Cast iron not well seasoned despite seasoning it many + times already! Plus the ODOR

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chueh

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it came pre-seasoned, yet I seasoned it with oil and bake it before the first use and many times between uses.

my sourdough bread still got stuck. I used it mainly for bread, for I don't want other food odor getting into it.

Due to infrequent usage, I started using it for oily food like salmon and beef. There's always 1/8"-1/4" fish oil from fish alone, yet fish still got stuck a little. I don't get the logic. I did pre-heat, and i heard the fish sizzling when I place the fish in.

anybody, please help?

Due to dish-washing liquid is not recommended for washing cast iron pots, now whenever i heat up the cast iron pot, the odor is so.............disgustingly bad......
What can I do?

thanks
 

JohnDB

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A seasoned pan is just that....seasoned....meaning salt.

In order for a pan to be seasoned properly you need to scrub it with salt while it's hot. (Be careful)

Then to properly season a cast iron pan the bottom has to be flat. Meaning none of the sand impressions from the casting are left on the interior.

The FIRST thing I do when I get a new cast iron pan is take a grinder and sandpaper to it...get it down to bare metal beyond the silica/iron finish that won't be smooth or flat or behave in a non-stick fashion.

Then season it with shortening (crisco or equal substitute) or linseed or flaxseed or grapeseed oil. It takes an hour or more at 500⁰F for a super thin coat of either of the before mentioned oils to polymerize. Which is what creates the finish that is nonstick. I usually do 3 layers before even trying to cook on it.

I also turn the pan upside down when baking on a new nonstick finish. Then before I use it I get it hot and rub the cooking surface down with salt and oil. Get it up to temp and cook. I also clean it with more salt afterwards.
 

chueh

Senior Cook
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Feb 9, 2009
Messages
136
A seasoned pan is just that....seasoned....meaning salt.

In order for a pan to be seasoned properly you need to scrub it with salt while it's hot. (Be careful)

Then to properly season a cast iron pan the bottom has to be flat. Meaning none of the sand impressions from the casting are left on the interior.

The FIRST thing I do when I get a new cast iron pan is take a grinder and sandpaper to it...get it down to bare metal beyond the silica/iron finish that won't be smooth or flat or behave in a non-stick fashion.

Then season it with shortening (crisco or equal substitute) or linseed or flaxseed or grapeseed oil. It takes an hour or more at 500⁰F for a super thin coat of either of the before mentioned oils to polymerize. Which is what creates the finish that is nonstick. I usually do 3 layers before even trying to cook on it.

I also turn the pan upside down when baking on a new nonstick finish. Then before I use it I get it hot and rub the cooking surface down with salt and oil. Get it up to temp and cook. I also clean it with more salt afterwards.
Oh, My!

Thank you John. No one has ever mentioned about seasoning with salt!!! Wow!

Then, the sanding.... I noticed that there are hundreds of dollar cast iron pan vs. $30-40. Not much difference between them, except the expensive ones are all SMOOTH, while the cheap ones are all bumpy. As you probably guessed, mine is very bumpy

thank you.
 

JohnDB

Cook
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Location
Nashville tn
Oh, My!

Thank you John. No one has ever mentioned about seasoning with salt!!! Wow!

Then, the sanding.... I noticed that there are hundreds of dollar cast iron pan vs. $30-40. Not much difference between them, except the expensive ones are all SMOOTH, while the cheap ones are all bumpy. As you probably guessed, mine is very bumpy

thank you.
Now if you happen to know a hobby machinist....someone with a lathe or mill you might get them to do you a large favor....
Anything to get the casting finish off the the iron. That finish is extra hard and brittle and doesn't accept the oils that well. Not to mention that a rough surface is not going to be non-stick like you want. It's impossible to get non-stick performance out of the rough sand casting finish no matter how well the pan is seasoned.

Once you get the pan actually set up to cook as a non stick pan....you can actually hand wash it in your sink using soap. You likely won't need to...usually just some salt, oil, and scrubbing will clean it just fine ifvyou dry it right away. Be sure to leave a coat of some sort of seasoning oil or shortening (crisco is my favorite) on it before you put it away. It's iron...it WILL rust.

Also acidic foods (tomatoes, lemon, wine and etc) can eat up a thin non-stick finish...so don't do it until the pan has been well used and black before you try. It usually takes years.

But I can successfully pull pancakes, omlettes, crepes, and etc out of mine without scraping the bits stuck to the pan. And you can use a metal spatula or metal spoon in a seasoned cast iron pan. It won't hurt a thing.

But be sure once you get it seasoned to not overheat the pan...don't take it to 800⁰ or more thinking it will give you an awesome black and blue steak....the polymerized surface will burn off and need to be replaced.

Cast iron is slow to heat up and slow to cool. Don't try to speed up the process with super high heat to get it up to temp. Set it up for the cooking temp and walk away. It's just fine at 400⁰ for a long long time until you are read to cook. I usually wait until the handle is too hot to touch before I use mine.
 

HeyItsSara

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do you want to start over? put it in your oven when you do a self cleaning cycle, then reseason.
 

dragnlaw

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I honestly have never done any of that. The only times any of my foods usually stick is when the pan is just plain too hot!
My cheaper pans (and some were not that cheap but still nubbly) I've used oil as needed.
Also when using a pan for multiple purposes, like eggs one day and hamburger the next (who can afford a separate pan for each use) I DO use soap. I then very lightly oil it straight away and just put it away with an oil damp paper towel on top.

Edit: And if it really stinks give it a good scrub with soap and water before even thinking of trying to season it.
 
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taxlady

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I use salt to clean my cast iron pan when it needs cleaning beyond a wipe with a paper towel. I have cleaned up some serious messes with a good layer of salt heated gently until it starts to get some colour from picking up dirt. Then a good dry scrub with a stiff bristle brush or a wok brush.

I'm not sure how my mum cleaned hers, but I know she only washed them if she cooked fish in them. Then, after she dried it, she would let it sit on the gas stove and get completely dry with the heat from the pilot light, for a few hours
 

GotGarlic

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You don’t season a cast iron pan with salt. You season it with very thin coats of neutral oil and heat.
This^^ Seasoning cast iron has nothing to do with salt. Cast iron seasoning is layers of oil heated and polymerizrd onto the pan, creating an impermeable nonstick surface. This finish can be damaged by salting and other harsh cleaning methods, and it's reinforced by frequent use. It's been years since I had to reseason my cast iron skillets from the beginning.
 

taxlady

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This^^ Seasoning cast iron has nothing to do with salt. Cast iron seasoning is layers of oil heated and polymerizrd onto the pan, creating an impermeable nonstick surface. This finish can be damaged by salting and other harsh cleaning methods, and it's reinforced by frequent use. It's been years since I had to reseason my cast iron skillets from the beginning.
The finish can be damaged by salting? Not in my experience. I find it to be an excellent way to absorb grease and scrub off burnt on stuff, without getting the pan wet and risking rust. I honestly can't remember the last time I had to season one of my cast iron pans. Of course, I don't consider using salt to clean them to be seasoning the pan. That is done with oil or other fat.
 

GotGarlic

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The finish can be damaged by salting? Not in my experience. I find it to be an excellent way to absorb grease and scrub off burnt on stuff, without getting the pan wet and risking rust. I honestly can't remember the last time I had to season one of my cast iron pans.
Sorry I wasn't clear. I was thinking of scrubbing hard with salt beyond the point where it's just clean, and leaving salt on the metal can cause corrosion. As you say, salt is a good tool for cleaning cast iron.
 

taxlady

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Sorry I wasn't clear. I was thinking of scrubbing hard with salt beyond the point where it's just clean, and leaving salt on the metal can cause corrosion. As you say, salt is a good tool for cleaning cast iron.
Oh, okay. Yeah, leave the salt on the cast iron and it will probably pick up moisture from the air and that would definitely be corrosive.
 

JohnDB

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Salt is the reason it's called seasoning....it's not because of the oil. Using oil and calling it seasoning is a "newish" concept...because in the 1300's and up to the 1900's polymerization wasn't exactly a term. The Titanic had linoleum tile because it was a brand new expensive product...plastics weren't really popular and the science was new at the time.

That doesn't mean that cooks didn't know how to make a pan work well or remain nonstick. But they referred to the process of scrubbing with salt and oil as seasoning....of course you remove the salt...leaving it in is a quick way to destroy the metal and make the remaining oils go rancid.
 

Andy M.

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Regardless of whether or not polymerization was a term in the 1900s, the process existed.

I have several CI skillets that I have never salted. I season it with oil and heat and they work just fine. My skillets also have a 'pebbled' or less smooth surface (Lodge Cast Iron) and that is absolutely not an issue in my cooking.
 

Silversage

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Salt has absolutely nothing to do with seasoning a cast iron pan.

Words have different meanings depending on context.
"Seasoned" when talking about flavor means salt.
"Seasoned" when talking about people means experience.
"Seasoned" can mean aged.
"Seasoned" when talking about a pan means polymerized oil.
 

JohnDB

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DC if you want to argue and say that I am all wet....I just remember the history lessons from culinary school as they taught it to me.

Do what you wish with the information....leave your cast iron pan encased in salt...just don't ask me to cook food in it afterwards. My feelings aren't so easily hurt....I'm a professional chef....I'm fully proficient at acting angry over seemingly nothing...but only if I'm getting paid to. Otherwise it's not worth the hassle.

And as for leaving the bottoms pebbled?
The laws of physics says that smooth bottomed pans actually have less surface contact with food. Less of a surface area that crepes can come in contact with.

And if you can't make crepes so thin that you can see through them in your cast iron...then maybe there's something to what I've been saying all along.
 

taxlady

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@JohnDB I will listen to your personal experience and probably accept it at face value. The rest of what you write, I will have my doubts. You don't seem to know that "season" has other definitions than using salt. Linoleum was patented in 1860. The Titanic's maiden voyage was in 1912. That doesn't sound to me like linoleum was a brand new product at the time. Maybe look up your info before stating it as fact.
 

Silversage

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@JohnDB You are not the only professional on this site, nor are you the only one who went to culinary school. As a matter of fact, you are not even the only one with credentials who posted answers in this thread.

Most of what you said about how to season a pan was excellent advice. Coat with oil. Turn it upside down. Bake. Repeat. etc. But salt plays no role in seasoning a pan.
 
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