Don't be intimidated! Here on the forums we do a lot of chest puffing because if we did it at work, we'd get our butts kicked.:lol:
In my 17+ years as a PC, dealing with "old yuck" on pans is more or less a way of life. In most of the establishments I have been in, the pans are "yucked up", not always washed, and severely warped. My co-workers have been known to stash the best pans in secret hiding places so less people have a chance to screw them up.
Frequently, pastry people are always battling with the hot side (savory) over the conditions of the pans. Hot siders tend to abuse the pans a bit more, and a lot of the "yuck" factor can come from old meat grease. I knew one PC who would drill little holes in the corners of brand new sheet pans when they came in, so the savory people couldn't use them for meat (the grease would drip out the holes so they were unusable for the savory side). Sneaky! But I liked his style!
The best way to deal with "old yuck" on sheet pans is using parchment pan liners. I don't know how you have time to be spending hours scrubbing pans, unless you're staying after work and doing it on your own time. There's no way any of my employers would have stood for paying me my wage to do a dishwasher's job......!
The only chance you have of "seasoning" any pan is when you get it brand new. Brand new pans (any kind) are treated with a coating that helps them wash off easily, but unfortunately, with use, this coating wears off, and eventually, the heavy use and build up of pan sprays and food, start the cycle of "yuck". If they are well washed with every use, the "yuck" factor is delayed, but only delayed.
Dishwashers really don't have the "passion" if you know what I mean. They aren't there to polish each pan til they see their reflections. They are there to crank it out and get the heck home. Sometimes they are so overwhelmed with the neverending pile of pans and dishes, that sometimes a quick spray of hot water is all a sheet pan ever sees.
So I guess what I'm saying, Frayed, is that the challenge for you is to let the "yuck" go. Instead of battling futility (and believe me, it's futile), challenge yourself by saying "how do I deal with what is before me?" Oh sure, you can scrub pans with steel wool and oven cleaner on your own time, but you'll get tired of that, especially when most of your co-workers don't give a sh*t. You might as well bang your head against a wall. Truly.
Me, I use parchment. Lots and lots of parchment. When I get new pans, I try to set them aside and wash them myself so they'll stay nice longer. Eventually my co-workers find them and I'm screwed, but I never give up hope. When a channel pan, or a loaf pan or a muffin pan is coated with years of crud, I use paper liners, and/or lots and lots of pan spray so my stuff will come out.....because that's my job....to get the stuff out. Not to wash dishes.
Ok, regarding, the cooling thing......when a baked product has the possibility of forming a "soggy bottom", much like my own, that is easily solved by using cooling racks and screens....if your employer provides them. Anything that is well vented on the bottom will eliminate your soggy woes for sure. If all you have is sheet pans, then, well, you either have to flip your stuff over (what a pain), or just accept a little "sog".
I think one of the most frustrating things about having the "passion" (and I certainly do, even after all this time), is that you have to come to terms with the fact that in the workplace you have to accept some imperfection. If you don't, you will make yourself crazy. Just do the best you can, because you can't control the circumstances or the people around you.
I save my anal-retentive perfectionism for the stuff I do at home....where I have complete control.
This kind of stuff is the stuff no Bo Friberg textbook will ever tell you!:crazy: