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View Full Version : Seasoning pans and foods that kill seasoning



heirkb
07-13-2011, 05:01 PM
I was using my DeBuyer pan today and it fried eggs so well and so easily that I figured I'd just use it to cook the rest of what I was cooking. I put some spinach in the pan and noticed later that the pan was looking really splotchy. I took the spinach out and rubbed a spoon around a bit and realized that the spinach had eaten the crap out of the seasoning. The seasoning was soft and easily came off. Have you guys had this happen? What is the deal?
In case it helps, I seasoned it using the flax oil method that was posted on the earlier carbon pan thread (see here: http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/)

Eamon Burke
07-13-2011, 05:06 PM
I'm not sure what you mean by the seasoning was "soft"? It shouldn't be flaking or gumming up. If you put, say, lemon butter and tomatoes in a cast iron pan, it will come out looking kinda stripped, like someone had been scrubbing it too long. Typically it's acids or foods that react strongly with iron.

I've never had a problem with spinach though.

heirkb
07-13-2011, 05:22 PM
It was literally soft. That's the best way I could describe it. It didn't flake really (i.e. it didn't look like katsuoboshi). It just kinda came off in a paste, which was really surprising to me. And there were little black specks like pepper all over the spinach.

kalaeb
07-13-2011, 05:50 PM
I was using my DeBuyer pan today and it fried eggs so well and so easily that I figured I'd just use it to cook the rest of what I was cooking. I put some spinach in the pan and noticed later that the pan was looking really splotchy. I took the spinach out and rubbed a spoon around a bit and realized that the spinach had eaten the crap out of the seasoning. The seasoning was soft and easily came off. Have you guys had this happen? What is the deal?
In case it helps, I seasoned it using the flax oil method that was posted on the earlier carbon pan thread (see here: http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/)

This happens to me every time I try to force seasoning or patina, it never seems to completly stay on the way everyone said it does. I have even tried the high smoke temp oil. I have since scoured my Debuyer and let it develope a natural seasoning over time (not too much time because I use it often) The natural seasoning is much stronger than anything done in the period of a night.

I would start over and don't rush it.

mhlee
07-13-2011, 05:56 PM
The natural seasoning is much stronger than anything done in the period of a night.

I would start over and don't rush it.

Agreed. I've seen a friend try to rush seasoning a wok by using it a few times. It didn't work.

I recommend also not cooking a large amount of watery items, whether it's vegetables, sauce, etc., immediately after you initially season the pan. That's what my friend did and the seasoning came off immediately.

While I don't own a DeBuyer carbon steel pan, I have a carbon steel wok and a cast iron pan that I've re-seasoned a few times (not accidentally; I purposely cleaned and re-seasoned the pan because the seasoning became so thick that the pan's seasoning no longer made the pan level). Do some high temperature searing or pan frying a few times, and then heat your pan to high heat after you've washed it. This worked well for both my wok and cast iron pan.

heirkb
07-13-2011, 06:36 PM
I thought that food would stick to the unseasoned pan and if it did, wouldn't that require some scrubbing to get the gunked on food off? Also, do you avoid soap if you're developing the seasoning naturally?

kalaeb
07-13-2011, 06:45 PM
Yes, unfortunately it requires scrubbing to get the gunk off. It can be a pain, but well worth it. Don't scrub the pan until it is silver again, just until the black stuff is off. It should leave a quark colored steel beneath it. Just make sure to oil the pan before and after each use, and you should be fine. I cooked crepes right after I scoured mine and there were no issues. I actually found it to be more non-stick once I removed the black faux seasoning than with it.

If I ever get off work I will take some pics of mine.

EdipisReks
07-13-2011, 06:49 PM
i keep meaning to buy a DeBuyer skillet. i own a bunch of vintage cast iron Lodge that i keep well seasoned. is the DeBuyer stuff similar in terms of what needs to be done to it?

Kyle
07-13-2011, 08:36 PM
i keep meaning to buy a DeBuyer skillet. i own a bunch of vintage cast iron Lodge that i keep well seasoned. is the DeBuyer stuff similar in terms of what needs to be done to it?

Yup, treat a De Buyer the way you would cast iron. I have all sorts of cast iron from modern Lodge to 100 year old Griswold and none of them perform as well as my De Buyer. Within 2 cooks I could fry and egg and it would slide around the pan like it was in a teflon skillet. I love my De Buyer pans!

EdipisReks
07-13-2011, 08:37 PM
sweet, gonna have to get me one, then!

mhlee
07-13-2011, 08:41 PM
Yup, treat a De Buyer the way you would cast iron. I have all sorts of cast iron from modern Lodge to 100 year old Griswold and none of them perform as well as my De Buyer. Within 2 cooks I could fry and egg and it would slide around the pan like it was in a teflon skillet. I love my De Buyer pans!

Kyle:

Which DeBuyer pans do you have?

kalaeb
07-13-2011, 09:05 PM
Edipis, they are awesome pans! Then again, so are vintage Lodge! I have them both, but I use the Debuyer more, so does my wife. It is a little lighter than the cast iron, and the handle length makes them easier to use as well.

Kyle
07-13-2011, 09:57 PM
Kyle:

Which DeBuyer pans do you have?

9.5" Force Blue that I got on sale from World Market for $20. Regular price is $40.

12" Mineral pan from Williams Sonoma (~$80).

I love both! I'll probably add another 8" or 10".

Jim
07-13-2011, 10:34 PM
I was using my DeBuyer pan today and it fried eggs so well and so easily that I figured I'd just use it to cook the rest of what I was cooking. I put some spinach in the pan and noticed later that the pan was looking really splotchy. I took the spinach out and rubbed a spoon around a bit and realized that the spinach had eaten the crap out of the seasoning. The seasoning was soft and easily came off. Have you guys had this happen? What is the deal?
In case it helps, I seasoned it using the flax oil method that was posted on the earlier carbon pan thread (see here: http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/)

If you put the oil on too thick or the pan was not perfectly dry that could cause some problems. If the seasoning fells soft or tacky you did not get the oil to plasticize properly-get it back in the oven at 475-525 for an hour or two. One pan I did is doing perfect, the other one, the one I did a mirror polish on- lifted right off. I went back to 320 grit and reseasoned it and its doing great. Oven cleaner will pull the defective season and any other crud off.

heirkb
07-14-2011, 02:43 PM
Thanks for the comments, Jim. I put the oil on extremely thin in this case, because that's what it said to do in that blog post. I think the most that any pan was in the oven with heat on (at 500) was 1.5 hrs, but I did let the pans sit in there as the oven cooled down. I guess I'll give the seasoning thing one more try and then I'll try the gradual method

SpikeC
07-14-2011, 03:43 PM
I'm glad that I have been ignorant of the proper ways to do this. I just use my carbon steel wok and Griswold skillet and don't think about seasoning. They work fine for me.

kalaeb
07-14-2011, 08:52 PM
Here is a pic after I had scoured all the black stuff off mine. You can still see some on the sides, but underneath was still a type of patina. It works like a champ, still as non-stick as ever. I say go natural.

http://i1185.photobucket.com/albums/z349/mattstephens79/IMG_0771.jpg

heirkb
07-14-2011, 09:03 PM
I swear that thing looks cooler than half the things in the NYC MOMA. I'm not one to hate on modern art, but I really think museums are BS. Sorry for the off-topic. That was just a long way to say,"Cool ugly pan!"

olpappy
07-15-2011, 09:46 PM
certain foods which have a lot of water content, especially vegetables, tend to release water and 'steam' instead of fry, especially of there isn't a lot of oil present. Even a well established seasoning job can have parts of it removed if you use a carbon or cast iron pan to cook things which release a lot of water and ends up as water based cooking and not just frying. spinach and other vegetables can contain a wide variety of acids and other chemicals which may interact with the seasoning. Those black bits all over your spinach are caramelized oil/seasoning, not exactly what I'd want to be eating.

The way I clean the pans to minimize scrubbing and retain as much oil /seasoning is to add a little bit of water to the empty pan while the pan is still hot, the hot water softens food residues and lets the food particles unstick with less scrubbing. I let it sit for a few minutes until the food residues can be easily removed. Then dry it on the stovetop immediately. The sooner you do this after cooking the food, the easier it is. These pans work best if used mainly for frying meats or items with more oil and less water content. If there are a lot of vegetables or you will be adding liquid or a sauce, I generally use a different type of pot or pan.

heirkb
07-17-2011, 12:31 AM
Thanks for the tips. For now, I'll stick to stainless for the vegetables and watery foods. The carbon pan fries beautifully, so it's worth it to have one if only for that.

obtuse
07-17-2011, 10:24 AM
Check out the paderno world cuisine carbon steel pans on Amazon. They are a great buy. In my ideal world I'd have one in every size.

heirkb
07-17-2011, 06:02 PM
Aren't they the ones that are the same as deBuyer? Or something like that...

Anyways, thanks everyone who posted here. I've found a solution that seems to be working really well. I think Kalaeb was the one who posted about how his was more non-stick than ever after stripping the seasoning off. It's true! I was nervous today since I had just sanded the surface, but I used the pan for pancakes and fried eggs and it was more non-stick than non-stick. Do any of you guys know if it was like this out of the box or if this was in some magical way caused by forcing many seasonings and then stripping them?

obtuse
07-17-2011, 09:04 PM
They're not the exact same, but they're cheaper. I'd say if it were between Debuyer force blue and paderno, paderno would win. The handles on the Debuyer mineral line are a little nicer.

obtuse
07-17-2011, 09:10 PM
It's just a magical, almost living thing. Take care of It and it'll take care of you... the bottom of my wok isn't as dark as the sides, but an egg wont stick to it. When the finish is gummy from too much oil build up that's when you start to loss nonstick performance. My recommendations is to Keep a very thin film of oil. Always wipe the excess oil our of your pan and ease up on the amount of oil you use to season your pan-very thin coats will do.

Citizen Snips
07-17-2011, 09:34 PM
the first thing i do when i get a cast iron pan is take it to work and drop the whole pan part in the deep fat fryer. the heat will expand the metal and allow oil into the iron and help keep your seasoning longer. just remember to use clean fryer grease for this. after that i usually take it out of the fryer, add about 2 cups of kosher salt and a little more oil to the pan and throw it in the oven for a few hours. then i pull it out and let it sit overnight. after that i just use it normally and it builds up seasoning all on its own. i only clean the inside with paper towels.

Dave Martell
07-18-2011, 01:13 AM
:cookegg:

jmforge
07-31-2011, 06:17 PM
Apiece of advice that I got from somewhere (and it turned out that this is nothing new as my grandmother used to do this) is to use Crisco instead of oil when you season the pan.

obtuse
07-31-2011, 06:36 PM
Lard works well too

jmforge
07-31-2011, 08:05 PM
Lard was what grandma eventually replaced with Crisco when everyone was told that it was "better for you":lol2:
Lard works well too

rockbox
08-07-2011, 01:51 AM
Sugary bacons kill my pans. The sugar caramelizes and just rips up the seasoning.

crizq0
08-10-2011, 12:52 AM
Sugary bacons kill my pans. The sugar caramelizes and just rips up the seasoning.

I think that happens to me as well. I was wondering why when I cook bacon it doesn't make my pan more non-stick. It ends up sticking a bunch of gunk on the bottom of the pan that is difficult to get off.

Vertigo
08-10-2011, 02:26 AM
Get your pans hotter before you put the bacon in. Just like onions -- cook 'em fast and hot, they fry. Cook 'em low and slow, they caramelize.

Eamon Burke
08-10-2011, 10:02 AM
This is funny, because making bacon is the best thing I can do for my cast iron pan. Perhaps it is because you are putting them in a cold pan. Why would you do that? Don't you want to hear it sizzle?!

SpikeC
08-10-2011, 02:19 PM
I put my bacon in the cold pan and use low heat for the first rendering part and don't have any problem with the seasoning. The bacon comes out with a more "meaty" texture as opposed to being brittle.

Vertigo
08-10-2011, 09:08 PM
... as opposed to being brittle.
Heretic.