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seasoning a new iron pan ??? - Page 2

post #31 of 46

You may need to lower the heat.  Get it hot on medium, and give it time to equalize a little--touch the sides they should be hot.  Then turn it up to med-high before you put in the steak, etc.  Give it time to heat up to cooking temp, probably another two minutes or so.  Don't move the steak for two or three minutes.  At all.  Then flip.

Acids will screw it up.  Use your tri-ply for that.

post #32 of 46

Cast iron and carbon steel have their care quirks but also have performance characteristics not available in other cookware. All have their time and place. 

 

Cast iron can be heated to brutal temps that will destroy non-stick pans, warp aluminum or clad pans. So you can lay on a fabulous sear for a steak, blacken fish and so on. And it is still very much non-stick.  On the other hand, cast iron is a pretty poor conductor of heat, which is part of why it retains heat so well. If you use it on an induction burner, you can heat the part over the induction coils to very high heat while the rest of the pan remains much cooler. Induction is very fast at transferring heat to the pan and really shows how slow cast iron conducts.

 

Carbon steel, like cast iron, can take high heat and be quite non stick. It will warp however. It is also a better conductor of heat. These traits are good for the wok for example. Non-stick surfaces can't take the heat of wok, nor the stirring action with the specially shaped spatula. Carbon steel is less reactive than cast iron but doesn't hold the seasoning as well as cast iron either.

 

Both cast iron and carbon steel pans lay on a sear and generate fond like a stainless clad pan while still releasing like a non-stick pan. Nonstick pans are very poor at browning.

 

Remember, the original claim to fame of a non-stick pan was easy clean up, not it's great cooking properties. I like non-stick pans for eggs, fish, and many one-pan casseroles. I love my cast iron for cooking potatoes, meat, pan cakes, dutch babies. If I'm just frying eggs, I'm happy to use cast iron. It's more when it comes to scrambles and omelets that I reach for non-stick.  I have one 10" cast iron pan I can do omelets in, but its still a bit finicky compared to non-stick.  I have cast iron muffin pans that I pre-heat and make a great popover in. The heat stored in the muffin pan really improves them . I have two cast iron pizza pans I've come to prefer over a baking stone for breads and pizzas. They also double as a great griddle.

 

Coated cast-iron is nice to cook in too, especially for soups and stews. I find it more finicky about care and harder to clean than cast iron, but admit that comes down to personal preference.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #33 of 46
@dario There's a point you didn't considered: Taste (i know i'm getting into troubles here). A well seasoned CS pan, or wok, will transmit distinguishable nuances of taste to your food.
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #34 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by ordo View Post

@dario There's a point you didn't considered: Taste (i know i'm getting into troubles here). A well seasoned CS pan, or wok, will transmit distinguishable nuances of taste to your food.

You need to help me with this one - what sort of taste? Unless I'm not cleaning my CI pan, how is it going to transfer taste to my food? If I want seasoning, I'd prefer to add it myself rather than leaving it up to the pan. 

post #35 of 46

Not that I speak for Ordo, but I think he's getting at the idea of Wok Hei.

 

This is largely a by product of very high heat cooking, the intense searing, the ability to stir the food without sticking and such so that it doesn't burn in the case of Chinese food.

 

Wok Hei dissipates fairly quickly and is at the core of the instructions "serve immediately" in many Chinese recipes.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #36 of 46

About flavor and CI--Even if I didn't use it for anything else, I'd keep a cast iron skillet on hand solely to make cornbread. It doesn't taste as good made in any other kind of pan. You heat the pan in the oven with a liberal amount of butter, then pour the batter in and the bread gets a fabulous brown crust. It can't be duplicated with any other surface.

 

Dutch babies are also best made in CI for the same reason.

post #37 of 46

This is going to be tricky to explain, and discussable, but I experimented that the thin layer of carbon and polymerized oils in carbon steel pans and woks, and cast iron pans and pots also, impart a distinctive flavor to the food. So, you season a pan not only to get it non stick, but also for the added flavor. It has to be some kind of molecular transfer, and yes, is related to wok hei.

Same with grills. If you super clean a grill you will be giving up flavor. Instead, if you let a layer of carbon grow there the result is totally different.  

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #38 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by ordo View Post

This is going to be tricky to explain, and discussable, but I experimented that the thin layer of carbon and polymerized oils in carbon steel pans and woks, and cast iron pans and pots also, impart a distinctive flavor to the food. So, you season a pan not only to get it non stick, but also for the added flavor. It has to be some kind of molecular transfer, and yes, is related to wok hei.

Same with grills. If you super clean a grill you will be giving up flavor. Instead, if you let a layer of carbon grow there the result is totally different.  

 

Understand - I get the point of wok cooking. I grew up eating szechuan food and have appreciation for good food that comes from a properly used wok. Little is better, imo. 

post #39 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by ordo View Post

This is going to be tricky to explain, and discussable, but I experimented that the thin layer of carbon and polymerized oils in carbon steel pans and woks, and cast iron pans and pots also, impart a distinctive flavor to the food. So, you season a pan not only to get it non stick, but also for the added flavor. It has to be some kind of molecular transfer, and yes, is related to wok hei.

Same with grills. If you super clean a grill you will be giving up flavor. Instead, if you let a layer of carbon grow there the result is totally different.  

I 'll take your word for it. I haven't noticed this, but will try. I'm doing an informal experiment cooking steaks. I change up the pans and see what the finance has to say about them. Could be that I'm cooking differently with different pans, not exactly scientific. I don't expect there will be much difference. I do like finishing my steak in the oven sometimes, and for some reason the CI seems do this better, but I can't say why. SS and copper both go in the oven just as well. 

 

btw, so far she seems to like the sear best from the copper. I suspect that's because I can't quickly add some sear where it needs it toward the end of cooking. Likely need my CI hotter to start with. 

 

There's no question the CI cooks well. I just don't want the maintenance hassle and limited use of the pans.

post #40 of 46

You should try a raw cast iron grill pan. It will take some time to season it (with the steak fat), but it's unbeatable in terms of flavor. Unless you have access to a wood grill, of course.

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #41 of 46
It's been a month since your post. Wondering how your seasoning of the preseasonef Lodge had come along?
post #42 of 46
I've used a CI frying pan since 1972. It browns more evenly, seals meats well. I bake no knead bread in it,and use it to mash, squash and flatten things. I have an instant hot water faucet that lets loose 190 degree water. It softens anything stuck to it and is as easy as bacon grease and an oven to season. I will leave it to my nephew who is a promising cook. Did I forget I braise in it I adore no stick skillets and the new ceramic ones are a joy, but I'll never give up old CI. Last take on it. At my age it is good exercise to lift it for strength training.
post #43 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by dario View Post

 

Thank you. I've reached the same conclusion. I had another post a couple of weeks back about seasoning my CI. I got several excellent replies. And I've read a ton about seasoning. If I distill all that down, here is what I come away with:

 

1. CI needs special care. You don't want to get it wet too often, or use soap, or scrub the crap out of it. This is all fine, but this requires more time and a different routine. When I have 6 pots to scrub clean, I'd prefer to just quickly move through them. 

 

2. You have to be careful what you put in it. Ummm, I have kids who are going use these pans. If one time cooking tomato sauce can ruin hours of my effort seasoning, I just can't sustain it. 

 

3. Some people feel it takes time to season a pan well. I think one reply I get mentioned "years" of time. Why would I want to wait years for a pan to be completely usable?

 

I think CI cooks great. I don't agree that it doesn't have hot spots - it seems to have some. It seems like my tri-ply SS pan browns a steak more evenly. So does my copper pan with SS lining. CI obviously has better heat retention. But so does enameled CI when I want a pan/pot that retains heat. 

 

I see a lot of cons. The one pro is that it's cheap, which I do like. For me, less finicky cookware is a better way to go. 

 

 

Dario,

I think you're drawing the wrong conclusions. The number of words written about CI is not correlated to the amount of trouble to maintain. I have an old Lodge that my mother and grandmother used, so it's probably older than I am (50s). I use it for frying meat, potatoes and making cornbread mostly but also for other stuff. It's quite versatile. True, you don't want to boil tomatoes in it but adding a few tomatoes to a recipe isn't going to hurt it. As for cleaning, hot water rinse and wipe it out is usually all that's necessary. Dry with a towel and hang it up. If there is cooked on stuff you just heat the pan up and put a little water in and let it boil a minute and it will wipe out clean. You can use a few drops of dishwashing liquid without hurting it. The polymerized finished is more durable that the impression you've gotten. 

 

I have 3 DeBuyer carbon steel pans and the same ease of handling and performance applies. I did a few simple oil and heat seasoning steps and started cooking bacon and burgers and soon thereafter frying eggs on that beautiful non-stick surface. Anything I put in those pans will crust nicely and then slide around with a shake. You're just not going to get the same searing and crusting with a teflon pan, and I doubt you'll get the evenness of heating. You'll ruin teflon if you heat it up to the highest temps used to sear meat. I also have a stainless try-ply sauté and it has it's uses but is not equivalent. I have a calphalon non-stick and I never use it anymore.

 

There is something wonderful that exists beyond what you can deduce. Just take people at their word-- it's more pleasurable to cook with, will perform better, last longer, cost less, and doesn't flake off into your food. Did I mention cornbread? It's true. I've had southern country folk rave about the cornbread made in that skillet. If you try one you won't go back.

post #44 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by salparadise View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by dario View Post

 

Thank you. I've reached the same conclusion. I had another post a couple of weeks back about seasoning my CI. I got several excellent replies. And I've read a ton about seasoning. If I distill all that down, here is what I come away with:

 

1. CI needs special care. You don't want to get it wet too often, or use soap, or scrub the crap out of it. This is all fine, but this requires more time and a different routine. When I have 6 pots to scrub clean, I'd prefer to just quickly move through them. 

 

2. You have to be careful what you put in it. Ummm, I have kids who are going use these pans. If one time cooking tomato sauce can ruin hours of my effort seasoning, I just can't sustain it. 

 

3. Some people feel it takes time to season a pan well. I think one reply I get mentioned "years" of time. Why would I want to wait years for a pan to be completely usable?

 

I think CI cooks great. I don't agree that it doesn't have hot spots - it seems to have some. It seems like my tri-ply SS pan browns a steak more evenly. So does my copper pan with SS lining. CI obviously has better heat retention. But so does enameled CI when I want a pan/pot that retains heat. 

 

I see a lot of cons. The one pro is that it's cheap, which I do like. For me, less finicky cookware is a better way to go. 

 

 

You'll ruin teflon if you heat it up to the highest temps used to sear meat. ... and doesn't flake off into your food.

Yeah. A quick wipe with a paper towel when it's warmish, or let cool and put hot water, pot scraper /brush with no soap, and wipe again with a towel or put on the heat to evaporate any water. It's not really that hard.

 

Also, I read somewhere that if you heat teflon to over 400 degrees it starts to break down and you end up eating it.

 

At the same time, I read a study where they made beans in a cast iron and stainless steel pans. Same method and recipe, and the CI had a higher Iron content. High Iron = good for you.

post #45 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake is a View Post

Yeah. A quick wipe with a paper towel when it's warmish, or let cool and put hot water, pot scraper /brush with no soap, and wipe again with a towel or put on the heat to evaporate any water. It's not really that hard.

 

Also, I read somewhere that if you heat teflon to over 400 degrees it starts to break down and you end up eating it.

 

At the same time, I read a study where they made beans in a cast iron and stainless steel pans. Same method and recipe, and the CI had a higher Iron content. High Iron = good for you.

Replying to Jake and Sal. 

 

Not sure why you guys are comparing CI to nonstick. I could generally care less about non-stick. I have one Calphalon NS pan I use for eggs. For me it's about CI vs. aluminum, SS, or carbon steel. I have owned CI before - my experience is that it it's not that easy to maintain. This may be redundant, but two experiences I had in the last year: 

 

First example: Had a pan that didn't want to keep seasoning in it. Went through a fairly long seasoning process with flaxseed oil. Looked great when I was done. Somebody cooked a steak in it and left the grease sitting in the pan for a day. When I went to clean it the seasoning was gone. (EDIT: gone in the bottom where the grease had sat for day.) Second example: somebody threw a can of tomatoes in a CI dutch oven (with other ingredients). Had a perfect line where the level of the ingredients were on the pan where the seasoning was gone. That's too finicky for me.

 

I get that you guys don't seem to have these problems. Perhaps I'm not careful enough. But if so, that's part of the point. I don't want to have to work that hard to maintain my cookware. Right now my favorite pan is an SS lined copper saucier. I hate the handle and the weight, and that there's no helper handle. But it cooks great and cleans up easily. Second favorite pan is probably an Allclad 10" fry pan for similar reasons. 

 

I recently got a de buyer carbon steel pan and so far it's cooking great. I got it too hot last night and some potatoes stuck to it badly. May have screwed up my seasoning - not sure yet. (Used salt to scrub out some of the stuck-on stuff). So far it heats fantastically evenly - seems far more even than my CI pans and is much easier to handle. 


Edited by dario - 3/21/13 at 12:40pm
post #46 of 46

Update and a question: 

 

Still have my CI pans and just used one for steak last night. Seared it well on the stove and finished in a 450 degree oven. Came out great. Did the same thing in my copper saucier. It came out equally well. It's possible the sear from the CI was better, but too close to call. If all I'm going to use CI for us grilling steak, it's still not worth keeping for me. 70% of time use an outdoor grill anyway. 

 

Still liking my CS pan a lot, but I don't really see it keeping much seasoning in the bottom. I watched a video recently of a chef showing how to make an omelet with a CS pan (sorry - don't have the link handy). He commented that one of the reasons it worked so well is that his pan has 20 years of seasoning. However, the pan looked like CS on the bottom and had some darkening on the sides. How can CS be seasons (covered with polymerized oil) and still be the color (roughly) of a new CS pan. It looked to me like all the polymer was cleaned off the bottom and still adhering to the sides. Can 20 years worth of polymerized oil be clear? 

 

Not trying to start a pan seasoning war, just trying to understand how a pan can have 20 years of seasoning and still look like raw CS. Either I'm missing something, or people are not getting the seasoning they think they are. 

And in that video I attribute the ease with which his omelet slid out of the pan to the 2 Tbs of clarified butter in the bottom of the pan and the 1 Tbs of butter he put in the egg. With that much butter I could cook a an omelet on a rock and not have it stick. 


Edited by dario - 4/10/13 at 4:06pm
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