Cast iron on induction cooktop. Long term warping?

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HappyamateurDK

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Hi all.

In the family we have a variety of different enameled cast iron and a few pieces of very old raw cast iron. Mostly cocotte's/Dutch Owens. And a few pans. Most of it is 10-15 years old le Creuset.

We had induction for a couple of years now. But haven't used our cast iron that much on it.

I fell over a tekst on a foodie group where several people claimed that there enameled cast irons pieces had warped, caused by being used in induction.

What do you guys say? Doesn't it sound unlikely as long as you preheat the cast iron slowly, on a correct sized burner? Like on any other cooktop.

Also.. wouldn't you expect that the enamel would crack long before you could notice any warping of the cast iron itself?

What do you guys think? :)
 
Hi all.

In the family we have a variety of different enameled cast iron and a few pieces of very old raw cast iron. Mostly cocotte's/Dutch Owens. And a few pans. Most of it is 10-15 years old le Creuset.

We had induction for a couple of years now. But haven't used our cast iron that much on it.

I fell over a tekst on a foodie group where several people claimed that there enameled cast irons pieces had warped, caused by being used in induction.

What do you guys say? Doesn't it sound unlikely as long as you preheat the cast iron slowly, on a correct sized burner? Like on any other cooktop.

Also.. wouldn't you expect that the enamel would crack long before you could notice any warping of the cast iron itself?

What do you guys think? :)
I don't have experience using them on induction. But I will say that you should never do much preheating on an empty enameled cast iron. That's the worst thing for the porcelain. I have a friend who cracked a couple before she figured that one out.
 
I've never seen cast iron warping but that doesn't mean it won't happen. If you want to be on the safe side pre-heat on lower settings so it has time to 'spread out' more.
How easily enamel cracks also depends on the quality of the enamel. I had one made in China pan chip just from modest preheating without even showing any distortions while I have another (thin carbon steel) enamelled pan that's visually warped, yet the enamel is still just fine.

The biggest drawback for me is that cast iron isn't fantastic at spreading the heat, so if the induction burner is significantly smaller than your pan, you'll get cold spots around the sides. Gas does a far better job at spreading the heat on mediocre conductors.
 
I don't have experience using them on induction. But I will say that you should never do much preheating on an empty enameled cast iron. That's the worst thing for the porcelain. I have a friend who cracked a couple before she figured that one out.
I never heat any pan without oil or butter in it. Especially not cast iron. 👍
 
I've never seen cast iron warping but that doesn't mean it won't happen. If you want to be on the safe side pre-heat on lower settings so it has time to 'spread out' more.
How easily enamel cracks also depends on the quality of the enamel. I had one made in China pan chip just from modest preheating without even showing any distortions while I have another (thin carbon steel) enamelled pan that's visually warped, yet the enamel is still just fine.

The biggest drawback for me is that cast iron isn't fantastic at spreading the heat, so if the induction burner is significantly smaller than your pan, you'll get cold spots around the sides. Gas does a far better job at spreading the heat on mediocre conductors.
I only use it on a burner that fits the size of the bottom. When you preheat.. how low heat do you start at? I have a 2300 watt burner(3700 on boost) it has 14 steps + power. I start at 4, goes to 8 and finally 10 or 11. Does that sound safe?
 
I never heat any pan without oil or butter in it. Especially not cast iron. 👍
I heat all my pans without anything in them except enameled cast iron. In general it is better to preheat pans naked. And then add your fat right before your product. This helps create a non stick surface even in stainless steel pans or cheap restaurant supply aluminum pans. But with enameled cast iron I only preheat on low, and only for a few minutes. As the pan comes up to higher heat, the proteins will start to release from the porcelain without the need to preheat to a high temperature. Regular cast iron I pre heat on low for 15-20 minutes probably. Make sure the heat is distributed well before I add anything. I don't preheat them on high either because you can burn the seasoning very easily.
 
I heat all my pans without anything in them except enameled cast iron. In general it is better to preheat pans naked. And then add your fat right before your product. This helps create a non stick surface even in stainless steel pans or cheap restaurant supply aluminum pans. But with enameled cast iron I only preheat on low, and only for a few minutes. As the pan comes up to higher heat, the proteins will start to release from the porcelain without the need to preheat to a high temperature. Regular cast iron I pre heat on low for 15-20 minutes probably. Make sure the heat is distributed well before I add anything. I don't preheat them on high either because you can burn the seasoning very easily.
15-20 minutes? I think I preheat it 8-10 minutes max.
 
Regular cast iron I pre heat on low for 15-20 minutes probably. Make sure the heat is distributed well before I add anything. I don't preheat them on high either because you can burn the seasoning very easily.

Dude, that’s like forever! I don’t got that kinda time! :p

I tend to preheat cast iron on reasonably high heat. Quick as I can without ending up with completely uneven heat distribution. Just cause I’m impatient and don’t care. I guess the seasoning gets damaged once in a while when I forget about it for a min and it gets totally smoky, but for the most part I haven’t noticed any ill effects.

#playingwithfire #irresponsibleandstupid #"HomeChef"^TM
 
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I use my 7.25 quart Le Creuset dutch oven for baking bread (besides lots of other things, such as stews).

I usually pre-heat it to 250 ºC (482 ºF) for 45–60 minutes before baking the bread. I've done this many times (probably north of a hundred by now). So far, there have been no ill effects on the enamel. It just keeps on trucking.

That pot was hideously expensive. But it is the most favourite cooking vessel in my kitchen, closely followed by my 12" Lodge cast iron skillet.
 
I usually pre-heat it to 250 ºC (482 ºF) for 45–60 minutes before baking the bread. I've done this many times (probably north of a hundred by now). So far, there have been no ill effects on the enamel. It just keeps on trucking.

I do that in the oven too with my $50 LeCreuset knockoff. Looks worse on the inside now, but still works fine. Bet the oven is a lot gentler than a burner. I usually start it in a cold oven and let it preheat with the oven.
 
I usually start it in a cold oven and let it preheat with the oven.
Same here. Putting the cold pot into a hot oven might be stretching the friendship a bit. Or not; I honestly don't know. But seeing that I have to pre-heat the oven anyway, I might as well throw in the Dutch oven, too, while I'm at it.
 
I use my 7.25 quart Le Creuset dutch oven for baking bread (besides lots of other things, such as stews).

I usually pre-heat it to 250 ºC (482 ºF) for 45–60 minutes before baking the bread. I've done this many times (probably north of a hundred by now). So far, there have been no ill effects on the enamel. It just keeps on trucking.

That pot was hideously expensive. But it is the most favourite cooking vessel in my kitchen, closely followed by my 12" Lodge cast iron skillet.
You never preheat it on the cooktop? Maybe I should try baking In cast iron. I guess the intense fast heat will give a good crust👍
 
The point of baking in a Dutch oven is that it traps steam. That allows the bread to rise because the crust stays softer for longer before it sets.

I pre-heat the Dutch oven, and when my dough is good and ready, I slash it, spray it with a bit of water, plonk it into the (very hot) Dutch oven, lid on top, and into the oven, usually at 250 ºC. Turn the heat down to 220 ºC, wait 20 minutes, then take the lid off and bake for another 20–30 minutes. Works a treat!

Cast iron is pretty much the best option for home-made bread. The only thing that might do better is a professional baker's oven (not realistic), or maybe one of those new-fangled home ovens that have steam injection. But, honestly, I make bread in my Dutch oven that puts most bakeries to shame, and all I need is a spray bottle…
 
Yeah I had great results baking breads in pre-heated cast iron as well. Only caveat is that on my (cheap Chinese knockoff) enamelled Dutch oven it did lead to significant discoloration on the cream-colored inside.
 
Dude, that’s like forever! I don’t got that kinda time! :p

I tend to preheat cast iron on reasonably high heat. Quick as I can without ending up with completely uneven heat distribution. Just cause I’m impatient and don’t care. I guess the seasoning gets damaged once in a while when I forget about it for a min and it gets totally smoky, but for the most part I haven’t noticed any ill effects.

#playingwithfire #irresponsibleandstupid #"HomeChef"^TM
If I know I'll be using it, I just put it on real low while I assemble ingredients and such. At work I just leave it over a pilot on the range. That way it's always warm when I need it.
 
I have decent Lodge enameled cast iron Dutch oven and a smaller cheapo no-name version from Aldi. The Aldi dutch oven has started showing chips in the porcelain inside the pan; I thought maybe someone had been careless with metal utensils, but not I'm wondering if the chipping is caused by cheap porcelain and my aggressive preheating. I regularly use that pan to sear meat before braising, and I wonder if the porcelain just isn't that good. I treat the Lodge pan the same (and it sees about the same amount of use) and it is flawless inside.
 
I also had chippy enamel on all the cheap made in China enamelled stuff even if i didn't abuse it thermally. You also hear this complaint come up quite regularly when it comes to the cheap knockoffs.
 
Instructions from my new bought Staub
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I can tell you I bulged the bottom of a Chicken Fryer cast iron on an electric stove back in the old days before internet. I still have it and it works ok on gas range now. The bulge is right in the middle and fits on the grates fine.
 
Cast iron is pretty much the best option for home-made bread. The only thing that might do better is a professional baker's oven (not realistic), or maybe one of those new-fangled home ovens that have steam injection. But, honestly, I make bread in my Dutch oven that puts most bakeries to shame, and all I need is a spray bottle…
The only problem is that you can't bake in different shapes. I haven't found a baguette shaped cast iron pot yet. I had no problem with steam in an electric oven but now I'm baking in gas and its a lot harder.

Yeah I had great results baking breads in pre-heated cast iron as well. Only caveat is that on my (cheap Chinese knockoff) enamelled Dutch oven it did lead to significant discoloration on the cream-colored inside.
If the color bothers you, bar keeper's friend removes the discoloration. It probably scratches the enamel, but thats the cost of clean. I baked for years in enameled cast iron. Some turned black and took over an hour to clean one of them. If I bake in a pot now, I make sure its unenameled cast iron. However, those will rust if you aren't careful. So, now I bake on half sheet trays and pure aluminum bread pans.

Regarding cast iron on induction, I've never personally had a problem with cast iron, but carbon steel definitely warps on induction if you use high power. I use low (less than half power), wait 10-20 minutes, and up to 3/4 for another few minutes. You also have to worry about getting the pan too hot that the stove shuts off. That happens faster than you think on electric.
 
Sounds to me that warping of the actual cast iron itself is pretty rare. But the enamel on cheap cast iron can crack. Then I will keep Using my cast iron on induction with proper preheating as always 😊
 
The only problem is that you can't bake in different shapes. I haven't found a baguette shaped cast iron pot yet. I had no problem with steam in an electric oven but now I'm baking in gas and its a lot harder.


If the color bothers you, bar keeper's friend removes the discoloration. It probably scratches the enamel, but thats the cost of clean. I baked for years in enameled cast iron. Some turned black and took over an hour to clean one of them. If I bake in a pot now, I make sure its unenameled cast iron. However, those will rust if you aren't careful. So, now I bake on half sheet trays and pure aluminum bread pans.

Regarding cast iron on induction, I've never personally had a problem with cast iron, but carbon steel definitely warps on induction if you use high power. I use low (less than half power), wait 10-20 minutes, and up to 3/4 for another few minutes. You also have to worry about getting the pan too hot that the stove shuts off. That happens faster than you think on electric.
My solution is simple... the chippy made in China pot is to become a flower pot (I'm not eating enamel chips), and for bread baking I intend to use a pot without enamel.
If you really want to splurge on breadbaking cast iron, look up the Challenger bread pan. But it's really quite pricey.
 
Sounds to me that warping of the actual cast iron itself is pretty rare. But the enamel on cheap cast iron can crack. Then I will keep Using my cast iron on induction with proper preheating as always 😊
It makes sense, as cast iron is brittle. It may be possible for a pot/ pan to 'bulge' as someone indicated above for a fryer, but cast iron yields very little before fracturing. And away from the center the pot/ pan sides provide continuous resistance to warping (thin of the sides as beams supporting the bottom 'slab'). Pans with very low sides might be able to warp slightly, but again cast iron will crack after just a small amount of yield. Steel has much more potential to warp.
 
Good point. I always tend to lump carbon steel and cast iron in sort of the same category as they roughly fulfill the same roles and are treated very similarly, but materially they are different. Correct me if I'm wrong but the figures floating around my head are that the carbon steel pans are at most 1% carbon while the cast iron stuff is more in the order of 3%.
 
Good point. I always tend to lump carbon steel and cast iron in sort of the same category as they roughly fulfill the same roles and are treated very similarly, but materially they are different. Correct me if I'm wrong but the figures floating around my head are that the carbon steel pans are at most 1% carbon while the cast iron stuff is more in the order of 3%.

Cast iron is typically 2-4 percent carbon.
I have never seen a warped cast iron intem myself.

It was my understanding that one of cast irons main advantages it it's ability to stay in shape. I'm a professional trucks mechanic. And I can say that in the auto industry. Cast iron is used in places where the heat resistance and ability not to warp is an advantage. Stuff like exhaust manifolds and turbohousings.
 
and brake rotors are typically cast iron. If heat warped them there would be millions of more crashes each year.

(and yes, I realize 'performance' car peeps like to talk about rotors getting warped; more often than not it is actually pad deposits. Or 2-piece rotors, and the steel 'hats' got damaged.
 
and brake rotors are typically cast iron. If heat warped them there would be millions of more crashes each year.

(and yes, I realize 'performance' car peeps like to talk about rotors getting warped; more often than not it is actually pad deposits. Or 2-piece rotors, and the steel 'hats' got damaged.
True..but the 0,1-0,2 mm runout warp that will make a brakedisk vibrate. Would never be noticed on a skillet. Also the brakedisks on a sports car will under hard use get way hotter then a skillet ever will.
 
I have never warped cast iron that I have noticed. I have seen several Staubs and Le Creusets fracture after numerous trips through hotel banquets convection oven/dish machine gauntlet. Lots of cracked enamel and broken lids and handles. Never seen one of them warp.

Stainless steel is pretty difficult to warp. But the discs on the bottom will delaminate after enough oven dish pit cycles.

Cast steel is a bit easier to warp.

It is difficult not to warp solid aluminum. We used an aluminum rondeau with a lid to cook the rice at an Indian place I worked. 100+ pounds per day. It was constantly rolling and the we would put the cooked rice into rice cookers to hold. It was important that the lid fit tightly to steam the rice correctly. We had to get a new pan and lid every couple months because one or the other would warp and unfortunately they never warped the same way. It would have been a lot cheaper to invest in stainless steel that would have been much more resistant to warpage. But that's not the way restaurant owners think.

Aluminum pans are the only ones I have ever seen with a hole melted through them as well. I have seen it a couple of times when someone leaves a stack of 5 or 6 aluminum saute pans on a high burner all night long. So that they are warm when they need them. They keep throwing clean pans on top. But eventually you get to the bottom one on the stack and it has a big hole in it. With a pile of melted aluminum on the drip pan.
 

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