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How To: Seasoning Cast Iron
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Brian
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you attempt to use electrolysis as a method to remove rust, do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT use stainless steel anodes!!!

The main problem with using it is the hazardous waste it produces. Stainless steel contains chromium. The electrodes, and thus the chromium is consumed, and you end up with poisonous chromates in your electrolyte. Dumping these on the ground or down the drain is illegal, not to mention bad for you, your family, and everyone elses health.

Rebar is cheap and makes a much better anode.
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Howard



Joined: 21 Nov 2005
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2007 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can anybody tell me what the chemical composition of cast iron seasoning is?
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watt
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2007 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not so sure this 'carbon layer' idea is right. I've used (and continue to use) cast iron ware for many years. I've never used the high temperature method, and never had any problems.

The pan develops a patina over several months of use with ordinary veg oil. Washing is done soon after cooking stops (and while there is still heat in the pan) in warm soapy water, then thoroughly rinsed and dried. If warm clean water is put into the pan, an oily film appears on it. This suggestes to me that the 'seasoning' is either just veg oil or fatty acids that have reacted with the iron, similar to saponification of FA in the manufacture of soap. That is, over time, a layer of fatty acids is formed; the FA stick to the iron by chemically bonding (the iron replaces the glycerol backbone in fats/oils.

I can't see why a carbon layer would be non-stick, or even stick to iron, unless it formed a bond, forming steel, but this must be at a much higher temperature, as in forging.

One last thing, never get salt anywhere near cast iron, so butter (salted kinds) would not be suitable, neither is the use of Kosher salt (sea salt) to smooth the surface of the iron recommended for the same reason; significant corrosion. Another good reason to wait to the end of cooking before adding salt to a dish Wink
just thoughts
watt
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 354
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2007 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

watt wrote:
I'm not so sure this 'carbon layer' idea is right. I've used (and continue to use) cast iron ware for many years. I've never used the high temperature method, and never had any problems.

The pan develops a patina over several months of use with ordinary veg oil. Washing is done soon after cooking stops (and while there is still heat in the pan) in warm soapy water, then thoroughly rinsed and dried. If warm clean water is put into the pan, an oily film appears on it. This suggestes to me that the 'seasoning' is either just veg oil or fatty acids that have reacted with the iron, similar to saponification of FA in the manufacture of soap. That is, over time, a layer of fatty acids is formed; the FA stick to the iron by chemically bonding (the iron replaces the glycerol backbone in fats/oils.

I can't see why a carbon layer would be non-stick, or even stick to iron, unless it formed a bond, forming steel, but this must be at a much higher temperature, as in forging.

One last thing, never get salt anywhere near cast iron, so butter (salted kinds) would not be suitable, neither is the use of Kosher salt (sea salt) to smooth the surface of the iron recommended for the same reason; significant corrosion. Another good reason to wait to the end of cooking before adding salt to a dish Wink
just thoughts
watt


You do realize everything you've said is completely bassackwards to what anyone who knows what they're doing, even the manufacturer has recommended for the care of cast iron cookware, don't you?

I'm not even going to take the time to correct you point by point. You're clearly on your own train, and it's just left the station for a destination unkown.

Biggles
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Howard



Joined: 21 Nov 2005
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DrBiggles wrote:

Biggles

So what is the composition?
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 354
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Howard wrote:
DrBiggles wrote:

Biggles

So what is the composition?


Burned fat, either vegetable or animal. That's why your pan turns black after years of use. Unless you do it like me and accelerate the process of burning the oil off on top of the stove, then reseasoning it in the oven.

Carbon is the 12th element in the periodic table, go look it up man!

Got no idea why it matters or what you're going to do with the information. Cast iron cookware is what it is. Care and cleaning remain the same whether you know and understand the composition of whatever it is your looking for or not.

Biggles
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Howard



Joined: 21 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So are you telling me it's all carbon? Or that you don't know?
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 354
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Howard wrote:
So are you telling me it's all carbon? Or that you don't know?


Jeez, I thought it was obvious. I have no fricken idea.

I know what I put in my pan, then I burn it. Anything after that is just magic.

Biggles
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WATT
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

'You do realize everything you've said is completely bassackwards to what anyone who knows what they're doing, even the manufacturer has recommended for the care of cast iron cookware, don't you?

I'm not even going to take the time to correct you point by point. You're clearly on your own train, and it's just left the station for a destination unkown.

Biggles'


yes, it must seem to you that I'm on my own train, but a train that tries to solve problems by scientific reasoning, rather than 'magic'

watt
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you read the three or four pages in this thread, you will see that it it carbon and possibly other compounds resulting from the burning of foods onto the cast iron that gives it it's non-sticking/release characteristics. The food/fats/oils burn and sort of gets plated onto the cast iron, in part being also mechanically retained by the pits in the surface of the cast iron. If you have a gas stove and have had foods spill over the edge while you were cooking, you probably noticed that it was very difficult to clean off. That is because the spill on the outside seasoned that spot of the pan. Do that to the entire surface of the pan (especially the inside Wink and you will have a seasoned pan.

Read what Jorg has to say. He knows what he is talking about.
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 354
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WATT wrote:
Quote:

'You do realize everything you've said is completely bassackwards to what anyone who knows what they're doing, even the manufacturer has recommended for the care of cast iron cookware, don't you?

I'm not even going to take the time to correct you point by point. You're clearly on your own train, and it's just left the station for a destination unkown.

Biggles'


yes, it must seem to you that I'm on my own train, but a train that tries to solve problems by scientific reasoning, rather than 'magic'

watt


Well now, we're getting somewhere! Excellent, what problem are you trying to solve? Please be specific.

The reason I gave you a hard time was that your statements about how the care and use of cast iron cookware question tried, true tested procedures that have been spot on for over 150 years.

Biggles
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watt
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

there are (in my mind) lots and lots of culinary conundrums that need looking into ('solving'). There are so many 'folklore' type attitudes that don't stand up to too much scrutiny, and others that have survived the test of time.

If something doesn't make sense to me (and I must have a 'feeling' for these sorts of things as I've been a very successful trouble shooter in scientific-based environments) then I want to resolve them. This can lead to a greater understanding and even optimization of some (culinary) procedures.

So it was with the seasoning thing (why call it seasoning?), I use cast iron pots and pans all the time, but have never come across the 'burning carbon layer' thing, nor did my scientific understanding give me any clues to why it might work, or that the explanation was correct. Apart from a little inter-granular cracking, cast iron is not porous. Carbon from incinerated food is porous, but how does it stick to iron unless bonded at very high temperatures?
All the 'seasoning’ I do is with frying food, and keeping salt out of the food (until the last moment, it is very corrosive to iron) and washing in soapy water, then drying thoroughly. I have found it unnecessary to oil the pan after this. Over several months the pans take on a sheen (patina) which is pretty well non-stick, though some foods will still stick, I have found.

So, the original poster has a choice of real world culture or black magic. Big smile

cheers
watt
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 354
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

watt wrote:
there are (in my mind) lots and lots of culinary conundrums that need looking into ('solving'). There are so many 'folklore' type attitudes that don't stand up to too much scrutiny, and others that have survived the test of time.


Well, sure. There are also the ones that are flat out wrong due to ignorance. Such as the staff at large department stores telling buyers of any kitchen knife, NOT to use a sharpening steel because it will wear down your knife prematurely.

I'm interested to know what your list are culinary conundrums.

watt wrote:
If something doesn't make sense to me (and I must have a 'feeling' for these sorts of things as I've been a very successful trouble shooter in scientific-based environments) then I want to resolve them. This can lead to a greater understanding and even optimization of some (culinary) procedures.

So it was with the seasoning thing (why call it seasoning?), I use cast iron pots and pans all the time, but have never come across the 'burning carbon layer' thing, nor did my scientific understanding give me any clues to why it might work, or that the explanation was correct.


The term seasoning is part of the english language and can be used for many things. Such as people or things. If one is seasoned, then it is assumed that you are ready for the job or life or whatever. You may call the non-stick coating on a cast iron fry pan what you want, but it'd make it easier to use what most others use so there isn't any confusion.

watt wrote:
Apart from a little inter-granular cracking, cast iron is not porous.


Can you site your source for this statement? If you're going to make bold statements that go against already known common knowledge, we should know where you're coming from.

watt wrote:
Carbon from incinerated food is porous, but how does it stick to iron unless bonded at very high temperatures?


I think you answered your own question.

watt wrote:
All the 'seasoning’ I do is with frying food, and keeping salt out of the food (until the last moment, it is very corrosive to iron) and washing in soapy water, then drying thoroughly. I have found it unnecessary to oil the pan after this. Over several months the pans take on a sheen (patina) which is pretty well non-stick, though some foods will still stick, I have found.


That doesn't sound possible. The shine you're describing comes from a slick surface, this would be oil. With soapy water you're washing the oil away.

I've been using salt to clean my cast iron for over ... 28 years. It's a great abrasive and you don't waste water. Of course, you're wasting salt then. Salt has been used to clean cookware for hundreds of years, cast iron or no. It's in some intructions for cleaning from the manufactures of said cast iron cookware. Julia Child suggests using salt to not only clean your pan, but to start before cooking hamburgers. It works GREAT.

watt wrote:
So, the original poster has a choice of real world culture or black magic. Big smile

cheers
watt


You sir, are making things up in your mind then acting upon them as though they were fact. While I have aboslutely millions of written facts, most easily found online, that support every statement I've made, you have none. I believe that if I cited quotes in real, live books, you would discount it as fairy talk and black magic.

Biggles
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 354
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

watt wrote:
there are (in my mind) lots and lots of culinary conundrums that need looking into ('solving'). There are so many 'folklore' type attitudes that don't stand up to too much scrutiny, and others that have survived the test of time.

If something doesn't make sense to me (and I must have a 'feeling' for these sorts of things as I've been a very successful trouble shooter in scientific-based environments) then I want to resolve them. This can lead to a greater understanding and even optimization of some (culinary) procedures.

So it was with the seasoning thing (why call it seasoning?), I use cast iron pots and pans all the time, but have never come across the 'burning carbon layer' thing, nor did my scientific understanding give me any clues to why it might work, or that the explanation was correct. Apart from a little inter-granular cracking, cast iron is not porous. Carbon from incinerated food is porous, but how does it stick to iron unless bonded at very high temperatures?
All the 'seasoning’ I do is with frying food, and keeping salt out of the food (until the last moment, it is very corrosive to iron) and washing in soapy water, then drying thoroughly. I have found it unnecessary to oil the pan after this. Over several months the pans take on a sheen (patina) which is pretty well non-stick, though some foods will still stick, I have found.

So, the original poster has a choice of real world culture or black magic. Big smile

cheers
watt


Okay Mr. Numbnuts, you're ON. What you may have misunderstood or not known, was that I work with a team of very old and grey scientists. They were working in an engineering and scientific fashion with families in the mid 1950s and up in to the 1990s. They use sliderules as easy as you sneeze and want to know why the sky is blue.

You're going to need to back up all your errant claims. I want specific data from books and periodicals that support your pinheaded ideals.

Consider this a challenge accepted.

Biggles
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 354
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

watt wrote:
there are (in my mind) lots and lots of culinary conundrums that need looking into ('solving'). There are so many 'folklore' type attitudes that don't stand up to too much scrutiny, and others that have survived the test of time.

If something doesn't make sense to me (and I must have a 'feeling' for these sorts of things as I've been a very successful trouble shooter in scientific-based environments) then I want to resolve them. This can lead to a greater understanding and even optimization of some (culinary) procedures.

So it was with the seasoning thing (why call it seasoning?), I use cast iron pots and pans all the time, but have never come across the 'burning carbon layer' thing, nor did my scientific understanding give me any clues to why it might work, or that the explanation was correct. Apart from a little inter-granular cracking, cast iron is not porous. Carbon from incinerated food is porous, but how does it stick to iron unless bonded at very high temperatures?
All the 'seasoning’ I do is with frying food, and keeping salt out of the food (until the last moment, it is very corrosive to iron) and washing in soapy water, then drying thoroughly. I have found it unnecessary to oil the pan after this. Over several months the pans take on a sheen (patina) which is pretty well non-stick, though some foods will still stick, I have found.

So, the original poster has a choice of real world culture or black magic. Big smile

cheers
watt


Okay, Steve said he placed an order for a hundred year old book that should be here within a few weeks.
What do you have ready?

Biggles
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