Author Topic: Seasoning cast iron pan  (Read 12186 times)

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Offline PlainName

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Re: Seasoning cast iron pan
« Reply #25 on: December 03, 2022, 09:15:02 pm »
Every time I buy a fancy "non-stick" pan, teflon or ceramic, even using silicone utensils in it, the eggs will stick badly in less than a year.

I understand that might be down to the oil used, or the method of using it. Our main non-stick ceramic  started getting sticky after a bit, and once I realised it was probably a coating of burned oil, I gave it a jolly good scrub and it's been much better since. In fact, I'd already bought the replcement but that's now hiding since this one has a new lease of life.
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Offline mwb1100

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Re: Seasoning cast iron pan
« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2022, 10:20:46 pm »
I've been using nothing but cast iron for frying and fair bit of baking the past 6 years or so. I have a set of about a dozen pans ranging in size from #3 to #10 with a dutch oven in the mix.  The age of the pieces range from nearly 100 years (a Wapak) to a Lodge bought from the factory website within the past few years (a buffalo nickel design pan).

Here are the things I've found, YMMV:

  • canola is great for seasoning.  Chances are pretty good you already have it.  If you don't, it's cheap, easy to find, and works well as a general purpose cooking oil.  There's no need to get an expensive boutique oil for seasoning.
  • splotchy seasoning is fine unless the looks bother you (which is a completely legit concern)
  • smooth vs "textured" surface doesn't matter much.  By "textured" I mean of the modern Lodge variety - I'm not sure if you get a pan that is shark skin rough if that will still perform well or not.  I actually prefer the performance of the Lodge textured pans over my smooth pans, but only by a very small amount.  I use both regularly.
  • for cleaning, I find that hot tap water and a good nylon scrubber (but not the super abrasive scotchbrite) handles my cleanup more than 95% of the time:
  • wipe out the major stuff and the majority of any oil left in the pan
  • give it good rinse with hot tap water and scrub with the nylon pad

Usually that's it.  Sometimes a little elbow grease is called for.  If it gets to be too much elbow grease, I have a chain mail scrubber that takes care of things, but I only have to call on that maybe once every couple of months.

I never clean the pans until they are cool enough to handle without protection; doing otherwise seems to be asking for trouble.  I never have to boil water in them to get them cleaned (OK, maybe I've done that once or twice).  And putting them on a heated burner to dry?  Why?  Wipe them down with a towel and let air drying take care of the rest.

I've seen countless posts on r/castiron where someone was drying their pan on a burner, forgot about it and ended up scorching the seasoning off.  While that's not a huge deal (the pan can be reseasoned), there's just no reason for it.  And maybe someone (your kid?  maybe even you!) picks up the pan without realizing that it's hot and burns themselves.

Speaking of which - make sure the pot holders/oven mitts/kitchen towel you use to pick up a hot cast iron pan isn't damp!  I've learned that lesson the hard way a couple times.  My wife always puts silicone handle covers on the pan when she's cooking.  I don't like them - they feel too loosey-goosey.

My big r/castiron heresy: I've found that cooking bacon isn't a great seasoning method.  If anything, cooking bacon is actually hard on whatever seasoning is on the pan.  I also find that the best way to cook bacon in cast iron (and probably other types of pans) is "low and slow".  I put the pan at a temperature where the bacon just begins to sizzle and let it cook at that temperature until it's done.  The hardest part for me is that I have a difficult time recognizing when it's done.  I check and think it needs a little more time, check again and think it still needs a little more time, then I check and it's gone too far - way too crispy.  I'm not sure what it'll take for me to learn to take it out before it gets to that point.  One day...

As far as the foods that do the best to add/improve seasoning?  Breads. Or other baked goods (coffee cake is my #1).  Hands down.

There are only two things where I find cast iron inferior to other types of frying pans:
  • heat distribution - cast iron definitely gets hot spots.  You learn to manage (move the food around in the pan, move the pan around on the burner, and/or pre-heat the pan in the oven).
  • cast iron pans are *heavy*.  Especially when you get to larger than #8 frying pans.

In spite of those two deficiencies, I don't see myself moving back to aluminum or steel pans (non-stick or otherwise).
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Offline themadhippy

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Re: Seasoning cast iron pan
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2022, 10:45:34 pm »
I never clean the pans until they are cool enough to handle without protection
Being frugal i put cold water into the pan and use the heat in the pan to heat the water whilst scrubbing it with a nail brush,then replace the pan on the turned off heat to dry,by the time i get to making the after grub coffee the pans dry and ready for a minute drizzle of oil,the heat in the pan helps the the oil spread
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Offline Marco

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Re: Seasoning cast iron pan
« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2022, 12:03:14 am »
I would not put fish in carbon steel either, but I do cook fish exclusively with cast iron.

I do, but not putting it in cold.

Hell I could put in a frozen fillet in the cold Tefal pan and start it without oil and it still wouldn't stick. The disposability and the helper chemicals for PTFE coating in the production stage are unfortunate, but that's just a small grain on the giant pile of environmental side effects of the comforts I will not give up alone (I would vote for banning widespread use of most forever chemicals, but actual voting is different than voting with my wallet).
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Offline helius

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Re: Seasoning cast iron pan
« Reply #29 on: December 20, 2022, 05:10:11 am »
Today I broke my own rule and cooked an omelette with salt and tomatoes...
So I took notes on how to repair the oil film. I used a teaspoon of avocado oil (smoke point 480°F) and spread it around using medium-low heat. According to my U5855A, emissivity set for carbon (0.95), the temperature of the pan is 360°F. At this temperature there is no visible smoke, but the odor of the oil is very "roasty" and oxidized. I used a stainless spatula with a square face (az link, although mine is slotted). One advantage, I feel, of cast iron pans is that you can use metal tools without fear of permanently destroying them, since the oil film can always be repaired. The hot pan was tooled using the oil for about 30 minutes until the surface was smooth, black, and slippery. After it cools, the excess oil can be wiped off with a rag and discarded.
This is in a 8" skillet at least 50 years old; the foundry is unknown to me.
Avocado oil has about 14% polyunsaturated fatty acids, so it is suitable for forming the film.
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