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

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  #1  
Old 05-02-2013, 04:45 PM
Nick I Nick I is offline
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Location: Cleveland, OH
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Default Flaxseed Oil method

I have tried using Sheryl Canter's Method and I like the way my cast iron looks after having coated it several times with flaxseed oil. However, my seemingly reoccurring problem I've encountered is that when I cook something, the skillet in question will lose its dark black color from the seasoning and what I'm left with is usually a resemblance of bare iron in the center of the skillet where the food was cooked. I found a Wapak Z logo #8 and soaked it in a lye bath about a month ago. It has since been in and out of the oven over 20 times if I were to guess. It has a nice black patina, food doesn't stick, but the nice black patina will lose its color easily if I cook something in there, even eggs. Is the black carbon substance flaking off onto the food I'm eating? What methods do you use to attain a beautiful black shine on your cast iron? I understand that with lots of repeated use, it'll just occur naturally through the constant reseasoning by cooking food in the skillet. I just want some advice on methods people were able to use to attain a perfect black patina.
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Old 05-02-2013, 06:51 PM
Doug D. Doug D. is offline
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Default Re: Flaxseed Oil method

I've found that, even understanding what she's forwarding as being supported by science, it often doesn't work well in practice. What little I've tried with it personally, I did experience the seasoning coming off unexpectedly. I think from the hundreds of pieces I've successfully done with Crisco, grapeseed oil, and/or canola, coupled with all the gloppy, sticky iron I've encountered in the wild, that I know what it means to apply extremely thin layers of seasoning.

Here's one of my oldest pieces, which I use regularly, and how it currently looks after just cooking, cleaning, drying, warming and putting a thin layer of canola on the cooking surface after each use. This photo is a little old, so the pan is blacker now than shown. The right side is how I found it:

Image

You might want to give refined grapeseed oil a try. Its 450* smoke point means you can really get the iron hot before applying it. The keyword is refined, otherwise the smoke point is much lower. I get the house brand at Whole Foods.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:56 PM
Nick I Nick I is offline
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Default Re: Flaxseed Oil method

Doug,

That skillet you have there looks pretty good! I wish I could fast forward sometimes to a couple years from now and see what my new found treasures will look like. I think it just takes patience sometimes. I have always thought that it was wise to cook greasy foods and bake cornbread in freshly seasoned cast iron cookware, any other recommendations of what foods I should be cooking to speed up the process of getting nice layers of seasoning on my cookware? I have a nice #10 Griswold skillet that had a pretty nice seasoning on there and now I feel stupid for stripping it and re-seasoning it using Sheryl's method. I have an off question for you: Even with your best seasoned old pieces, do you still get stuck on foods that need a scrape or scrub with salt? Especially from searing meats such as steak, pork chops, chicken breast? I want to eventually one day have my pans seasoned so well that even when cooking foods like blackening fish that I'll be able to just wipe them out with a paper towel like I do when cooking eggs, grilled cheese, etc. My experience so far tells me that maybe my expectations are set a tad too high though.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:24 PM
Doug D. Doug D. is offline
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Default Re: Flaxseed Oil method

I'd say expecting Teflon is too much to hope for, but you can get close. Remember, we're still relying on fats or liquid during cooking to assist with this non-stick property. At some point, during some cook, in some pan, some kind of gris-gris will make something burn or stick, no matter how well-seasoned. Boil some water and scrape with a wooden spatula, or make a slurry with salt and oil, and you can get it off. Eventually, you'll use them enough that you get to the point you'll even use dishwashing liquid on them without ill effect, as I often do with my two oldest users.

BTW, popping popcorn is another idea to accelerate seasoning build-up. May want to dedicate a heavy, post-1960s user quality pan for that fish blackening, though, and do it outdoors.
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