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Cast Iron Seasoning Won't Stay On

One more update. After my previous success I sanded the pan down to the metal to replicate the results. Once again I used flax oil and applied it liberally while trying to build up a base layer. This time though I did all of the initial seasoning sessions at a lower oven temperature (325) to prevent the base from being overly brittle. This worked perfectly. After ~5 or so lower temp seasoning sessions I finished seasoning it on my stove top at a higher temp (~450) until it turned mostly black. This created a rock hard surface that has yet to chip.

Now that it has a base layer built up it seems to be able to handle higher temperature seasonings better. I have cooked bacon (my pan's previous nemesis) on it without so much as a flake coming off.

I initially got the idea to do the base layer at a lower temperature from BlackIronDude (http://blackirondude.blogspot.com/200...) and it turns out he was on to something.

Though don't let anyone convince you there is one best way to season cast iron. Each pan has its own personality.

May 13, 2012
Octang in Cookware

Cast Iron Seasoning Won't Stay On

OK so here is the answer to the problem: The seasoning layer was way too thin. I was following the advice of the crowd the recommends real thin layers of oil when seasoning cast iron but that wasn't letting me get a thick enough base layer, even after 6+ seasonings. I still subscribe to that advice but for the initial layer of seasoning it shouldn't be thin.

Once I have a base layer built up then I will apply thin layers of seasoning, as often recommended. However, for the initial few layers I will apply it as thick as possible.

With the thicker layer of seasoning I still had some flaking but it wasn't nearly as bad as what is shown in my initial photo. I plan to sand off the seasoning I just built and do this again just to replicate and improve my results.

Apr 29, 2012
Octang in Cookware

Can I restore this silver plated flatware?

They are a verity of different manufactures. Some are 1847 Roger Bros, 900 WB, Senate and others.

Where do I find someone to replate these? I don't know where to begin looking.

Apr 20, 2012
Octang in Cookware

How do you store your cast iron/carbon steel??

Store it dry. Add oil as needed right before cooking with it and then wipe it clean again when done. Storing it wiped with oil is not only unnecessary but also attracts dust and grime.

Apr 19, 2012
Octang in Cookware

"No mom, you don't have to cook..."

I never thought my mom was a good cook. I went to a religious elementary school and in 3rd grade when it was my turn to pray in class I prayed my mom would learn how to cook. The teacher told my mom and we still laugh about it.

Apr 19, 2012
Octang in Not About Food

Can I restore this silver plated flatware?

Please view the attached photos.

Today I came across 28 pieces of silver plated flatware that is in pretty rough shape. I would like to restore them to look perfectly shiny and new, but I do not know if they are beyond salvageable.

The picture of the two spoons shows an example of a few pieces that are in the best condition. You can see in the other pictures the pieces have a dark tarnish with streaks and splotching. There are rust spots on some and in the big ladle you can see green discoloration of some sort (but I don't know what that is).

I moderately familiar with sticking silver in boiling water with aluminum foil, baking soda and salt to remove tarnish, but given the state of these items will that be enough? Is there any hope to get these looking great again?

I'd appreciate any insight!

Apr 19, 2012
Octang in Cookware

Cast Iron Seasoning Won't Stay On

Yeah, sadly this is my only 12" cast iron pan I own right now so I cannot really compare the results to any other pan. However I am monitoring Craigslist to find some hidden gems in the area that I can play with. I would love to try my experiments with other similar pans to figure out where the problem lies.

Mar 31, 2012
Octang in Cookware

Cast Iron Seasoning Won't Stay On

In a previous post tonight I mentioned that I am starting over from scratch again with this pan to try out a new idea. In case you have comments, this is what I'm doing:

After I lightly sanded down the floor of the pan to start over I am doing the following to season the pan with Flax Oil:

Two seasoning sessions in the oven @ 250 degrees for 1 hour each.
Then
Six session in the oven @ 450 degrees for 1 hour each (bringing up the oven temp slowly, in increments)

In each session I lightly coat the pan with oil, then wipe it out with a dry paper towel to ensure it is truly a thin layer.

At this point I plan to cook eggs on medium heat. If that does not cause flaking I will then cook bacon on medium heat.

I have been mainly trying high temp seasonings previously, however I got the idea to do a low temp initial seasoning here: http://blackirondude.blogspot.com/200...

I'll update the results.

Mar 31, 2012
Octang in Cookware

Cast Iron Seasoning Won't Stay On

Sadly none of my friends use CI. I consider my self very competent in the kitchen and even quite knowledgeable about CI, however this stumps me. I can maintain cast iron as good as anyone, but building up the base layer of seasoning on this one pan is impossible.

I don't know if it is the pan, or just building seasoning on the bare metal, but something has made this into a unique challenge that most people apparently don't have to fight. However, I have waged this battle for a year now and I plan to keep trying new ideas until I get the results I want.

Mar 31, 2012
Octang in Cookware

Cast Iron Seasoning Won't Stay On

The issue isn't sticking food or even creating a non-stick surface. I can do that with a pan that has a base layer built up. The problem is I cannot get a hard base layer of seasoning to stay on the pan, after any sort of moderate cooking bits of bare metal shine through.

Mar 31, 2012
Octang in Cookware

Cast Iron Seasoning Won't Stay On

I had a lodge 12" pan that I sanded down to the bare metal. I am going to start over again tonight and see if I have better luck as I continue to tweak my methods.

Mar 31, 2012
Octang in Cookware

Cast Iron Seasoning Won't Stay On

Thanks for the thoughts, but the roux was not acidic. I did later turn it into a mornay, but I don't believe the added cheese makes it acidic either.

Mar 31, 2012
Octang in Cookware

Cast Iron Seasoning Won't Stay On

As an update: I re-seasoned my pan with flax oil and after a couple sessions in the oven I used the pan to make a roux. The metal from my whisk removed most of my new seasoning so I was back to bare metal again.

If I ever get this figured out how to get a durable base layer, I will update this post.

Mar 30, 2012
Octang in Cookware

Cast Iron Seasoning Won't Stay On

Thanks. I followed your postings with great interest last June (which gives you an idea how long I've been working on this). I seemed to get better results doing that with my smaller pan that fits the burner than I do with my 12" pan on my 9" burner.

Is your pan still as glassy smooth as the after picture you displayed on Jun 17, 2011 02:34 AM? Mine always end up looking like your before picture regardless of my method after a number of uses.

I think I am going to give your method another shot. I never did it for a 45 minute time period though, I mainly did it for 5-15 minutes at a pop. Maybe I'll do an extended session.

Mar 06, 2012
Octang in Cookware

Cast Iron Seasoning Won't Stay On

One of the variables I have not changed in the multiple times I have re-started this process is the cooking oil used for seasoning. Next time I restart this process I will use a different fat.

Mar 05, 2012
Octang in Cookware

Cast Iron Seasoning Won't Stay On

I'm not sure that I follow your comments about removing the seasoning - Are you saying that you think my issue relates to how I removed the previous layer of seasoning? Or are you just recommending a different method to remove seasoning? I was pretty satisfied in the results I got from the sandpaper, it smoothed out the pan just as I had hoped. I have attached an image to this post showing what the pan looked like after I sanded down the inside.

Take a look at the photo I attached in my previous post and you will see the size of the flaking. I never really notice the actual flakes coming off, I just notice the bare spots showing on the bottom of the pan.

Also, I have removed all of the seasoning and started from scratch multiple times. That is what led me to ask others for help.

Mar 05, 2012
Octang in Cookware

Cast Iron Seasoning Won't Stay On

I am on a mission to build up a good layer of cast iron seasoning from scratch, but it is not working.

I have a pan I had to sandpaper down to the metal and I have tried multiple times since then to build a strong even coat of seasoning on the pan, but to no avail. Anytime I get a base layer built up, it ends up flaking off as soon as I cook meat in it. Bacon even ruins it (which really frustrates me when I see the rest of the world just says 'cook some bacon in it to build up the seasoning'). Any type of fond on the pan will pull the seasoning off with it when cleaned.

I do not clean with soaps or metal objects. All cleaning is done with salt and paper towel and water as needed.

The only thing I can think I am possibly doing wrong is maybe the seasoning is too fresh to use for normal cooking. With this in mind, since the last time I have sanded down my pan I have only used it on below medium heat. This helped ensure food wouldn't stick to it as much and fond wouldn't build up. However, after multiple layers of seasoning and only using it on lower than medium heat the seasoning flaked off again the other night when I cooked spam in it.

The attached image shows a current picture of my pan. Last time I sanded it down I only sanded the inside bottom of the pan. That is why the sides are blacker. This is a 12" pan, which is larger than my burner, that is why the inner portion of the bottom is black and the outer area is brown. However, you will notice that even in the black center of the pan there is a lot of metal showing through where the seasoning has worn off.

What can I do to make my seasoning resilient enough that I can cook bacon in it like normal people!

Additional info: To start a base seasoning layer I lightly coat the pan with Canola oil and bake in the oven for an hour at 450 degrees (slowly coming up to temp). I then let it cool and I repeat this process a few times before I ever cook in it.

Mar 05, 2012
Octang in Cookware

How to Prevent Fries from frying too Brown

I like to make french fries from scratch. To do so I twice fry them... 325 once and 375 the second time. This seems to be the most agreed upon method. However my fries turn out to be much darker than fries I eat elsewhere.

Are there any tricks to keeping fries a light golden color?

Sep 05, 2011
Octang in Home Cooking

My Own Ground Beef Makes More Tender Burgers Than the Store

Thanks for the thoughts, that does make some sense and I'll probably set up some experiments to test that theory.

Also I am quite happy to have my thread by 'hijacked' with science. I want to gain as broad of a understanding of this topic as possible. :)

Aug 10, 2011
Octang in Home Cooking

My Own Ground Beef Makes More Tender Burgers Than the Store

That is a great idea. Next time I need meat I'll ask the butcher to grind half and I will grind the other half myself for comparison.

Today I did stop back in the store to compare my grinding plate to theirs: Mine is a little more coarse than what they use. So I assumed that accounted for the difference: Wrong! I ground up some more beef this morning using a finer grind and my burgers were still super tender.

Aug 10, 2011
Octang in Home Cooking

My Own Ground Beef Makes More Tender Burgers Than the Store

Recently I have started grinding my own beef to make hamburger patties. I've been using chuck roast with great success. I cut it up into 1" chunks and run in through my 3.5mm grinding plate twice. This has been producing amazingly tender burgers. Some of the best burgers I've ever had.

I am very happy for my success, but I don't really feel like my accomplishment is complete until I understand what makes them so great. These burgers are way more tender than the fresh ground meat I get from the meat counter at grocery stores. I even buy the stuff that hasn't been packaged or compressed... it is fresh out of their meat grinder. However I cannot begin to make burgers from their meat come close to how tender mine are.

Anyone have any ideas? I form the patties the same way in either case. The butcher showed me his grinding plate today and I wish I brought mine along to compare. It could be that they are using a finer grind and that is making the meat compact more easily. That is the only theory I can think of, unless adding meat trimmings is going to result in a tougher burger, because I know they do that too.

Aug 09, 2011
Octang in Home Cooking

How do restaurants make burger patties so tender?

I have never tried finishing the burger in the oven, but I'm interested to give it a shot.

Any ideas why finishing it in the oven leads to a more tender result than leaving it in the skillet?

(FYI, I just read one high end burger joint finishes their burgers in the oven at 375 after the initial sear)

Jul 28, 2011
Octang in Home Cooking

How do restaurants make burger patties so tender?

The rough grind is a good thought. Most of my burger meat has been twice ground because that is how my local butcher does it too, so I figured I would just copy the expert.

The first time I ground my own meat I only ran it through once, however I did not really pay attention to how tender my burger was. I will have to do that again next time I grind hamburger and see if that makes a difference. Thanks for your thoughts :)

Also, 80/20 is the ratio I always use.

Jul 28, 2011
Octang in Home Cooking

How do restaurants make burger patties so tender?

I can make a really good burger. I can grind my own meat, loosely form the patties to create a nice tender burger, but something is missing. My burgers are tender, but they are not as tender as I get in some restaurants that make a seriously good burger.

I understand some people recommend using a panade to create a tender burger, but I am guessing most restaurants don't do that. So what is their secret? What is the key to make a burger just as tender as the best restaurant? Perhaps, do I just need to find a way to handle the meat even less?

Currently I only press the meat enough to ensure the spaghetti strands of meat hold together so I can form a loose log from the meat as it comes out of the grinder, Then I cut 1/3 pound medallions off of my meat log and press them straight down into 3/4" patties. I only press as hard as needed to form the patty, being careful not to over press. I cannot think of a more delicate way to handle the burger.

I'd love to hear any thoughts from any of you who have seen these made first hand in restaurants.

Jul 28, 2011
Octang in Home Cooking

Best Bun for Gourmet Burgers

"No offense to you, OP, but I think that you are way over thinking."

You must know me! That is one of my best life skills! :p

Jul 25, 2011
Octang in Home Cooking

Best Bun for Gourmet Burgers

I like to make gourmet burgers but I haven't found a good bun to perfectly compliment the burger, and I don't want to use the traditional white bread bun. What is your favorite style of bun to place a great burger on?

Right now I think brioche buns are my favorite but I am still not satisfied. Anyone try a challah bun? That seems promising.

I want a bun that is light, moist, and has a slightly chewy crust. The bun in this pic looks amazing, but I am not sure what it is (and maybe it is the camera just making it appear more appetizing in my own head): http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3513/3...

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Jul 25, 2011
Octang in Home Cooking

How to Prep Food like a Restaurant

Thanks for the thoughts. My friend worked for a number of local restaurants and the microwaved omelet was one of the few horrible examples he gave me. It makes me sad how many restaurants put such little importance on the quality of food they serve.

If I were to ever open a cafe I would love to focus on really delivering quality to my customers... fresh not frozen ingredients, served when the meal is at peak taste. It wouldn't feel rewarding to open a restaurant only to serve what amounts to leftovers. I like the idea of estimating servings to ensure quality dishes are being served and less is wasted.

Jun 12, 2011
Octang in Home Cooking

How to Prep Food like a Restaurant

I would like to think of myself as a very competent home cook, and I often find myself dreaming about opening a restaurant someday. However, one of the things that quickly tampers that dream is the realization that knowing how to make good food is quite different that being able to serve good food in a reasonable amount of time. No matter how good my roasted pork loin sandwich is, people are not going to call me up 4 hours in advance to give me time to make it! ;)

Are there any good online resources you can think of that will provide me some direction on how to prep food in a manner that won't sacrifice quality?

I am not going to open a restaurant anytime in the near future, but I would like to get a better understanding of this subject. I hear places refrigerating omelets so they can microwave them to order, or using frozen pre-made versions of food to eliminate prep, but I don't want to sacrifice quality in the name of convenience.

Jun 12, 2011
Octang in Home Cooking

Soaking vs Rinsing Potato Shreds for Hash Browns

Thanks, I saw that thread but it didn't seem to address my question since I use a different method to cook hash browns.

Jun 10, 2011
Octang in Home Cooking

Soaking vs Rinsing Potato Shreds for Hash Browns

I make a very good homemade shredded hash brown. However I am very anal about my cooking techniques and always strive to achieve the best results possible.

When making homemade hash browns it is widely recommended to soak the potato shreds in water for a period of time to remove the starch. I also change the water during the soaking process.

As I change the water I notice the water gets cloudy almost immediately, no soaking time is really needed to make the water cloudy. So then I started just continually rinsing my shredded potatoes in a bath of water until the water runs clear (basically, just filling up a bowl and then straining the water out immediately and repeating). This takes a few minutes of constantly changing water but it is way faster than soaking.

My question: Is there any practical need to soak instead of a thorough rinse? Does the soaking time draw out additional starch that won't be otherwise extracted with a few minutes of continual rinsing? When the water runs clear does that mean you have achieved the desired result regardless of method/time?

I also enjoy Cooking Theory 101, so maybe someone can shed some light on what is happening during the soaking process. Knowing the theory behind why stuff is done allows me to adjust my cooking style as needed to achieve the same result.

FYI, I get good results with both methods, but sometimes the difference between a good dish and great dish is nuanced imo.

Jun 10, 2011
Octang in Home Cooking