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Best Method To Season a Carbon Steel Pan

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hi, I just ordered a carbon steel pan after using mostly Teflon pans. I did some reading but couldn't find the info I was looking for for.

I read somewhere that you should not season the pan on an electric stove and that it was preferred to use a gas one. Is this true?

Also wondering if it's possible to season it in a hot air oven? Got grill function though.
post #2 of 26

You can season it on just about any heat source. I personally am a fan of oven methods, assuming it has an oven safe handle. Scrub it with soap and hot water, dry, oil, place in the oven upside down. The upside down trick prevent any excess oil from pooling in the pan itself. If you're worried about drips, place some aluminum foil underneath to catch any drips. I like high heat, 500 for an hour. Let it cool in the oven. If your oven has an automated time bake feature, this can be handy to set before going to bed and let it cool down on its own overnight. 

 

All seasoning methods produce some smoke. If you don't have a venting system or do have a sensitive smoke detector you might have some annoyance issues. 

 

The electric concern is probably more related to oil tranferring to the burner surface and making a mess. On an electric coil, it will just burn itself off. On a glass top, it could be more problematic and lead to some residue issues. Same for induction. I like carbon steel on induction, but for a first seasoning pass, it might leave some carbonized oil residue. 

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 #3 of 26

Like many other culinary topics, there is a considerable diversity of opinion on this one. I've never heard that electric should not be used but can imagine why gas may be easier and more controllable.

 

DeBuyer specifies boiling potato skins to season carbon steel.  Most folks lightly coat with oil/grease and bake for a while. Which oil/grease is where it gets very controversial. Some swear by flaxseed and others report success using canola and corn oil, or vegetable shortening, or bear/yak grease.  Whichever is used, very thin coats.  The Wok Shoppe recommends stovetop seasoning. Most folks, it seams, seasons in the oven. I've stovetop seasoned as well as oven seasoned. Oven is easier because there is less monitoring required. Wipe the pan with oil, turn upside down and bake for a few hours at a moderate temp. And then remember... seasoned isn't necessarily "non-stick" and is something achieved over time from use, not a one-time activity.

post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post

Like many other culinary topics, there is a considerable diversity of opinion on this one. I've never heard that electric should not be used but can imagine why gas may be easier and more controllable.

DeBuyer specifies boiling potato skins to season carbon steel.  Most folks lightly coat with oil/grease and bake for a while. Which oil/grease is where it gets very controversial. Some swear by flaxseed and others report success using canola and corn oil, or vegetable shortening, or bear/yak grease.  Whichever is used, very thin coats.  The Wok Shoppe recommends stovetop seasoning. Most folks, it seams, seasons in the oven. I've stovetop seasoned as well as oven seasoned. Oven is easier because there is less monitoring required. Wipe the pan with oil, turn upside down and bake for a few hours at a moderate temp. And then remember... seasoned isn't necessarily "non-stick" and is something achieved over time from use, not a one-time activity.

That's the one! DeBuyer. Got one of those. biggrin.gif

As for previous reply, Ive also read you should not use soap. All this is very confusing :P
post #5 of 26

How to clean a seasoned pan, cast Iron or carbon steel, is another one of those controversial topics.  Some say no detergent or scrub brushes. Others (me included) use both with no ill effects.

 

It can be very confusing... because there really aren't many true secrets that must be followed like they are gospel. If, perchance, some seasoning is removed because of a bad practice it replaces itself with future usage. My carbon steel wok keeps getting scratched by the metal spatula I use... but the seasoning keeps coming back with normal usage.

post #6 of 26
For the first cleaning, removing protectants (beeswax on debuyer, form release grease and so on), soap is helpful. I occasionally use detergent on some other cleanings too. The biggest risk is really scents from these things can cling and linger and cause flavor problems.
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 #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Totte View Post


That's the one! DeBuyer. Got one of those. biggrin.gif

As for previous reply, Ive also read you should not use soap. All this is very confusing :P

I tried the potato peel process recommended by deBuyer, and found it caused the steel to mellow in color but never noticed any "seasoning" as one normally thinks of it. Maybe it helped remove the manufacturing oils; IDK. After cooking in it a while it looks just like the deBuyer that I seasoned in the oven using more traditional techniques.

post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post

For the first cleaning, removing protectants (beeswax on debuyer, form release grease and so on), soap is helpful. I occasionally use detergent on some other cleanings too. The biggest risk is really scents from these things can cling and linger and cause flavor problems.

One night, recently, I made onion jam seasoned with Benedictine in a carbon steel pan. Washed as normal but did not scrub. The next morning made scrambled eggs. Family commented on how nicely seasoned they were but couldn't figure out what "chefy trick" I used. :lol:

post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post

For the first cleaning, removing protectants (beeswax on debuyer, form release grease and so on), soap is helpful. I occasionally use detergent on some other cleanings too. The biggest risk is really scents from these things can cling and linger and cause flavor problems.

Flavor problems sounds scarry! 😨

Thanks for all the info Brian! Much helpful.
post #10 of 26

The only time to use soap on CS is when it's brand new, to remove all of the industrial chemicals and preservatives following its manufacture.  From then on I use either a plastic scrubber or, if crud is present, a stainless scrubber.  It's all followed-up with heating with salt.  Then once heated I add about 3 drops of peanut oil and scrub  using a paper towel.  Rinse, dry, slightly heat and wipe with a drop or two of peanut oil.  This is how I season all of my CS, my deBuyer fry pans and my CS wok from China.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 

Okay, so I got my pan and this is my progress so far. (On the second time now.)

I'm rubbing it with Fluxseed oil and head it on the stove until smoking point. Then I remove/rub out all the extra oil and rub my pan all over with a very thin layer, top, bottom and handle. Then into the oven for 2h, then I turn the oven off and let it cool in the oven. As you can see on the last picture, I got some spots on the pan, does anyone know why? Should I just keep seasoning it or start over somehow?

 

 

post #12 of 26

Way too much oil

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post
 

Way too much oil


Agreed.  The amount of oil should be more like a thin film.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kokopuffs View Post
 


Agreed.  The amount of oil should be more like a thin film.


If you're referring to the second picture, I wiped it after the picture was taken. The first picture I realized was a bit too much, that I just heated until smoke point, then poured it out and wiped it thin.

 

Still too much?

post #15 of 26

I would put a few drops of oil on a paper towel and wipe it with that.  That is all the oil you need. It's a very thin layer.

 

 

I hope you used raw flaxseed/linseed oil.   The boiled stuff is not food safe.

post #16 of 26
If you wiped it out so that no oil dropped onto the floor of your oven, you are fine. In fact, no matter... It will work out okay. Seasoning sometimes starts out a bit blotchy and imperfect. Now start cooking. I always recommend burgers and bacon or fried potatoes. Cook, eat, wipe the pan out; repeat... Before you know it you'll have a nice even black seasoning. Just don't get impatient and do something rash like start all over again!
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post
 

I would put a few drops of oil on a paper towel and wipe it with that.  That is all the oil you need. It's a very thin layer.

 

 

I hope you used raw flaxseed/linseed oil.   The boiled stuff is not food safe.

Yeah, raw ecological is what the bottle says at least. ^^

 

Few drops on a paper town is what I this for the second time.

post #18 of 26

What you have on there now is a lot of work to remove.  Just start cooking.  Any extra will burn off over time.

post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post

If you wiped it out so that no oil dropped onto the floor of your oven, you are fine. In fact, no matter... It will work out okay. Seasoning sometimes starts out a bit blotchy and imperfect. Now start cooking. I always recommend burgers and bacon or fried potatoes. Cook, eat, wipe the pan out; repeat... Before you know it you'll have a nice even black seasoning. Just don't get impatient and do something rash like start all over again!

Alrighty! I was about to loose some weight for the summer! Too bad bacon is too tasty for that! :P

Anways, thank you so much for being so helpful all of you guys! :D

Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post
 

What you have on there now is a lot of work to remove.  Just start cooking.  Any extra will burn off over time.

Okay, will give it a go later on. ^^

post #20 of 26
My final suggestion (since I watch my weight also): FEED OTHER PEOPLE!
post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post

My final suggestion (since I watch my weight also): FEED OTHER PEOPLE!

Hahaha! :D Time to find some friends then, I like my SO's shapes.

post #22 of 26

Intermittently I use a SS scrubber to clean my CS.  Then after it dries and cools down, I pour salt into the bottom of the pan, enough to cover it; then heat.  Once hot I add a few drops (A FEW DROPS) of oil and scrub vigorously with a paper towel.  Then rinse and wipe clean.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #23 of 26

what I've learned is that the first coat of seasoning alone is not that effective.  So after cooking with my carbon steel skillet, I clean it with water+salt and then apply a thin coat of oil and bring the pan up to heat until the oil starts smoking.  Then I put the pan in the oven (turned off) to let it cool so the smoke doesn't fill the house.  This method seems to consistently add layers that makes the pan almost completely non-stick, without having to legitimately seasoning with oven. 

 

you need high heat to do get a good seasoning and if there is too much oil, (depending on the type of oil) it can get sticky which defeats the purpose of seasoning.  just my 2 cents. 

post #24 of 26

Over the past five years or so I've managed to pick up several De Buyer carbon steel pans of various sizes, mostly from their Mineral B and Carbone Plus lines.  I've tried a number of different seasoning methods, but what has worked the best for me is to do three or four initial seasonings with a very thin layer of flax seed oil (wipe on a few drops with a paper towel both inside and out then bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour, cool and repeat).  This done after being sure to COMPLETELY remove the protective factory wax or oil.  Next I cook some bacon, clean the pan with hot water only, wipe on a moderately thin layer of bacon fat inside and out, then heat the pan to smoking on a surface burner (on a Wolf gas range).  When the bacon fat starts to bead up, I wipe the layer flat again - use care, the pan will be very hot at this point.  With the heat still full on, I re-wipe several times until the fat starts to polymerize (i.e., the oil starts to thicken and wiping starts to leave noticeable streaks).  I leave the heat on until the smoking starts to subside, then I turn off the heat and let the pan cool for just a minute or two, then wipe on a thin layer of virgin olive oil to the pan interior using a (thickly) folded paper towel.  You want the pan to be still hot enough so the olive oil immediately starts to smoke.  Wipe the olive oil every few seconds while it is smoking, again until it starts to polymerize.  Let the pan cool for perhaps five minutes, then wipe on a thin layer of flax seed oil.  The pan won't be hot enough at this point to smoke the flax oil, so I turn the burner back on at high and re-heat the pan until the flax oil starts to smoke.  Keep the heat on and wipe the flax oil until it starts to polymerize.  I will do this process, alternating between bacon fat, olive oil, and flax oil for two or three complete cycles. Three cycles (a total of nine application of oil) can be done in under an hour, since I don't let the pan cool much between each oil layer.  The final result is a very smooth hard polymerized seasoning layer that feels just as slick as any non-stick pan, and has a finish that can best be described as similar in appearance to the surface of semi-gloss paint. 

 

Then I just use the pans for everyday cooking.  Cleaning is as simple blotting up excess oil with a paper towel and rinsing the pans with hot water and brushing lightly with a nylon brush.  Nothing much seems to stick to the pans at this point, but a nylon scraper will break loose anything that does.  Then dry with a paper towel, set on a burner for 15 seconds or so to be sure it is completely dry, and finally wipe on a few drops of olive oil with a paper towel.  At this point, sometimes I heat the pan over high heat just until it starts to smoke to add another layer to the seasoning, but usually I'll just put it away. 

 

This process has worked wee for me, but as the other posters have noted, there are a LOT of different ideas and suggestions for how to season carbon steel pans.  Your mileage may vary.  Happy cooking!

post #25 of 26
I have a few De Buyer Mineral B pans and what have worked best for me is just using the pans. Sure it will be some stickyness the first few uses, but that passes quickly. The attempts i have made to hurry the seasoning with layers of oil and what not have just resulted in poor seasoning that comes of easy.
My two cents.
post #26 of 26

To clean after cooking and rinsing, I heat the pan with some table salt.  Once hot, add a couple drops of oil and scrub the salt/oil mixture using a stainless steel scrubber.  Allow the pan to cool, then rinse, then reheat slightly and apply a light coating of oil.  My choice of oil is peanut oil.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
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