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Cast Iron Cleaning and Seasoning Help With and Tips & Techniques For Cast Iron Cookware Restoration

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Old 09-09-2016, 01:29 AM
W. Hilditch W. Hilditch is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Talking Rock, GA
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Default The light went on...

With new seasoning most of us bake at the smoking point or above and discredit those instructions that say to bake multiple layers and times at 350 F. Going above the smoking point polymerizes the oil and makes some carbon creating a layer between the cast iron and the food.

However, heating or baking at 350 F will polymerize the oil creating a coating on the cast iron or enameled surface. The coating will be almost clear. This coating is fragile without the carbon and wont absorb oil like the carbon but will allow another coat of polymerized oil to stick to it. It does not provide that BLACK look but cooking in the piece will take its temp up to 450 and above to develop the carbon, and turn black.

Polymerized oil washes off easily with dish soap thus makes enameled pans easy to clean. Once higher heat creates some carbon molecules the coating gets stronger and sticks to any surface better.

The moral? Polymerized oil will keep a thin and fragile barrier between the surface and the food and then adding carbon creates a stronger barrier.

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Old 09-16-2016, 01:03 PM
EricC EricC is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 454
Default Re: The light went on...

I'm still a newbie at this but I had been learning a lot through trial and error before finding the information here.

One of my earliest attempts, I reseasoned using canola oil with a 350 F bake. At the time I didn't know how to properly wipe off the excess oil (I at least knew to bake it with the pan face-down) and the end result had all these polymerized oil ripples over the cooking surface. They were thick enough that you could feel the raised ripples, but not sticky at all, rock hard. And they were almost clear, not dark at all.

What I should have done was strip and start over but instead I just started using the pan on a daily basis to see how the seasoning would develop. (This is a very heavy BSR No. 12 BTW)

To clean I use the standard process of rinsing with hot water, removing particles with a gentle brush (I use a bamboo wok whisk, designed for cleaning high-carbon steel woks without damaging their seasoning), rinse again, wipe dry, warm over low heat to evaporate any remaining moisture, then coat the cooking surface with a thin layer of canola oil.

Over a couple of months, first the ripples darkened a bit. Then they started wearing off near the center. Were they are now is in a circle from the center out to about 2/3 - 3/4 of the diameter, the ripples are gone and a smooth flat dark seasoning layer is developing. On the outer ring and up the sides, the ripples are still there but have turned jet black. The surfaces between the ripples (which still received a layer of seasoning from that initial bake, just not as thick) has some sporadic inconsistent darkening but not as dark as the center.

What I thought would happen was the seasoning would "grow" between the ripples but that hasn't been the result. Either the ripples wore off or they just got a lot darker without "spreading out".

I'm just sharing this because the OP is about creating a mostly-clear seasoning layer at 350 F and how it gets stronger as carbon is created, and this is a recent real-life experience with that scenario. For what it's worth.
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Old 09-18-2016, 03:03 AM
W. Hilditch W. Hilditch is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Talking Rock, GA
Posts: 1,784
Default Re: The light went on...

Ive decided great seasoning is made not from one oil or fat from another. Great seasoning is the result of various oils and fats polymerized and heated into carbon molecules by the cooking process. This includes all fats from different kinds of meats, even including fish; as well as vegetables. I think most folks expect too much from their initial seasoning which is why people in the know say, and Eric found; Use it. and it gets better.

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