Thursday, July 20, 2017

Seasoning Cast Iron (Flaxseed vs. Old School methods)

How to season cast iron and carbon steel pans

In this video I compare using Sheryl Canter's Flaxseed oil method (21 hours of seasoning) to old school method (any cooking oil and 2 hours of seasoning)

To clean my pans, I use Bar Keeper's Friend

You can read about Sheryl's Flaxseed procedure here

Here is my regular way of seasoning:
-preheat the oven to 450F
-scrub the pan with bar keeper's friend to remove loose seasoning and rust
-dry the pan with a towel and put in the oven for 10 min
-rub inside, outside, and handle with canola oil, grapeseed oil, or whatever you use for searing
-wipe out as much oil as possible.  The pan shouldn't feel oily or it will come out sticky after seasoning.
-place in the oven for 30 min
-repeat the oiling and 30 min baking procedure 2 more times

Use the pans a lot, especially in the first few weeks to build up good layer of seasoning.  Start with searing meat and chicken and roasting vegetables.  Making toast is another great task.  Avoid fish and eggs for a couple of weeks.  Avoid acidic ingredients for a few months and only try them if the pan has built up a LOT of seasoning.


Anonymous said...

Hi Helen,

I think your video hints at the flaw with the flaxseed approach. It is not a very good finish and flakes off.

I tried it a few years ago and it made a beautiful looking finish, far better than I had ever had before. But then it started flaking off into my food. Thinking the fault was mine I cleaned the pan back down to the metal again and re-seasoned it with even thinner layers. Same thing.

What I'd say now is it if you want a pound it looks beautiful, use flaxseed. If you want a pan with a good finish use a different oil.

Helen said...

I was scared that I'd get hammered for this video. I thought it was just me too :)

Anonymous said...

I wanted to pass on a cleaning tip that I think I have discovered (at least I haven't read it anywhere else). A lot of websites recommend cleaning the pan by adding kosher salt and rubbing with a paper towel. Putting my fingers on a towel right next to a very hot pan is not a safe process, so I use a pair of tongs. Even then it seems to shred the paper towel if there are stuck-on burned bits and it takes a few pieces of paper before it is clean.

I don't make pan sauces in my cast iron because I'm afraid the first step of deglazing will also strip the seasoning. But I had the wooden spoon I normally use to stir when I deglaze my stainless steel pans on the counter and inpiration struck. I added a bit more oil to the pan, added the salt, and then used the wooden (flat) spoon to stir the paste. I could apply more pressure than with the paper towel, but the wood did not scratch the seasoning. In short order I had the pan clean, then I used a paper towel to dry the pan. No water needed, and a little oiling for refreshing the seasoning too boot!

Helen said...

Great tip about the wooden spoon :)