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Cast Iron seasoning problem  RSS feed

 
                                  
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Hi,

I have been reading for literally days about seasoning and cooking cast iron before I even purchased my griddle. After educating myself I bought a griddle (new) and seasoned it as follows:

- Washed the new griddle in very hot soapy water, scrubbing it with nylon pad in order to remove the gunk that it had on it for shipping (which stopped it going rusty). I scrubbed the hell out of it just to make sure it was right down to the bare iron.

- Dried it with a towel, then dried it in a low oven. Checked all over that it was dry and none of the shipping coating was left.

- Covered the entire griddle in a thin layer of vegetable oil, using a basting brush to make sure it was coated evenly. I did this near a window so I could see that it was getting coated. This bit was like painting!

- Put the griddle into a hot oven (200 C) for just over an hour. Turned the oven off and let the griddle cool for an hour.

I then fried an egg on it without any oil and the egg stuck, the pits in the iron now have egg welded into it. Ugh

Does anyone have any tips please? I thought I had done ok. I am now scrubbing it down again to get the egg off and starting the process again with the intention of seasoning it twice before I cook on it.

Has anyone any ideas where I am going wrong and why the egg stuck? Also, do I need to start again if I have a cooking disaster like this, removing all the coating to remove the stuck on food?

Thanks
 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
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Seasoning will not put a Teflon-like coating on the cast iron.  You have to use butter, palm oil, veggie oil or shortening when frying.  Once it is properly seasoned you will still get gunk on it at times, but it will be easier to remove.  Then, a little de-glazing with water will usually get off the worst of the gunk.  Paul has a video that shows this process.  The more you use it the better the griddle gets.


Al
 
                                  
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Thanks for that.

I just noticed that I am using rapeseed oil for the seasoning and my oven has a maximum temperature of 250 C. It seems rapeseed oil has a smoke point of 255 C. Does this mean that I need to use a different oil to season the griddle? Say, corn oil to season?
 
Brice Moss
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Animal fats do work better
When breaking in a  pan I float my eggs on a layer of butter for a while
 
Jami McBride
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Yes, animal fats do work better.  If you have to use a veggie oil use high grade, organic Flax seed oil, as it as the lowest smoke point, and DO season several times (X6), and DO use butter or such when frying your eggs 

I wrote one on my own seasoning success experiences here - http://gnowfglins.com/2010/03/12/how-to-season-cast-iron/ ; and Paul has a long article all about cast iron found here http://www.richsoil.com/cast-iron.jsp
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Also, as Paul points out, irregularities from the sand that the pan was cast in are important until a spatula has scraped over it sharply a few hundred times.

Yes, little bits of iron do wear away into the food, but this is actually an OK source of dietary iron.

Eventually, it will be much smoother.
 
solomon martin
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You may have to wait before being able to use the pan for eggs, if you have no other choice, use a little extra oil and cook your eggs at a lower temp (about 200 degrees), albumen in the eggs tends to vulcanize and stick even to teflon if the heat is too high.  Paul's thread and video are pretty good and should get you on the right track.  A tip I learned in an old cook book somewhere told me to add salt to the oil in your pan when you season it in the oven.  I add enough to make a fine slurry and bake it in a hot oven for about an hour.  I don't know what the salt does, but it seems to work pretty well...
 
                                  
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Just to report back: it just took a few times normally cooking with the griddle before it was ready to do eggs. I always add a tiny amount of spray o oil just to be sure with them.

In my opinion, having been doing this now for a few months, I think the best way to season your cast iron is just to get cooking! After a few cooking runs the cast iron seasons itself really, and the worst that can happen is you need to scrape a bit with the stainless steel implement you are using. I now have a great griddle with no problems.

When I got a new pan after this all I did was give it a couple of runs in the oven and then just cook with it as I normally would. I think I was getting too hung up on getting things seasoned before - it works itself out.

Oh and on the soapy water debate - you can use soapy water no problem, and this is no bad thing every now and again just to get off any stubborn dirt. Unless you are scrubbing the hell out of it you aren't going to wreck the seasoning.
 
Al Loria
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tentimes wrote:
Oh and on the soapy water debate - you can use soapy water no problem, and this is no bad thing every now and again just to get off any stubborn dirt. Unless you are scrubbing the hell out of it you aren't going to wreck the seasoning.


As to the soapy water, I have had poor results using any. It always seemed to remove that little bit of oil coating and allowed small rust spots to form after a few days.  I use a scrubbie pad for the tough bits and might even want to use a damp sponge dipped in coarse salt to get things off before using the soap again.

I'm kind of anal and now always swipe an oiled paper towel over the surface before putting away.  Getting any rust off is much harder than preventing it.

Glad to hear you were able to get the results you were looking for.


 
                                          
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Location: N.W. Arizona
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After cooking with castiron for years I have some observations.  If frying eggs do not let your pan get to hot, the handle side has less heat than the opposite side.  I always use coconut oil or lard to season and fry with because they have the highest smoke point.  I also find it great with a brush for coating the pans.  Lodge has cast loaf pans, a large wok and an omalet pan all of which are useful and great for cooking.  In addition I have several dutch ovens of various sizes and a griddle.  New cast iron has large open pours that will take extensive use to wear down and be smooth enough to turn and egg on without breaking the yoke.  I have a pan that I inherited from my father that is totally smooth and great for eggs but even it must not be to hot or the eggs will stick.  Occassionally I will burn a casserole or beans to the bottom of the pot, in which case boil water in the pot untill it can be scraped clean.
 
paul wheaton
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I would have cleaned the "transportation seasoning" gick off with heat.  either a self cleaning oven, or a fire.  And then rub oil all over it and start using it.

 
                            
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Did you start to use flax seed oil? I'm interested what are the differences?
Flax seed oil' smoke point is 107C. I think it's appropriate for your oven. Also I saw a trial here: http://www.castiron-cookette.com/?p=1   I am waitng for the results.
 
                                          
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I find flax oil to expenpensive to use for frying or treating cast iron.  I use it in cottage cheese as cancer perventative and on salads with vinegar.  I store it in the fridge and never heat it.  It is high in omega 3 essential fatty acids but heating reduces that.  The only foods that are higher in efa's are chia seed and the edible algaes.
 
paul wheaton
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I wonder about the longevity of flax oil when used on cast iron.  It just seems like it will burn off easily. 

At this point, I still have not tried it - although i did buy some with the idea that I would try it.  It is still sitting in my fridge. 

I think sheryl's research is mighty smart - and I want to hear about the long term results.  But to hear good results, I wanna hear about how her pan compares to similar pans where other techniques were used. 

After all of the experiments I have done, I think the best path for raw iron to just start using it with animal fats: leave the oven out of it.


 
Jami McBride
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spiritrancho wrote:
I find flax oil to expenpensive to use for frying or treating cast iron.  I use it in cottage cheese as cancer perventative and on salads with vinegar.  I store it in the fridge and never heat it.  It is high in omega 3 essential fatty acids but heating reduces that.  The only foods that are higher in efa's are chia seed and the edible algaes.


One should never use flax seed oil to fry, expensive or not, it is not a safe oil to heat - period.  The fact that it has a very low smoke point which makes it bad to heat is what makes it good to season with.  I go into the details in the article I wrote (link in previous post).

I've only done the process once on my large frying pan, last March, and it is still working great (see pictures in link).  I still have that bottle of flax oil as I use it in cold foods very little, I need to use it more as you say it has great health benefits. 

So for my one purchase of flax oil I find it very economical to use for seasoning.  There are other oils that work for seasoning cast iron, but I found step by step instructions using flax seen oil and so that is what I used and wrote about my experience.  For now I do not see a need to re-season ever arising.  My pan looks as it did just after seasoning.

I have found that problems with sticky pans most often comes up when using the wrong oils, at wrong temps for wrong foods.  This is the cause more than an improperly seasoned pan.  I believe these two issues get confused.  If something sticks people think something is wrong with the pan and/or it's seasoning.  Where I find most of the time it is the oil - temp - food combination.  For example: try cooking eggs in your seasoned cast iron using a vegetable oil and normal heat for non-stick pan - you will have a mess on your hands.  Turn down the heat and use butter or other animal fat and things will work much better.


 
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