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Cleaning cast iron pan

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Cooked up a beautiful steak for dinner.  I usually clean with soap and water and then dry in the oven, and season pan again.  This time I'd like to try just wiping it down instead of using soap and water.  I have questions.

 

1. will the beef steak flavor no permeate whatever food I cook next?

2. I've used paper towels which have left residue.  How do I get rid of the residue and what do I use to wipe it down so that no residue remains?

3. Am I doing this right?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #2 of 15

Dish soap dissolves grease, not the pure carbon which is a cast iron pan's real seasoning.  A little soap won't hurt anything as long as you don't scour with anything abrasive.  Restrict yourself to the sort of thing you'd use with your good china -- a rag, sponge or soft nylon brush. 

 

After washing, dry the pan, put it over a slow burner to dry completely; just when it's dry, before it gets really hot, rub some oil into the inside using a paper towel; turn off the heat and allow the pan to cool down.  That will not only prevent rusting, but when you preheat the pan for its next use will continue the seasoning process AND start you off with a greased surface for your next use. 

 

Oiling was a part of maintaining all ferrous tools.  You may see it as unusual because you're so young, but trust me.

 

BDL

post #3 of 15

Hi Koukouvagia,

I love cooking with cast iron. There's nothing like using a well seasoned pan.

My technique: I never wash the pan with soap and water.

Usually, just wipe clean with a paper towel is enough.  High protein foods like steak will leave a residue that cannot be wiped off though.  Get yourself a non-metallic brush (I get mine at an Asian supply store for cleaning woks).  When food sticks to the pan, add water, heat on burner until the water boils and brush the bottom.  Everything will lift away.  Pour out the water and wipe dry with paper towel and you will not lose any of the pan seasoning and a thin sheen of oil will remain to protect it until you use it again.

This has been working for me for years.

 

Luc H.

I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #4 of 15

There are all sorts of approaches to cast iron maintenance, KK. Despite BDL's comments, soap is rarely one of them. Among other things, it's unnecssary. But hot water is.

 

What I do with my in-house cast iron is first wipe it down, to remove any of the left-behinds, heavy grease, and so forth. Then I put it under running hot water and, if necessary, rub it gently with a scrub brush that is dedicated to that job. Immediately dry and re-oil the pan.

 

Many people dry over a low fire. But if you've cleaned it with straight hot water that shouldn't be necessary. Wipe off the worst of the water and the residual heat in the iron will evaporate the rest fairly quickly. If the pan is well-cured, there will be no rusting.

 

For my outside iron it's a similar method. I have water boiling over the fire. Prewipe the iron, then ladle boiling water into it, again using a brush as necessary. Wipe, let dry, regrease.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

I tried but it's not in me to not use soap.  So I used a plastic yellow chore boy brush and scrubbed it with soap and hot water, the beef grease came right off in seconds!  Rinsed it, and placed it in a hot oven until the water evaporated.  Then brushed it with a little oil.  It was easy enough, thanks!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #6 of 15

My pan sauce made in a cast-iron piece always come out looking like crap. Am I not cleaning it properly or is this the nature of cast-iron?

post #7 of 15

It takes a  lot of heat to get cast iron hot and hold heat so maybe to hot for the sauce. Dark colored pans will in most cases make sauce darker the same as a dark pan makes cake and cookies darker. I would not attempt  to make any sauce excluding a steak type reduction in cast iron.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #8 of 15


Originally Posted by pcieluck View Post

 

My pan sauce made in a cast-iron piece always come out looking like crap. Am I not cleaning it properly or is this the nature of cast-iron?


Details?

 

BDL

post #9 of 15

Hard to explain. The pan sauce just sort of ends up... dirty looking... No matter how well i've wiped the piece out

post #10 of 15

I wonder how cast iron would fare in the self cleaning cycle of an oven?

 

mjb.

 

 

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #11 of 15

I know I'm off the reservation with this, but I'll tell you all anyway. I scrub the bageebies out of my cast skillets every time I use them, pretty much. I use dish soap and those green scrubber-sponge things. I always rinse with screaming hot water so everything dries very fast. When I pull it out to use again, I wipe it with just a touch of oil and heat it up ready to go. I've never seen any loss in the quality/reasons of why we use cast skillets/pans. I don't remember any time I've used anything cast for making pan sauce. I go with stainless for that. I can't think of anything I make in cast that produces the fond I'm looking for in a pan sauce.  

post #12 of 15

I wonder how cast iron would fare in the self cleaning cycle of an oven?

 

It'll do a fair job of removing any build-up, Teamfat---including the cure. So unless you're looking to re-cure the piece, I'd advise against it.

 

There's danger, too, that the concentrated heat in an empty pan can cause it to warp. If you need to strip the item down to bare metal you're better off using either a lye or sulfuric acid solution. I don't know the concentration for lye, but with acid use one quart diluted in five gallones of water. Do not let the iron stay submerged in it for more than three days. Rinse it well (you might even want to flush it with a bicarb solution first), then start to recure it.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #13 of 15

I've personally never considered actually subjecting cast iron to the heat of a self cleaning oven, it was just a random thought.

 

A while back my wife did me a "favor" and scrubbed out one of my skillets with lots of soapy water.  Not really a big deal, it is easy to season again, but she lets me deal with the cast iron now.

 

Actually I'm thinking of buying a nice stainless steel pan to replace a worn out, badly scratched non-stick pan, or maybe go with carbon steel.  Decisions, decisions.

 

mjb.

 

 

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #14 of 15

I was taught to clean my cast iron pan with kosher salt and a little hot water, and a gentle scrubber sponge with no soap. Then I dry it on a low burner and add a thin film of veggie oil, wiped with a paper towel. The salt helps as an abrasive. Seems like it stays seasoned pretty well. 

post #15 of 15

White vinegar will dissolve rust from cast, submerge it and leave it until the rust is gone

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post
 

I wonder how cast iron would fare in the self cleaning cycle of an oven?

 

It'll do a fair job of removing any build-up, Teamfat---including the cure. So unless you're looking to re-cure the piece, I'd advise against it.

 

There's danger, too, that the concentrated heat in an empty pan can cause it to warp. If you need to strip the item down to bare metal you're better off using either a lye or sulfuric acid solution. I don't know the concentration for lye, but with acid use one quart diluted in five gallones of water. Do not let the iron stay submerged in it for more than three days. Rinse it well (you might even want to flush it with a bicarb solution first), then start to recure it.

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