seasoning a new iron pan ???

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by scribble, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. scribble

    scribble

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    I was going to follow the procedure from volrath for seasoning my new buyer pan. the pan doesnt feel smooth like I thought it would it is more sticky like before I washed it and I must not have a good original coating of oil as it is very spotty.
     
  2. raibeaux

    raibeaux

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    Just got back from putting fire on the pit, and ran across this.  Not sure if it's too late or not, but this will give you the information you want.  There's no difference in cast iron and carbon steel as far as the seasoning process goes.

    The Vollrath video is sort of how I'm doing a carbon steel right now.  The trick is to wipe all the flax seed oil off you can.  Use several paper towels until one comes out dry. You're not looking for an oil buildup, you're looking for polymerization.   I don't have a gas burner, so I'm using the convection oven.  I preheat to 475 with the pan inside.  After the pan has been in there for about twenty minutes, I take it out and oil it.  Then paper towel it til it's dry.  The first six times or so I also did the exterior.  It's getting there.  I leave the oven on for three hours, and let it cool down overnight with the pan inside.

    Here is the site that will tell you what you want to know:

    http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/

    Sounds like you didn't get it dry enough.  Don't know how that would shake out.

    Sometime during the ten or fifteen "curings" you will most likely discover just how hot a 475 degree carbon steel pan feels to the skin.

    Also, type in "seasoning carbon steel wok" on youtube and look for a Chinese guy next to a wok burner.  He's a cool dude.  Not his first rodeo.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  3. scribble

    scribble

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    So I think i am reading you right.  You take the pan out from the 475 while still on then add oil and towel immedietly?  Is the oil not just burning the 2nd you touch the pan with it?

    Ok I suppose I am probably just being impatient in my seasoning and should know that it takes time.  I am just to restricted on time it hurts my productivity. 

    I did steel wool the entire cooking surface last night to start over.  I cleaned the pan again and the did the procedure from de buyer as that is the mfg of the pan I am using.  It looks more evenly when I did the 1st seasoning again but with there process. I think it still feels a little tacky but this is my first time seasoning a pan, I have always had teflon coated pans in the past.  I am learning everyday I come to this site and read. I just need to have more time in my days as I know everyone could use also.
     
     
  4. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    I recall your initial saga with seasoning this pan... or at least I thought it was you but I can't seem to find the original thread where I thought this was being discussed.

    I think you are just in need of a little more patience.  Seasoning takes time... it is rarely a one-shot deal.  You actually were on the right path before the steel wool, but no problems... you are just starting at the beginning again.

    I don't like the "heat then oil" method -- too dangerous.  You can get the same effect from "oil then heat". 

    Wipe your pan with a little more oil and rub until it appears to disappear.  Then put it in the oven at 350 or so for an hour... upside down.  Then turn oven off and let it cool in place.

    Then start cooking.  At first you will need more oil than you will later on.  The real seasoning happens from usage as much as this initial seasoning treatments.  At home where pan gets used less than in commercial kitchen this just takes time.  Be patient.  Keep moviing forward and don't go backward again.  You'll get there and they you'll really love the pan.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  5. raibeaux

    raibeaux

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    From the article:

    "The reason for the very hot oven is to be sure the temperature is above the oil’s smoke point, and to maximally accelerate the release of free radicals. Unrefined flaxseed oil actually has the lowest smoke point of any oil (see this table). But the higher the temperature the more it will smoke, and that’s good for seasoning (though bad for eating – do not let oils smoke during cooking)."
    Unrefined canola oil225°F107°C
    Unrefined flaxseed oil225°F107°C
    Unrefined safflower oil225°F107°C
    Unrefined sunflower oil225°F107°C
    Unrefined corn oil320°F160°C
    Unrefined high-oleic sunflower oil320°F160°C
    Extra virgin olive oil320°F160°C
    Unrefined peanut oil320°F160°C
    Semirefined safflower oil320°F160°C
    Unrefined soy oil320°F160°C
    Unrefined walnut oil320°F160°C
    Hemp seed oil330°F165°C
    Butter350°F177°C
    Semirefined canola oil350°F177°C
    Coconut oil350°F177°C
    Unrefined sesame oil350°F177°C
    Semirefined soy oil350°F177°C
    Vegetable shortening360°F182°C
    Lard370°F182°C
    Macadamia nut oil390°F199°C
    Refined canola oil400°F204°C
    Semirefined walnut oil400°F204°C
    High quality (low acidity) extra virgin olive oil405°F207°C
    Sesame oil410°F210°C
    Cottonseed oil420°F216°C
    Grapeseed oil420°F216°C
    Virgin olive oil420°F216°C
    Almond oil420°F216°C
    Hazelnut oil430°F221°C
    Peanut oil440°F227°C
    Sunflower oil440°F227°C
    Refined corn oil450°F232°C
    Palm oil450°F232°C
    Palm kernel oil450°F232°C
    Refined high-oleic sunflower oil450°F232°C
    Refined peanut oil450°F232°C
    Refined Safflower oil450°F232°C
    Semirefined sesame oil450°F232°C
    Refined soy oil450°F232°C
    Semirefined sunflower oil450°F232°C
    Olive pomace oil460°F238°C
    Extra light olive oit468°F242°C
    Soybean oil495°F257°C
    Safflower oil510°F266°C
    Avocado oil520°F
    271°C

    You don't really get any smoke at high temperatures because there's so little oil on the pan.  Just talking about smoke points. 

    Right now I'm working on three new carbon steel pans and six new Lodge cast irons.  So far, so good, though I wish I could have found some "non-pre-seasoned" Lodges.  Time is relevant.  I'm just taking my time and doing a seasoning session when the mood hits me.  I will probably start cooking after about fifteen go-'rounds.  Probably not necessary, and I am glad that the electric meter doesn't differentiate between appliances.  If I knew how much this was costing in juice I may not be so anal about it.

    Good luck with your project.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  6. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    ... not to disrupt the thread, but since you mention pre-seasoned cast iron may I ask your opinion of that?  I have not had much luck with it and find that it needs just as much traditional seasoning effort as an old un-seasoned pan.  I think (personal opinion only) the pre-seasoning is more for rust prevention during storage/shipping, and "shelf appeal", as anything else.  I'm more inclined to buy old pans from yard sales and refurbush them than buy the same or similar in a new pre-seasoned condition.  What is your experience?
     
  7. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    My experience with pre-seasoned cast iron is about the same as yours.  However, I don't think I'm quite as critical or disappointed as you are, and don't regard the seasoning process whether from "new" or "pre-seasoned" as being as much of a bother.  But those differences are are marginal. 

    BDL
     
  8. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    errr... ummm... it's not about disappointment or bother... I never said that.  We agree that seasioning isn't much of a bother.  Many people seem to make it much mroe complex than it really is.  I should have added "given the choice" to the sentence expressing my preference.  It's about cost... it's cheaper to buy old cast iron than new.   And the old stuff might even be better quality -- whatever that really means in this context.  That is what I'm most critical of when buying cast iron.   I'm thrifty and sentimental... you should know that about me.  :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013
  9. raibeaux

    raibeaux

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    Before they started the pre-seasoning thing, Lodge shipped with a coating of "something" to prevent rust.  Just clean it off and start seasoning.  Just my opinion, but I wish they still offered non-pre-seasoned.

    I'm not at all clear on how well seasoning works on top of the new pre-seasoning, but I'm doing it and it seems to be going ok.  One of my skillets came in rough as a cob, though...even rougher than normal.  Will be interesting what I can make of that one

    .

    Another "trick" I came across that I use is to use a metal spatula when you cook.  Though pretty much microscopic, it does seem to knock off some high spots of the iron as you use it.  Since I'm so anal about things, when I clean a skillet, I scrape the bottom lightly with an upside down flexible spatula I use to get the grease out.  Doesn't take but a second, and seems to help.  I use a Dexter Sani-Safe 2 1/2 x 4.  Love that little thing.  I occasionally heat 1/4 inch of Crisco as if I'm going to cook, let it heat for ten or fifteen minutes as if I'm cooking, and then let it cool down to solid again.  I think that helps.

    I think the preseasoning actually makes it harder to season properly.  Maybe even impossible to get the old-fashioned teflon-like finish.  The original Griswolds and Wagners were made of a higher grade of iron or something.  Even the later Griswolds weren't of the same quality is my understanding.  I can, though, cook fried eggs over easy in my Lodges and they slide around pretty good.  No sticking unless I get the heat too high.  Even then, not much.

    There are people who actually remove the preseasoning and start from scratch.  Some of them sandblast, but that's not good from what I understand.  Some use a sander.  Most seem to use an oven cleaner that contains Lye.

    They also use this to start over with an old pan.  They put the cleaner on heavy, put the skillet into a plastic trash bag and leave it for two or three days and repeat as necessary.  Some have suggested running it through a self-clean cycle in the oven, but others say it can crack the iron.  I wouldn't do that.  But a LOT of the old heads around here say they stick it in a fireplace and let it burn off.  I won't do that, but what the heck. 

    Sometime next week I'm going to take a new pre-seasoned Lodge and submerge it in carburetor cleaner and see what that does.  Don't see why it won's work, since it will remove carbon from pistons.  I won't use it at the restaurant, gonna first see if I die using it at home, if it works.  Maybe get one of those tox-screens they do on the TV crime shows.  <[ : ^ )

    I think the Vollrath guy got it right on the seasoning, but I don't have a gas burner.  I think what I'm doing with three hours at 475 with a slow cooldown is best for me. Two hours would probably be just as good.  I also am convinced that the oil should be put on at least a warm skillet, and wiped dry.  Can't see oil much, but it's there.  Vollrath seasoned his 11 times.  I'm going for 15 in the oven.

    If this doesn't work I'm calling Escoffier via seance.  It's worked with the cast iron, we'll see with the carbon.  My wife says I'm nutz.  You can, too.  It's OK.  I understand perfectly.
     
  10. jimbo68

    jimbo68

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    My two cents:

    If you feel tackiness to the pan after coming from the oven, the coat of oil was probably too thick.  You want the oil to polymerize.  Thick coats gell instead.

    The point of preheating the pan is to get it dry.  This is not necessarily the only way, and a quick time on the stove top will do as well.  You do not need to spread the oil on a hot pan.

    Old CI IMO is way better than new Lodge or most other brands.  Old CI was machined flat prior to selling.  Lodge has been very successful in convincing the public that an unfinished casting is as smooth as a machined surface.  Non stick is non stick because it is smooth and mostly pore free.  Old is also generally cheaper as long as you stay away from the collectibles.

    If you want to remove an old finish, oven cleaner will work, or submersion in a lye tank.  My lye tank is an old 5 gallon food safe bucket from a restaurant.  They throw these away, just ask, and standard lye drain cleaner.  You can use it over and over.  A few days will remove the old finish, be it new Lodge or 10 generations of grandma's cooking.  Every so often take it out, hose it off and look at the results.  Read the instructions on the lye container.  It can be dangerous if misused.  The choice of oil for seasoning is debatable.  I use flaxseed, others swear at it or by it.  So too other oils.  Lard was used for centuries.

    Seasoning a pan takes a while, but it not time consuming.  It takes only a minute to coat the pan.  After that turn the oven off after an hour or so and let it cool.  Repeat.

    Using a well seasoned iron or carbon steel pan is a joy, a bad one is as frustrating as a bad any other pan.  It is well worth the effort,
     
  11. hpross

    hpross

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    Ive done "a little" experimenting with cast iron seasoning. 

    The bottom line if that polymerizing oils is not the best use of your time IMHO. it would never be done in a professional kitchen, if something needed to be that non stick a small sheet of silicone paper in any pan would work, or one of the many other non stick pan materials (telfon, ceramic etc.)

    I season in 2 steps, first filling with rock salt and heating to a high temperature, putting in a little oil (it will spit) and wiping the pan with a towel. Second by rinsing out the salt with oil and then letting the pan cool with a film of oil on it. 

    Before I use it next, i heat up the pan (super hot), let it cool a little - then pour in my oil, butter etc. wait till it dances and start cooking. From here i never wash - ONLY wipe out.... i then heat the pan next time i use it to such a temperature that bacteria could not survive and perhaps wipe it out with a little more oil. 

    Water is the enemy of a well seasoned pan - as it removes oil (what is preventing the pan from rusting) and allows water to seep inbetween layers of seasoning that will build up over time, creating steam when heated and giving you lovely little black bits in your food/img/vbsmilies/smilies/mad.gif. 

    Bear in mind that it will take about a month or two of everyday cooking (burning food can help) to develop a rich black color... if your pans are more for show, then perhaps the flax seed oil route is more you thing. they sure look pretty after. 

    HP
     
  12. scribble

    scribble

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    I did the slow method of coating and then baking for an hour, I did this 6 times then decide to try it out.  I add some oil to the pan but probably not enough as my egg beaters stuck badly and caked on the pan.  I decided to clean it all off and just use  one coat of oil then did some bacon in it. I then wiped it out and did a quick cleaning. The fat from the bacon burnt to a char like on the pan. I am planning on making more bacon to sacrifice it as my seasoning and I will force myself to eat it as wel.
     
     
  13. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    Yes... that is the raod to success.  Bacon is good.  Hamburgers is good too... 80/20 or even better is 70/30.  Hey... the ideal would be a couple of weeks worth of bacon burgers for dinner!  Keep up the good work!
     
  14. scribble

    scribble

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    Thanks for the words of encuragment. I will continue on.  I am wanting to get this pan working so I can prove to my wife I didn't just waste money for the hell of it.
     
  15. hpross

    hpross

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    nice one man! burning is a good thing. burning means carbonization (blackening), the next step is polymerization (hardened oils) of the remaining fats. fat+burning is your friend. dont forget to clean it properly and keep that bacon sizzling! 
     
  16. scribble

    scribble

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    So how should I exactly clean this pan.  Some say water, some say just wipe out and reapply oil?
     
  17. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    ... and others say just wipe it out (without adding oil).

    I use hot water and a non-abrasive scubbing brush on mine.  If gooey stuff that just won't come off I've used dishwashing detergent and haven't noticed all that much of a seasoning loss... but I'm very much a minority opinion in that technique.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
  18. chicagoterry

    chicagoterry

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    Roasting a chicken in my latest cast iron skillet acquisition did the trick as far as rendering it fairly non-stick is concerned. The chicken itself stuck like crazy at first but once it was finished, the pan was properly seasoned--finally--after a week of baking on thin layers of oil.

    I do use a small squirt of detergent when cleaning up and haven't noticed it harming the seasoning, either, but like Michael in the post above, I am probably a minority opinion on this point.
     
  19. hpross

    hpross

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    You can clean it a variety of ways.

    The important thing not to do is scrape the pan - removing the seasoned "layer". you can use water, especially if you really burn something on there, but do not to scrub to hard and do not allow the pan to soak. im not a fan of soaping, as "seasoning" is oil based and most dishwasher fluid is lipophilic (can be absorbed by fat). HEAT kills bacteria - not dawn.

    In the kitchen, i give them a quick rinse with water and get rid of the big bits. then I grab a bunch of paper towel and wipe it out. this is easier to do when the pan is still hot/warm. for stubborn spots ill take a little oil and salt and rub it with some more paper towel. The I put a little bit more oil in if necessary. 

    The most important part of seasoning this way is to heat the pan up hot before use, then put your oil in and move it around the pan.. It will kill bacteria as well as get the pan ready for cooking. this is how it was done back in the day. Oil to prevent rusting, Polymerization for non stick. Heat to keep clean and kill bacteria. 
     
  20. deputy

    deputy

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    Slight deviation from the point of the thread, but related...

    What's the point? Why go to ALL of this trouble? If it's for the non-stick nature, a good, safe (PFOA free) non-stick pan can be had for about $8 at any discount home store. If it's for the heat retention, well, how many times do you need that type of heat retention? What can't you do with a (much easier to maintain) high quality, heavy stainless steel pan? Is it about the cost?

    That's the only thing that I can think of is cost...you can buy a nice CI pan for $2 at yard sale and then you put 20 hours of time into seasoning it so that it's non-stick or buy one for $30 and still put the same time in. 

    I'm not judging - I'm asking legitimately. It appears to the uninitiated and uneducated (me) that it's an awful lot of trouble with very little gain. Someone please enlighten me.