible blending with palm oil)
- Method of extraction: Pressure or solvent?
- Number of pressings: 1st, 2nd or last pressing?
- Real % of oils used.
The stamp on Aleppo soaps does not give a guarantee of quality, it is simply the name of the soap maker, as in our country where each soap has a name or a brand.
The terms used, such as "Genuine Aleppo soap" "The only soap of Aleppo" "The real Aleppo soap" have no meaning.
The oil extracted from the pomace is dark green, which gives the usual colour of Aleppo soap. The brown exterior colour of the soaps is due to oxidation.
Aleppo soaps with the oil of first pressure have a light green colour, there is very little oxidation.
The method of extraction, pressure or solvent, can be applied to any vegetable oil.