Author Topic: Cast iron reseasoning  (Read 36242 times)

FrugalShrew

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #100 on: July 05, 2016, 05:18:20 PM »
As others have said, cast iron does have a bit of a learning curve. Be patient. It's worth it.

  • Easiest way to season it: just start using it! Be generous with the oil, which is what builds up the seasoning.
  • When you're done cooking, all you need to do is wipe the pan down with a paper towel. Literally. My cast iron pan is the easiest item in my kitchen to clean up.
  • For a spatula, in my opinion the key is to have a spatula with a flat edge.
  • The older cast iron brands (Griswold and Wagner) are better for creating a non-stick surface because they are smoother.*
  • Once it's properly seasoned, cast iron is a way better non-stick surface than so-called "non-stick" pans. I cooked cornbread in mine the other day, and it just slipped right out of the pan when it was done.
  • Finally, it helps boost your daily dose of iron :)

*"Labor-intensive, and therefore costly, polish grinding as a finishing step was largely discontinued industry-wide after the 1960s in response to competition from cheap foreign imports." http://www.castironcollector.com/finishing.php
« Last Edit: July 06, 2016, 09:43:06 AM by FrugalShrew »

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #101 on: July 05, 2016, 06:10:02 PM »
Our first cast iron skillet is a 12" Lodge beast.  It took a good few years for the inside to get worn smooth enough.  Our second was an old 10" Lodge bought at a yard sale, obviously *very* well used (and encrusted).  After a good cleanup, I found that it had a very nice smooth surface.  Pan #3 is a 6" or 8" (do you measure to the top or bottom of the rim), bought new.  It came with a really rough surface.  A few minutes with the orbital sander, and it was much better.

asiljoy

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #102 on: July 05, 2016, 07:12:25 PM »
Here's something I don't understand.  How do restaurants care for their cast iron?  I love getting fajitas or whatever sizzling in a (apparently well seasoned) cast-iron pan, but that doesn't seem conducive to typical restaurant clean-up procedure (stick it in a high-powered dishwasher).  Do they lovingly scrape off the excess and re-oil?  Does that meet hygiene codes?  Or do they do a thorough cleaning and then just oil it up/reseason immediately before use?

The mexi-lite restaurant I worked at in high school didn't actually cook in the cast iron. Fajita veggies were done on a flat top, then dumped in a hot cast iron dish before going to the table. Shoot a little water/butter at the hot cast iron before it left the kitchen and it would sizzle plenty.

Tom Bri

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #103 on: July 05, 2016, 07:50:03 PM »
My wife insists on washing the frypan. I pull it from the sink while still damp and put it on the stovetop and let it heat up. When all the water is out, after a few minutes of high heat, I pour in a little cooking oil and spread it around evenly with a spatula. Seems to work fine, easy and quick.

Fishindude

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #104 on: July 06, 2016, 08:31:41 AM »
I wouldn't want to use cast iron on a daily basis in the house.  It's too heavy to bang around on a nice stove, in the sink, on nice counter tops, etc.
I do have several cast iron skillets and dutch ovens that I utilize frequently on my camp stove to cook breakfast, fry potatoes, fry fish, etc.   Some meals just taste a whole lot better prepared in a cast iron skillet.   Fried potatoes and onions would be a good example.   Cast iron also holds and distributes the heat much more evenly than a thin non stick or stainless skillet.

Seems to be kind of a cult cast iron following that has these absolute rules about how to use it, clean it, etc.   I don't subscribe to all of their theories.
If it's a little dry prior to use, I just spray with a little Pam and wipe with a paper towel.   When it gets crusty and nasty from cooking, I throw it in hot soapy water in the sink like anything else and scrub it clean.   Nice thing about cast iron is that an SOS, copper pot scrubber, or similar abrasive pad won't damage it.   I see no ill effects from washing in soap and water, drying it with a towel and stashing it away till next use.

FrugalShrew

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #105 on: July 06, 2016, 08:36:08 AM »
I wouldn't want to use cast iron on a daily basis in the house.  It's too heavy to bang around on a nice stove, in the sink, on nice counter tops, etc.

No need to bang around. I just leave mine sitting on the stovetop. For cooking, cleaning, and storage :)

dougules

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #106 on: July 06, 2016, 10:53:01 AM »
I cook whatever in mine.  Cast iron is tough and will take a lot.  There are a few rules I follow though.  The biggest one is do not let it soak or stay wet for too long. 

It's way better if you clean it right after you're done cooking.  I don't use soap, but that may not be a big deal really.  A great thing about cast iron is you can scrub it with the meanest scrubber you've got and it only helps makes it smoother. 

Another big one I haven't really seen, make sure to season it once it's clean and dry.  Dry it off then heat it on the stove/oven a bit.  Once it's somewhat hot (but not at the smoke point), rub a thin layer of oil in it.  Store it with the cooking surface a little greasy and it will help keep it seasoned and non-stick.


Rural

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #107 on: July 06, 2016, 10:55:02 AM »
I wouldn't want to use cast iron on a daily basis in the house.  It's too heavy to bang around on a nice stove, in the sink, on nice counter tops, etc.

No need to bang around. I just leave mine sitting on the stovetop. For cooking, cleaning, and storage :)


I generally put mine in the oven for storage so it doesn't accumulate dust and cat footprints, but still, no banging required. :)

With This Herring

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #108 on: July 06, 2016, 11:07:03 AM »
I do a lot of cooking at work (I'm a firefighter), and have learned a few tricks from some crusty old-timers about cast iron. First rule, don't wash with soap, and avoid water if you can. To clean cast iron after use, simply use a clean rag or paper towel and some coarse salt and scrub away. The salt acts as an abrasive to remove food, while leaving the seasoning (grease). To season, heat up the pan and drop a spoonful of bacon grease in. Bacon grease adds great flavor and once cool imparts a nice non-stick coating. To fry an egg, add a small amount of olive oil or other vegetable oil to the pan and swirl around. I frequently cook fried eggs in cast iron with no sticking. Cast iron is not the right tool for the job if you plan on making high liquid content food, i.e. soup, beans, sauces, etc. Also, highly acidic food like marinara sauce will remove all the seasoning and make your sauce taste weird.  Cast iron works best for pan frying, or for cornbread.

Let me ask this:  why do you use cast iron when it has so many restrictions?  None of what you said sound like a benefit to me.  Is this just for people who are scared of teflon?

If your bacon has sugar in it, that might be making things stick more, as you are pretty much adding liquid candy to your pan.  Canola and vegetable (soy) oil tend to leave a nasty film, so I don't like to use them.

Why I don't like Teflon:
  • Teflon, if overheated (which is easy to do!) will kill my parrot.  Some bird adoption groups will not let you adopt a bird if you have Teflon in the house.  Teflon is a no-go.
  • Teflon, when I've owned it in the past, never seemed to last more than a few years.  Either someone scrapes it with a sharp edge or it just wears out.  Once the finish starts deteriorating, it should be tossed, as it is no longer safe to use.
  • I'm wondering how many of the people with cast iron issues have NEW cast iron.  The old stuff (Wagner, Griswold - you can pick up on EBay at decent prices) was milled to be smooth to the touch on the inside and is really easy to season to a non-stick finish.  The new stuff is JUST cast and not milled (Lodge, etc.), so it has a pebbly finish inside.  I've heard it is a pain to season, and it takes a LONG time for the seasoning to build up enough to make a smooth surface.
  • My inherited Wagner is wonderful.  I actually cannot get eggs to stick when it is seasoned.  Recently I was trying to make an omelet.  Eggs were in the pan, cooking started...  The burner is not level, so I tilted the pan to have eggs cover the shallow side.  The entire egg mass slid down the pan!
  • I have burnt the seasoning off the base of mine before.  Whoops.  I rubbed away the char/puddle with a bit of paper towel, then cooked some eggs in butter.  After a few batches of eggs (on various days), the seasoning was back.  I love this thing.
  • Soap won't cause trouble for a seasoned pan.

Don'ts for cast iron:
  • Forget to heat pan before adding food.  A hot pan prevents sticking.
  • Cook acidic liquids - you may need to reseason
  • Leave in a sink full of water for days - scrub off rust, reseason
  • Use only plastic utensils and never something metal with a nice, flat edge - eventually you might get built-up burnt food bits, so then you might have to reseason
  • Drop it on your toe - ouch.  Pan is fine, you are broken.

Don'ts for Teflon:
  • Overheat - RUINED, fumes may also poison your pets and/or family
  • Use sharp utensils - RUINED, Teflon will now flake off into your food
  • Use in oven - RUINED
  • Keep it for too long - these have a finite lifespan before the Teflon degrades and flakes, even if you are careful with utensils and such

Your goal is to prepare a very thin polymer on the surface of the cast iron when seasoning it.  Yes, it's actually a chemical reaction!

A great summary is here: http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/

I used this same process to season an orgreenic ceramic pan, and haven't had anything stick yet.  Even eggs can be made with no oil at all, and they slide right out.

Sheryl Canter's cast iron articles are excellent.  I also really like this page for practical daily use tips (read the whole thing):  http://www.richsoil.com/cast-iron.jsp

*snip*

Teflon eggs:  Crack eggs into pan.  Turn on heat.   Wait.  Remove with plastic (not metal) spatula.  Elapsed time: 2 min.

Cast Iron eggs: Oil pan.  Heat pan until it is very hot.  Crack eggs into pan.  Wait.  Remove with metal (not plastic) spatula.  Wash with a little soap and water.  Re-oil pan.  Re-heat pan.  Elapsed time: 15 min.

edit:  Paid for in part by Dupont.

Teflon eggs:  Crack eggs into pan, with or without fat.  Add salt and pepper.  Turn on heat.  Wait.  Remove with plastic spatula.  Look at eggs.  Taste eggs.  Realize that bottom is still white and flavorless.  After this crushing disappointment, don't have breakfast eggs for another month.  Wash pan.  Cry softly.

Cast iron eggs:  Turn on heat (medium, because the eggs like that).  Go grab eggs, salt, pepper grinder, butter.  Hand over pan.  Can you feel heat above pan lip (2 inches)?  If yes, add fat and spread it.  Salt and pepper pan.  Crack in eggs.  Cover pan with that old baking sheet that you keep by the sink, if desired.  Push down bread in toaster.  Pour milk/juice/bourbon, get out plate and fork and a knife for the butter.  Toast pops.  Move eggs a little with metal spatula, realize they are slipping, tilt pan so you can slide eggs onto spatula and then transfer onto plate.  Butter toast.  Salud!  Eat those eggs with delicious brown bottoms and dip your toast in the yolk.  Fully intend to wipe out pan while it is still warm, but forget while browsing the forums.  A few hours later, when you finally remember, wipe out pan with a quarter-piece of a paper towel.  No washing, no reseasoning, no fuss.  Place pan back on burner until you're hungry again, which is going to be tomorrow because tonight you will dream about those lovely eggs.

Funny story:
Former roommate and I were talking about cast iron.  I did not own any yet.  He was a little weirded out that the seasoning doesn't get washed and mentioned that there is no way it could be clean and food-safe.  It turns out that he thought the "seasoning" was an accumulation of spices/"seasonings," so a rather wet and gritty layer of strongly-flavored crud...

EricL

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #109 on: July 06, 2016, 09:05:15 PM »
I'm happy to say I found a rather gross old iron skillet from the early 60's at the thrift store. I think the original owner used it exclusively over a camp fire. A little oven cleaner, wire brushing and some flax oil seasoning later it cooks like a champ. 

I still have and use Teflon and they've lasted over a decade. They're OK.  But there's no doubt my mind which pan is going to outlast the other.

If you can get an old skillet without the pebbled surface. There's plenty of lore on the web on how to clean, season and care for them but IMO it doesn't really make that much of a difference. It's all well mirrored here. Just don't:

- Expose them to heat beyond stove temperatures which may cause them to crack
- Melt lead in them (some people did back in the day to make bullets-then cooked in them)
- Exorcise the ghosts of great grandma's hundreds of tasty meals by washing them with soap and hot water. If you don't believe in those ghosts or it's not your grandma, go ahead and do it if it helps strip the  odd hard to remove food. Then re season.

SoccerLounge

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #110 on: July 06, 2016, 09:41:08 PM »
If I can find one cheap enough, I'm thinking about getting a little one just for cornbread. (By "cheap enough" I mean a thrift store find, less than 5 bucks.)

dragoncar

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #111 on: July 06, 2016, 09:51:30 PM »


OK, it's been over a year since I last posted.  I'm liking my cast iron pan more these days.  I think it just took a really long time to properly season (even though I bought it pre-seasoned and it's an older vintage one).  It has it's uses, but I'll still use teflon for omelettes.

I did read that it's OK to use soap from people who use them in restaurants so that might also help

I grew up with 100% non-stick pans and we were constantly told not to take pasta out of them with a fork to test a piece in case we scratched it (so had to chase bits of pasta round with a wooden spoon) and to be careful when we put them away or else they'd scratch and so on.

Plastic fork

Quote
You can use whatever utensil you want with a cast iron pan. You can stick it in the oven, on the table, on any kind of hob.

Yeah, but be careful in case it scratches the thing you put it on (common problem with glass stoves, glass tables, etc.)

shelivesthedream

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #112 on: July 07, 2016, 01:59:48 AM »


OK, it's been over a year since I last posted.  I'm liking my cast iron pan more these days.  I think it just took a really long time to properly season (even though I bought it pre-seasoned and it's an older vintage one).  It has it's uses, but I'll still use teflon for omelettes.

I did read that it's OK to use soap from people who use them in restaurants so that might also help

I grew up with 100% non-stick pans and we were constantly told not to take pasta out of them with a fork to test a piece in case we scratched it (so had to chase bits of pasta round with a wooden spoon) and to be careful when we put them away or else they'd scratch and so on.

Plastic fork

Quote
You can use whatever utensil you want with a cast iron pan. You can stick it in the oven, on the table, on any kind of hob.

Yeah, but be careful in case it scratches the thing you put it on (common problem with glass stoves, glass tables, etc.)

A major criterion for everything I buy is "not easily damaged". There is no way that glass furniture would make it past my front door.

dougules

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #113 on: July 07, 2016, 10:21:11 AM »
I still have and use Teflon and they've lasted over a decade. They're OK.  But there's no doubt my mind which pan is going to outlast the other.

My grandmother gave me one of her grandmother's skillets.  Over a century of wear has made it smooth as a baby's bottom and very well seasoned.  It's by far my favorite heirloom. 

dragoncar

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #114 on: July 07, 2016, 10:22:36 AM »
I find glass to be quite resillient, just not compared to heavy steel.  What are your tables made of?  Diamond?

shelivesthedream

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #115 on: July 07, 2016, 10:40:43 AM »
I find glass to be quite resillient, just not compared to heavy steel.  What are your tables made of?  Diamond?

Are you talking to me? Our kitchen worktops are made of some kind of plasticky laminaty thing (we rent). Our dining table is made of wood and obviously wood chips and scratches but it is dinged up enough already (bought it second hand) that one more little scratch won't make a difference. I don't really like the look of glass, but I'm sure I am also perfectly capable of dropping an entire cast iron casserole full of food through a table.

Jack

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #116 on: July 07, 2016, 11:37:35 AM »
I grew up with 100% non-stick pans and we were constantly told not to take pasta out of them with a fork to test a piece in case we scratched it (so had to chase bits of pasta round with a wooden spoon) and to be careful when we put them away or else they'd scratch and so on.

Wait a second, who cooks pasta in any kind of "pan?" Pasta should be cooked in a large stock pot, ideally a cheap plain (i.e., not clad/multilayered) stainless-steel one from the restaurant supply store. I mean, sure, you might dump it in the pan with the sauce before serving, but that should happen after the pasta is already al dente, and after you'd drained off the water.

dachs

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #117 on: July 07, 2016, 02:14:52 PM »
One problem I found is that if you make some kind of tomato sauce in the pan and let it reduce in it the season might go off. Probably because of the acid in tomatoes.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #118 on: July 07, 2016, 03:17:36 PM »
I grew up with 100% non-stick pans and we were constantly told not to take pasta out of them with a fork to test a piece in case we scratched it (so had to chase bits of pasta round with a wooden spoon) and to be careful when we put them away or else they'd scratch and so on.

Wait a second, who cooks pasta in any kind of "pan?" Pasta should be cooked in a large stock pot, ideally a cheap plain (i.e., not clad/multilayered) stainless-steel one from the restaurant supply store. I mean, sure, you might dump it in the pan with the sauce before serving, but that should happen after the pasta is already al dente, and after you'd drained off the water.

Perhaps this is a problem of across-the-pond nomenclature... I'm talking like a saucepan not like a frying pan. I googled stock pot and it looks just like my jam pan...

Jack

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #119 on: July 07, 2016, 03:48:34 PM »
Perhaps this is a problem of across-the-pond nomenclature... I'm talking like a saucepan not like a frying pan. I googled stock pot and it looks just like my jam pan...

I'd define a pot as a vessel whose height exceeds its diameter. I suppose maybe you could get by boiling pasta in a very large saucepan, but TV chefs tend to recommend cooking 1 lb of pasta in no less than 4 qts of water, and a saucepan that large would be too wide to fit properly on a typical stove burner. Looking at Amazon.com, most things 4 qts and over start getting labeled "pots."

dragoncar

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #120 on: July 07, 2016, 05:45:58 PM »
I grew up with 100% non-stick pans and we were constantly told not to take pasta out of them with a fork to test a piece in case we scratched it (so had to chase bits of pasta round with a wooden spoon) and to be careful when we put them away or else they'd scratch and so on.

Wait a second, who cooks pasta in any kind of "pan?" Pasta should be cooked in a large stock pot, ideally a cheap plain (i.e., not clad/multilayered) stainless-steel one from the restaurant supply store. I mean, sure, you might dump it in the pan with the sauce before serving, but that should happen after the pasta is already al dente, and after you'd drained off the water.

Perhaps this is a problem of across-the-pond nomenclature... I'm talking like a saucepan not like a frying pan. I googled stock pot and it looks just like my jam pan...

Don't worry, not only did I know what you meant but I have cooked pasta in a frying pan before.  The secret to cooking pasta quickly is getting the water boiling as fast as possible.  Over gas heat, this is best accomplished with the widest cooking vessel so no flames go up the sides of the pot (reducing efficiency), and the minimum possible amount of water.  Once you have boiling water, you only need enough to cover the pasta to achieve your goal.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 06:02:02 PM by dragoncar »

Diniecita

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #121 on: July 26, 2016, 02:37:11 PM »
I'm a bit of a foodie and a purist so keep that in mind when reading my response.

I don't "baby" my cast iron and I cook with them exclusively. I use lard to cook with from grass finished hogs. (Its so good!!) I cook everything in mine. I have 2 pans and a large stew pot that are cast iron. I love them. I think the key here is was it seasoned to begin with? Did you buy it new? The lodge brand says they are seasoned, but they don't last long and while it is a quality product-the seasoning isn't quality in my opinion. I usually season them when I get a new one, or like the stew pot that I bought used, I scrub them out with steel wool and then let the oil I have sit in the bottom for a bit on the stove top on low to get the pores to open a bit. (The whole reason you season it is because it is a porous surface.) Then I make sure that theo oil is all over the pan, sides, bottom, handle...everything. I place the pan in the oven at 550F at least, upside down. I let it stay in there for an hour or two. Then I turn the oven off and let it stay in there until it cools. Usually I do this in the early winter to warm up the house and season the pan at the same time. I like to double up like this so I'm not wasting resources (and money)  I usually start this at dusk so I can turn off the oven before bed and the house warms up nicely for the night.

NEVER USE SOAP!! If you do use soap, you have to rinse it really well and re-season it again.
I have a chainmail scrubber that I use to clean mine with when I am done cooking. I use only water with it. It get everything out of it. I dry it on the stove top and put a few drops of oil in and rub it in. Then it goes back under the cabinet. Salt is a good choice as well, but you need to have salt on hand all the time if you are going to use this method.
I'm pretty cheap. The scrubber is $10, but you could easy spend that on salt for the year trying to keep it clean.
Hope this helps.

OlyFish

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #122 on: August 15, 2016, 03:33:06 PM »
we had a pan that got all rusted from misguided cleaning attempts.

we got it sandblasted, then used flaxseed oil to reseason. basically, you put flaxseed oil over the whole thing, put it in a cold oven, and turn it up to about 500 degrees and leave it there for a couple of hours. once it cools down, repeat a few times so you get multiple levels of the oil polymerized and built up on the cast iron. Flaxseed oil will harden and be stable after heating, much like a food safe linseed oil. This has helped better than anything else we used.

if you have a gas grill, that may be even better because it is not going to smoke inside the house as much.




Chris22

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #123 on: August 18, 2016, 08:02:54 AM »
Maybe a stupid question...I had a cheapo cast iron pan ($15 from Target) that I put on the coals in my grill and then the oil in the pan caught fire.  Is the pan toast, or can I just scrub it out and move on?

Rezdent

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #124 on: August 18, 2016, 08:09:48 AM »
Maybe a stupid question...I had a cheapo cast iron pan ($15 from Target) that I put on the coals in my grill and then the oil in the pan caught fire.  Is the pan toast, or can I just scrub it out and move on?
It will be fine. In fact, you might burn the rest off to make scrubbing easier. You might need to re-season it.  I've never had one that couldn't be cleaned up.  The only time I've lost cast iron is when I dropped it and it cracked.

dougules

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #125 on: August 18, 2016, 08:16:51 AM »
Maybe a stupid question...I had a cheapo cast iron pan ($15 from Target) that I put on the coals in my grill and then the oil in the pan caught fire.  Is the pan toast, or can I just scrub it out and move on?
It will be fine. In fact, you might burn the rest off to make scrubbing easier. You might need to re-season it.  I've never had one that couldn't be cleaned up.  The only time I've lost cast iron is when I dropped it and it cracked.

I'm told that way back in the day they actually used to clean cast iron by throwing it in the fire. 

You should definitely re-season before putting it away, though

Chris22

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #126 on: August 18, 2016, 09:03:20 AM »
Maybe a stupid question...I had a cheapo cast iron pan ($15 from Target) that I put on the coals in my grill and then the oil in the pan caught fire.  Is the pan toast, or can I just scrub it out and move on?
It will be fine. In fact, you might burn the rest off to make scrubbing easier. You might need to re-season it.  I've never had one that couldn't be cleaned up.  The only time I've lost cast iron is when I dropped it and it cracked.

I'm told that way back in the day they actually used to clean cast iron by throwing it in the fire. 

You should definitely re-season before putting it away, though

So, uh, it happened a month or two ago.  It's been sitting in my basement untouched since. 

Spork

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #127 on: August 18, 2016, 09:14:18 AM »
Maybe a stupid question...I had a cheapo cast iron pan ($15 from Target) that I put on the coals in my grill and then the oil in the pan caught fire.  Is the pan toast, or can I just scrub it out and move on?
It will be fine. In fact, you might burn the rest off to make scrubbing easier. You might need to re-season it.  I've never had one that couldn't be cleaned up.  The only time I've lost cast iron is when I dropped it and it cracked.

I'm told that way back in the day they actually used to clean cast iron by throwing it in the fire. 

You should definitely re-season before putting it away, though

So, uh, it happened a month or two ago.  It's been sitting in my basement untouched since.

My wife is a cast iron nut.  She is fine with everyone washing them with soap and doing all sorts of things that are historical "no-no's".  She swears using the "toss it in the fire" (or "use the cleaning cycle on an oven") methods will re-temper the pan and damage it on a molecular level.  I've seen her reject nice looking pans at garage sales because she will exclaim "That's been over heated in a fire." 

With This Herring

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #128 on: August 18, 2016, 09:16:48 AM »
Maybe a stupid question...I had a cheapo cast iron pan ($15 from Target) that I put on the coals in my grill and then the oil in the pan caught fire.  Is the pan toast, or can I just scrub it out and move on?
It will be fine. In fact, you might burn the rest off to make scrubbing easier. You might need to re-season it.  I've never had one that couldn't be cleaned up.  The only time I've lost cast iron is when I dropped it and it cracked.

I'm told that way back in the day they actually used to clean cast iron by throwing it in the fire. 

You should definitely re-season before putting it away, though

So, uh, it happened a month or two ago.  It's been sitting in my basement untouched since.

It's fine!  It's a nice lump of shaped iron.  Even if it has rust on it now, besides the burn marks, it's fine.  Just heat it up, scrub it out, and reseason it before you use it.  The only ways you can permanently hurt your pan would be to drop it enough to crack it or heat it so quickly and unevenly that it warps.  If it is still as pan-shaped as when you got it, with no cracks, it is fine.

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #129 on: August 18, 2016, 09:26:09 AM »
Maybe a stupid question...I had a cheapo cast iron pan ($15 from Target) that I put on the coals in my grill and then the oil in the pan caught fire.  Is the pan toast, or can I just scrub it out and move on?
It will be fine. In fact, you might burn the rest off to make scrubbing easier. You might need to re-season it.  I've never had one that couldn't be cleaned up.  The only time I've lost cast iron is when I dropped it and it cracked.

I'm told that way back in the day they actually used to clean cast iron by throwing it in the fire. 

You should definitely re-season before putting it away, though

So, uh, it happened a month or two ago.  It's been sitting in my basement untouched since.

It's fine!  It's a nice lump of shaped iron.  Even if it has rust on it now, besides the burn marks, it's fine.  Just heat it up, scrub it out, and reseason it before you use it.  The only ways you can permanently hurt your pan would be to drop it enough to crack it or heat it so quickly and unevenly that it warps.  If it is still as pan-shaped as when you got it, with no cracks, it is fine.


Cool.  Thanks!

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #130 on: August 18, 2016, 10:19:44 AM »
Maybe a stupid question...I had a cheapo cast iron pan ($15 from Target) that I put on the coals in my grill and then the oil in the pan caught fire.  Is the pan toast, or can I just scrub it out and move on?
It will be fine. In fact, you might burn the rest off to make scrubbing easier. You might need to re-season it.  I've never had one that couldn't be cleaned up.  The only time I've lost cast iron is when I dropped it and it cracked.

I'm told that way back in the day they actually used to clean cast iron by throwing it in the fire. 

You should definitely re-season before putting it away, though

So, uh, it happened a month or two ago.  It's been sitting in my basement untouched since.

It's fine!  It's a nice lump of shaped iron.  Even if it has rust on it now, besides the burn marks, it's fine.  Just heat it up, scrub it out, and reseason it before you use it.  The only ways you can permanently hurt your pan would be to drop it enough to crack it or heat it so quickly and unevenly that it warps.  If it is still as pan-shaped as when you got it, with no cracks, it is fine.


Cool.  Thanks!

One other thing, not re-seasoning it isn't going to hurt the skillet at all.  The worst that can happen if you don't is that the next thing you cook on it might stick.  It wouldn't be any worse than a stainless steel pan. 

My wife is a cast iron nut.  She is fine with everyone washing them with soap and doing all sorts of things that are historical "no-no's".  She swears using the "toss it in the fire" (or "use the cleaning cycle on an oven") methods will re-temper the pan and damage it on a molecular level.  I've seen her reject nice looking pans at garage sales because she will exclaim "That's been over heated in a fire."

No offense, but I'm a bit skeptical on this one. 
« Last Edit: August 18, 2016, 10:27:02 AM by dougules »

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #131 on: August 18, 2016, 11:31:46 AM »
My wife is a cast iron nut.  She is fine with everyone washing them with soap and doing all sorts of things that are historical "no-no's".  She swears using the "toss it in the fire" (or "use the cleaning cycle on an oven") methods will re-temper the pan and damage it on a molecular level.  I've seen her reject nice looking pans at garage sales because she will exclaim "That's been over heated in a fire."

No offense, but I'm a bit skeptical on this one.
If the pan gets really hot and then cools too quickly, then yes, the grain structure will be different and the pan will be more brittle.  But we're talking *really* high temperatures, well in excess of 1400 degrees.  Tempering *does* happen at lower temperatures, but "damage" is not the word I'd use to describe the effects.  Tempering generally results in the iron being somewhat softer, but that shouldn't have any effect on your ability to cook on it.

Telecaster

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #132 on: August 18, 2016, 11:40:09 AM »
This is a great thread!  Lots of interesting opinions here, I'll toss my two cents:

-- My wife and I both like to cook, so when we combined households we wound up with a lot of pots and pans, so I have quite a few to choose from.  Over time, I found myself reaching for the cast iron more and more until that was pretty much all I was using.  It wasn't a plan, it is just what I wound up doing because I liked the results.  The cast iron just flat out works better.   So that's the pan I use.   

--But I still use a non-stick for eggs!  Part of advantage is the curved sides of the non-stick make it easier to get the eggs out of the pan.  Just tilt and slide.  Can't do that with cast iron.   

--Except for eggs and egg-like foods, Teflon pans are steaming heaps of garbage!  You can't put them in the oven except at low temp, the fond doesn't develop, they have hot and cold spots, they don't hold heat, you have to be gentle, and they don't last.   Someone mentioned they didn't like to pre-heat cast iron.  In my experience, you really needs to pre-heat Teflon because the heat is so uneven, so you need time to get the whole pan up a uniform temperature.   Eggs are a low heat food, so the Teflon works okay.  But for higher heat stuff, the pan never becomes uniform and the food doesn't cook evenly.  Completely unsuitable for everyday cooking. 

--I almost always wash my cast-iron pan with water, and sometimes I use soap!   The "don't wash with water" rule never made a lick of sense to me.  All food, especially vegetables contain water. So there will always be some water in the pan when you cook, so if water itself was a problem our pans would have dissolved away years ago.  The problem is water remaining on the pan when not in use.  So I simply wash it out, dry thoroughly, and put it on a burner for a few minutes while I finish cleaning up the kitchen.  Sometimes I put a coat of oil on it first, but sometimes I don't.  Similarly, think about what soap is.  It is basically water soluble fat, right?   In the old days, they made soap from fat.   Well, I use fat in my pan all the time.   And I use water in my pan all the time.  So I don't see why I can't use water soluble fat.  I use soap sparingly of course,  and most of the time I  simply don't need to, it comes clean with a scrape and a rinse.   I've never re-seasoned and the pan just keeps getting better.   






Telecaster

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #133 on: August 18, 2016, 11:50:33 AM »

It's fine!  It's a nice lump of shaped iron.  Even if it has rust on it now, besides the burn marks, it's fine.  Just heat it up, scrub it out, and reseason it before you use it.  The only ways you can permanently hurt your pan would be to drop it enough to crack it or heat it so quickly and unevenly that it warps.  If it is still as pan-shaped as when you got it, with no cracks, it is fine.

^ This!  And if it really rusty or unsightly, take a sander to it.  That will take the rust right off, easy peasy.  Then re-season and you are good to go. 

And by the way, since we are comparing the merits of cast iron vs. Teflon, can you fix your Teflon pan with a belt sander?  If the answer is no, it is time to rethink your choice of cookware  :) 

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #134 on: August 18, 2016, 02:48:37 PM »

It's fine!  It's a nice lump of shaped iron.  Even if it has rust on it now, besides the burn marks, it's fine.  Just heat it up, scrub it out, and reseason it before you use it.  The only ways you can permanently hurt your pan would be to drop it enough to crack it or heat it so quickly and unevenly that it warps.  If it is still as pan-shaped as when you got it, with no cracks, it is fine.

^ This!  And if it really rusty or unsightly, take a sander to it.  That will take the rust right off, easy peasy.  Then re-season and you are good to go. 

And by the way, since we are comparing the merits of cast iron vs. Teflon, can you fix your Teflon pan with a belt sander?  If the answer is no, it is time to rethink your choice of cookware  :)

I have honestly never thought of a belt sander as a kitchen appliance. Thank you for expanding my frame of reference. :D

dougules

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #135 on: August 18, 2016, 03:33:55 PM »
My wife is a cast iron nut.  She is fine with everyone washing them with soap and doing all sorts of things that are historical "no-no's".  She swears using the "toss it in the fire" (or "use the cleaning cycle on an oven") methods will re-temper the pan and damage it on a molecular level.  I've seen her reject nice looking pans at garage sales because she will exclaim "That's been over heated in a fire."

No offense, but I'm a bit skeptical on this one.
If the pan gets really hot and then cools too quickly, then yes, the grain structure will be different and the pan will be more brittle.  But we're talking *really* high temperatures, well in excess of 1400 degrees.  Tempering *does* happen at lower temperatures, but "damage" is not the word I'd use to describe the effects.  Tempering generally results in the iron being somewhat softer, but that shouldn't have any effect on your ability to cook on it.

Would tempering affect its ability to hold a seasoning?  How exactly does seasoning work?

With This Herring

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #136 on: August 18, 2016, 04:01:44 PM »
*snip*
--But I still use a non-stick for eggs!  Part of advantage is the curved sides of the non-stick make it easier to get the eggs out of the pan.  Just tilt and slide.  Can't do that with cast iron.   

--Except for eggs and egg-like foods, Teflon pans are steaming heaps of garbage!  You can't put them in the oven except at low temp, the fond doesn't develop, they have hot and cold spots, they don't hold heat, you have to be gentle, and they don't last.   Someone mentioned they didn't like to pre-heat cast iron.  In my experience, you really needs to pre-heat Teflon because the heat is so uneven, so you need time to get the whole pan up a uniform temperature.   Eggs are a low heat food, so the Teflon works okay.  But for higher heat stuff, the pan never becomes uniform and the food doesn't cook evenly.  Completely unsuitable for everyday cooking. 
*snip*

Using a potholder to grip the handle, I tilt my cast iron pan over the plate while picking up the eggs a little with the spatula to slide/lift them onto the plate.  (This is tricky to describe, but simple to accomplish.)  Trust me, you are REALLY missing out on delicious eggs by cooking them on a nonstick pan.  Sunny side up eggs and omelets both get this lovely, fried crispy bottom...yum!  Eggs turn out all wonky and gross when I try to make them in our (ceramic, pet bird-safe) non-stick pan.  You might have luck with a cast iron griddle if that sounds appealing.

A++ for belt sander as a kitchen standard!

*snip*
Would tempering affect its ability to hold a seasoning?  How exactly does seasoning work?

I would not think that tempering would cause issues with seasoning a pan.

Seasoning on a pan is basically (if I understand it correctly) a thin layer of polymerized oil that adheres to the pan and provides that lovely, nonstick surface.  For a really great explanation and how-to, see Sheryl Canter's research and explanation.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #137 on: August 18, 2016, 08:12:08 PM »
With This Herring - I actually prefer an orbital sander--it gets all the way around the pan easier.
Would tempering affect its ability to hold a seasoning?  How exactly does seasoning work?
No, tempering will not affect the ability for the pan to hold its seasoning.  And With This Herring is precisely correct about what exactly seasoning is.

FrugalShrew

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #138 on: August 19, 2016, 07:40:27 AM »
*snip*
--But I still use a non-stick for eggs!  Part of advantage is the curved sides of the non-stick make it easier to get the eggs out of the pan.  Just tilt and slide.  Can't do that with cast iron.   

--Except for eggs and egg-like foods, Teflon pans are steaming heaps of garbage!  You can't put them in the oven except at low temp, the fond doesn't develop, they have hot and cold spots, they don't hold heat, you have to be gentle, and they don't last.   Someone mentioned they didn't like to pre-heat cast iron.  In my experience, you really needs to pre-heat Teflon because the heat is so uneven, so you need time to get the whole pan up a uniform temperature.   Eggs are a low heat food, so the Teflon works okay.  But for higher heat stuff, the pan never becomes uniform and the food doesn't cook evenly.  Completely unsuitable for everyday cooking. 
*snip*

Using a potholder to grip the handle, I tilt my cast iron pan over the plate while picking up the eggs a little with the spatula to slide/lift them onto the plate.  (This is tricky to describe, but simple to accomplish.)  Trust me, you are REALLY missing out on delicious eggs by cooking them on a nonstick pan.  Sunny side up eggs and omelets both get this lovely, fried crispy bottom...yum! 

Agreed. Eggs in a cast iron pan are the most crispy and delicious!!!

KCM5

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #139 on: August 19, 2016, 07:55:01 AM »
I had this problem when I first started cooking with cast iron: I was overthinking it. I was worried about seasoning, ruining the pans, cooking the wrong thing in them, blah blah blah. And then I realized that my mother has a couple of cast iron pans. She's a generally poor housekeeper and seems to be able to keep the pan in reasonable shape, so it couldn't be that hard!

I have three pans, one family heirloom vintage, one purchased at an antique store, and one Lodge purchased new. And a carbon steel wok. They all get the same treatment and they all work great.

Cook as one normally does. For frying eggs, get the pan really hot, add cold oil, wait 20 seconds, then add eggs. Do not cook acidic sauces in cast iron long term. A quick tomato sauce is fine but I would never simmer it for hours.

I clean them with soap and water in the sink like all my other pans. The only thing I do differently is dry them on the stove instead of letting them drip dry. Seriously, that's the only thing. Well, I'm also more hesitant to use steel wool on them than my stainless and aluminum pans, but I do it when things are really stuck. I don't oil them, but maybe I cook with enough oil? I don't know.

One thing that I've always been suspicious of is the idea that teflon is bad for us but the polymer I made myself in my kitchen is okay. So I don't do it for the health benefits (although I don't own any teflon pans, so maybe I do?), I just like that they're pretty much indestructible and cook really well. I've gotten my pots and pans down to things that won't wear out, are all the right sizes, and I don't ever have to think about them. Works for me.

dougules

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #140 on: August 19, 2016, 09:11:30 AM »
*snip*
Would tempering affect its ability to hold a seasoning?  How exactly does seasoning work?

I would not think that tempering would cause issues with seasoning a pan.

Seasoning on a pan is basically (if I understand it correctly) a thin layer of polymerized oil that adheres to the pan and provides that lovely, nonstick surface.  For a really great explanation and how-to, see Sheryl Canter's research and explanation.

I guess I'll have to find a bottle of flax seed oil. 

With This Herring

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #141 on: August 19, 2016, 11:18:17 AM »
I had this problem when I first started cooking with cast iron: I was overthinking it. I was worried about seasoning, ruining the pans, cooking the wrong thing in them, blah blah blah. And then I realized that my mother has a couple of cast iron pans. She's a generally poor housekeeper and seems to be able to keep the pan in reasonable shape, so it couldn't be that hard!
*snip*

Oh wow, that is a good point.  My paternal grandmother was a bad cook, and the pan came to me with no issues.

*snip*
I don't oil them, but maybe I cook with enough oil? I don't know.

One thing that I've always been suspicious of is the idea that teflon is bad for us but the polymer I made myself in my kitchen is okay. So I don't do it for the health benefits (although I don't own any teflon pans, so maybe I do?), I just like that they're pretty much indestructible and cook really well. I've gotten my pots and pans down to things that won't wear out, are all the right sizes, and I don't ever have to think about them. Works for me.

I don't go and specifically oil mine most of the time.  Usually just cooking in it is plenty.  If part looks a little dry or less seasoned, I will rub some of the leftover fat from cooking onto it, but I don't think it makes a big difference.

As for Teflon, I don't think it is too big a deal in most households, unless you keep it when it has started chipping (which means Teflon in your food).  However, burning Teflon (such as if a pan sits too long on a hot stove) is known to be toxic and will very quickly kill any birds in the vicinity.  I think we already consume oil in similar forms to the seasoning, so the thought that I may consume some of it doesn't faze me.

*snip*
For a really great explanation and how-to, see Sheryl Canter's research and explanation.
I guess I'll have to find a bottle of flax seed oil. 

Her method will give you the best seasoning I think, but you can get a perfectly good seasoning that isn't as pretty by just using the pan to cook stuff with extra fat for a while (and tolerating the period of somewhat higher stickiness).  I managed to burn off the seasoning in the center of mine like an idiot, so I just put more butter in it before the next time I cooked eggs.  Gradually the seasoning built back up.

dougules

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #142 on: August 19, 2016, 11:42:32 AM »
*snip*
For a really great explanation and how-to, see Sheryl Canter's research and explanation.
I guess I'll have to find a bottle of flax seed oil. 

Her method will give you the best seasoning I think, but you can get a perfectly good seasoning that isn't as pretty by just using the pan to cook stuff with extra fat for a while (and tolerating the period of somewhat higher stickiness).  I managed to burn off the seasoning in the center of mine like an idiot, so I just put more butter in it before the next time I cooked eggs.  Gradually the seasoning built back up.

I already do season it with whatever fat I'm cooking with, usually olive oil or butter, but now I can strategically pick a better oil for when I reseason after cleaning.  It looks like grape seed and sunflower are decent, too. 

I occasionally sear my food on cast iron, and I know that it will burn the seasoning off.  It may not be the healthiest thing, but it tastes good.  It doesn't hurt the skillet.  I just clean and reseason with no problems. 

Fishindude

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #143 on: August 19, 2016, 12:49:00 PM »
One thing about cast iron ... It's a hunk of heavy cast iron, you can't hardly ruin it if you tried!

You can burn spagetti in it, wash with dish soap, drag it behind your pickup, melt a rubber ducky in it, let it sit out and rust or whatever.   
Worst case, you sand blast it clean and start the seasoning process over from scratch.

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #144 on: August 19, 2016, 02:28:07 PM »

My wife is a cast iron nut.  She is fine with everyone washing them with soap and doing all sorts of things that are historical "no-no's".  She swears using the "toss it in the fire" (or "use the cleaning cycle on an oven") methods will re-temper the pan and damage it on a molecular level.  I've seen her reject nice looking pans at garage sales because she will exclaim "That's been over heated in a fire."

No offense, but I'm a bit skeptical on this one.

My (limited) understanding is there are several things that can happen:
* it cracks.  Often hairline such that you cannot see it.  Apparently if you thump it, you can tell if it is cracked by it's particular "ring".
* it warps.  Set it on a flat surface.  If it wobbles, it's toast.
* it re-tempers.  If this happens, you will, over time, get pitting of the iron.

If the pan gets really hot and then cools too quickly, then yes, the grain structure will be different and the pan will be more brittle.  But we're talking *really* high temperatures, well in excess of 1400 degrees.  Tempering *does* happen at lower temperatures, but "damage" is not the word I'd use to describe the effects.  Tempering generally results in the iron being somewhat softer, but that shouldn't have any effect on your ability to cook on it.

1400 is totally do-able in a wood fire.  It will depend on how hot the fire is and how long it's in there.  Lump charcoal burns around 1300 -- and lump charcoal is just hardwoods that have been kiln fired.  A nice hardwood fire will get you right in that ballpark if it's got lots of coals.   A lot of amateur blacksmithing is just done with wood and/or lump charcoal fires.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #145 on: August 19, 2016, 02:45:35 PM »

My wife is a cast iron nut.  She is fine with everyone washing them with soap and doing all sorts of things that are historical "no-no's".  She swears using the "toss it in the fire" (or "use the cleaning cycle on an oven") methods will re-temper the pan and damage it on a molecular level.  I've seen her reject nice looking pans at garage sales because she will exclaim "That's been over heated in a fire."

No offense, but I'm a bit skeptical on this one.

My (limited) understanding is there are several things that can happen:
* it cracks.  Often hairline such that you cannot see it.  Apparently if you thump it, you can tell if it is cracked by it's particular "ring".
* it warps.  Set it on a flat surface.  If it wobbles, it's toast.
* it re-tempers.  If this happens, you will, over time, get pitting of the iron.

If the pan gets really hot and then cools too quickly, then yes, the grain structure will be different and the pan will be more brittle.  But we're talking *really* high temperatures, well in excess of 1400 degrees.  Tempering *does* happen at lower temperatures, but "damage" is not the word I'd use to describe the effects.  Tempering generally results in the iron being somewhat softer, but that shouldn't have any effect on your ability to cook on it.

1400 is totally do-able in a wood fire.  It will depend on how hot the fire is and how long it's in there.  Lump charcoal burns around 1300 -- and lump charcoal is just hardwoods that have been kiln fired.  A nice hardwood fire will get you right in that ballpark if it's got lots of coals.   A lot of amateur blacksmithing is just done with wood and/or lump charcoal fires.
All true.  Cracking and warping you can't do a whole lot, other than getting it red hot and pounding it back into shape :)  But tempering is merely a type of heat treating, and can be undone.

Spork

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #146 on: August 19, 2016, 02:52:53 PM »

My wife is a cast iron nut.  She is fine with everyone washing them with soap and doing all sorts of things that are historical "no-no's".  She swears using the "toss it in the fire" (or "use the cleaning cycle on an oven") methods will re-temper the pan and damage it on a molecular level.  I've seen her reject nice looking pans at garage sales because she will exclaim "That's been over heated in a fire."

No offense, but I'm a bit skeptical on this one.

My (limited) understanding is there are several things that can happen:
* it cracks.  Often hairline such that you cannot see it.  Apparently if you thump it, you can tell if it is cracked by it's particular "ring".
* it warps.  Set it on a flat surface.  If it wobbles, it's toast.
* it re-tempers.  If this happens, you will, over time, get pitting of the iron.

If the pan gets really hot and then cools too quickly, then yes, the grain structure will be different and the pan will be more brittle.  But we're talking *really* high temperatures, well in excess of 1400 degrees.  Tempering *does* happen at lower temperatures, but "damage" is not the word I'd use to describe the effects.  Tempering generally results in the iron being somewhat softer, but that shouldn't have any effect on your ability to cook on it.

1400 is totally do-able in a wood fire.  It will depend on how hot the fire is and how long it's in there.  Lump charcoal burns around 1300 -- and lump charcoal is just hardwoods that have been kiln fired.  A nice hardwood fire will get you right in that ballpark if it's got lots of coals.   A lot of amateur blacksmithing is just done with wood and/or lump charcoal fires.
All true.  Cracking and warping you can't do a whole lot, other than getting it red hot and pounding it back into shape :)  But tempering is merely a type of heat treating, and can be undone.

True.  Unless you don't know you've done it and your pan gets pitted.  The pitting might be fixable by grinding... don't know.  I don't think I have the tools to re-hone a pan...  Or if there is enough material on the older, thinner pans to re-hone it.

Tom Bri

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #147 on: August 20, 2016, 11:22:41 AM »
My Lodge pan sat unevenly on the flat cooktop. I realized it wasn't warped, just the Lodge logo in the center was slightly higher than the rest of the pan bottom. I used a steel file to take off a bit and now it sits flat. The bright shiny area I filed off started to rust, so I coated the bottom with a bit of canola oil and heated the pan until it smoked a little. Did that a couple more times and now it is as black and good as the rest.

Don't assume that a pan that sits unevenly is warped.

FireLane

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #148 on: August 20, 2016, 01:59:17 PM »
I have a big, clunky Lodge skillet that's my favorite thing in the kitchen. Teflon starts flaking off in your food after a year or two, even if you're careful not to scratch it. Cast iron is invulnerable and the only thing that it can get in your food is iron, which you need anyway, so it's all good.

I agree with the other people in this thread that you don't need to baby them. When I'm done cooking, I scrub mine out with soap, hot water and a stiff brush, dry it with a towel, then put it on the stove on a low flame until any damp spots dry out. Works just fine, and it's never shown any sign of rust. The oil I add to it in the course of regular cooking seems to be sufficient for seasoning.

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Re: Cast iron reseasoning
« Reply #149 on: August 20, 2016, 07:55:43 PM »
My Lodge pan sat unevenly on the flat cooktop. I realized it wasn't warped, just the Lodge logo in the center was slightly higher than the rest of the pan bottom. I used a steel file to take off a bit and now it sits flat.

You used a file?  By hand?  Dude, belt sander!