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Beusho

Seasoning Carbon Steel

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Just purchased a Matfer carbon steel skillet. I've run into a few problems with seasoning it. I followed the Matfer instruction to heat potato skins and salt first. My process was this:

1. Vigorous scrubbing with dish soap and pad to remove protective coating. Pan didn't look much different but I didn't take a photo.

2. Followed the matfer recommendation of potato skins, salt and I used flaxseed oil at med then high heat.

What resulted:

IMG_0136.thumb.jpg.597caa260bb3cf5a70918973a24a9a61.jpg

The center black part was completely non-stick, with a varying gradient of non-stick for the rest. I knew something was wrong so I decided to go to the oven non-stick route. I applied flaxseed oil and then rubbed it off with a paper towel. I put it in the oven at 450 for two hours and then let it cool in the oven for 6 hours. What resulted was a splotchy brown pan with a dark black spot. I now (after many videos and reading) realize the splotchy brown was what I should've been going for. I decided to try to vigorously wash it out with dish soap and hot water and salt a few time to try and remove all layers and then heat it to remove all water and then retry the oven seasoning. This is what resulted after washing and heating:

 

IMG_0153.thumb.jpg.929f6df118be2a629ab186393964240c.jpg

 

I have a few questions/observations:

1. I wouldn't do the matfer suggestion of heating on the stovetop. Maybe my stovetop is uneven (I did swirl the pan a few times, maybe not enough but the pan looked cover in oil to me).

2. I would do the oven seasoning, what I took to be splotchy brown is the correct seasoning after reading/watching a few videos, here is a screenshot of one oven seasoning which is what my pan looked like with a thick black spot in the center though.

2046280741_ScreenShot2019-01-13at11_15_01PM.thumb.png.8de8a2fda4adfa12dff1bf0bbaa052a1.png

 

My question:

What state is my pan in, what should my next step be?

Would you apply more oven seasoning until it's black? My black splotch felt completely non-stick.

 


Edited by Beusho (log)

“...no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.”

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First, you're polymerizing oil.  Oil polymerizes with heat, air, and time.  You're not burning the oil, so anything above the oil's smoke point is completely counter productive.  You're also seasoning the whole pan, not just the part above the flame, so stick to the oven- but keep it to below 400.

 

Second, when heated, oil will liquify and have a tendency to run and spatter.  The thicker the layer, the greater the propensity for spattering. Depending on how saturated the paper towel is, wiping out the pan can still leave too thick of a layer of oil.  Seasoning woes are almost always a result of being heavy handed with the oil.  Err on the side of too little oil, and, if you have to, go with more layers. You don' t have to let the pan completely cool between layers.  I do 1 hour at 400, let it cool 2 hours, apply, then another hour and repeat this 6 times.

 

Lastly, this is not universally agreed upon, but seasoning, like paint, greatly favors a surface it can grab on to.  This is why sand blasted cast iron pans take seasoning so well.  You don't have to go overboard, but a light sanding with fine grit sandpaper will give you a surface that the seasoning will be a bit happier sticking to.


Edited by scott123 (log)
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Ive never understood the potato skin / salt recommendation

 

Im not saying it does not work

 

Ive never read an explanation of it , on a molecular level

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I am not happy with my Matfer.

 

Even more so with their poor level of customer service. 

 

I wonder how much they paid Americas Test Kitchen to gloat so lovingly and rank them top of the class....

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I tend to, after a round or two of seasoning, just like cooking in the pan, whatever its manufacturer.  Make some bacon, some duck, some pork, etc. Eventually, you'll have a nicely seasoned pan; what's the rush, anyway?

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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1 hour ago, rotuts said:

Ive never understood the potato skin / salt recommendation

 

Im not saying it does not work

 

Ive never read an explanation of it , on a molecular level

 

There is oxalic acid in potato skins.  As in Barkeeper's Friend...

It is a strange instruction, but I guess BKF isn't universal.  Demeyere instructs to boil milk in their tall asparagus steamer, yet this has been their method for so long no one at the company can tell me, why milk?


Edited by boilsover (log)
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1 hour ago, TicTac said:

I am not happy with my Matfer.

 

Even more so with their poor level of customer service. 

 

I wonder how much they paid Americas Test Kitchen to gloat so lovingly and rank them top of the class....

 

Mine is fine. What's wrong with yours?

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Hi. Beusho:

 

  Your photo of your first attempt looks to me like you started with too much oil.  There shouldn't be any pooled oil at all--thin wipes are best, as in a sloppy job of wiping completely clean.   If you are getting runnels or "tears", there's still too much oil.

 

  Was this done on a radiant or induction top?  Gas would work better, IMHO, because you can tilt and rotate the pan in a higher flame.  Otherwise, the oven is your friend. 

 

  Are you heating the pan past the oil's smoke point?  Unlike seasoning cast iron and "seasoning" aluminum and SS, you want to do this that hot.

 

  Unless you feel something sticky or tactile left over, just keep putting layers down.  You should ultimately get a more-or-less even, grungy brown-black appearance.

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57 minutes ago, btbyrd said:

Mine's a hot piece of garbage when it comes to keeping its seasoning.

 

Same issue here.

 

I emailed them a few times with pics of the second pan not holding its seasoning, just on hold with CS in one last attempt...

 

 

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14 minutes ago, TicTac said:

 

Same issue here.

 

I emailed them a few times with pics of the second pan not holding its seasoning, just on hold with CS in one last attempt...

 

 

 

Mine holds it ok, not great. That is an imperfection, you are right. I guess I didn't expect better

 

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Well they are sending me another one...

 

The CS manager said she seasons with multiple applications of salt, potato skins and lots of olive oil - on medium heat.

 

I did mine on high heat - thought you had to blast it....

 

Wonder if that is where I went wrong.

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It's an electric stovetop that I used, the burner being slightly larger than the pan, I swirled the whole time but the sides just never seasoned and I ended up with the black spot.

 

I did the oven at 550, is this correct @boilsover recommends past the smoke point, @scott123 recommends <400. I would think to heat it past the smoke point to polymerize. When I did the oven technique at 550 it did have a nice brown seasoning (albeit with that black spot).

 

What can I do now? Do I need to strip it with oven cleaner? I tried barkeepers friend but the black spot and the blue halo pictured are what resulted


“...no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.”

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1 minute ago, Beusho said:

I did the oven at 550, is this correct @boilsover recommends past the smoke point, @scott123 recommends <400. I would think to heat it past the smoke point to polymerize.

 

Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa with linseed/flax oil based paint.  He didn't bake it for even a second ;)  Given sufficient time, oil will polymerize at room temp.  Heat accelerates the reaction, but, the higher you go, the more likely the oil will spatter, and the more acrid smoke you'll create.

 

Cast iron, from the research that I've done, is not pure iron, but contains some carbon and is very close molecularly to steel. Other than the smoothness of the steel (which I addressed), steel should season exactly like cast iron.

 

It might impact the final aesthetic a tiny bit, but, you don't need to start with a perfectly clean pan.  Give it a light sanding, wash it (preferably with a fragrance free soap) and get to seasoning.

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1 hour ago, Beusho said:

It's an electric stovetop that I used, the burner being slightly larger than the pan, I swirled the whole time but the sides just never seasoned and I ended up with the black spot.

 

I did the oven at 550, is this correct @boilsover recommends past the smoke point, @scott123 recommends <400. I would think to heat it past the smoke point to polymerize. When I did the oven technique at 550 it did have a nice brown seasoning (albeit with that black spot).

 

What can I do now? Do I need to strip it with oven cleaner? I tried barkeepers friend but the black spot and the blue halo pictured are what resulted

 

Carbon steel pans are poorly conductive, so I'm not surprised your glass cooktop failed at polymerizing the oil on the sidewalls.

 

Here's a handy chart for smoke and flash points: http://www.centrafoods.com/blog/edible-oil-smoke-flash-points-temperature-chart    Note that at 550F, you're flirting with a housefire if you choose coconut oil.  450F should be high enough.

 

I would just continue cooking in it.  For a few uses, scrub it out with an oil/kosher salt slurry, wipe it out, and fire that sucker until it smokes.  It'll eventually season.

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I am convinced there is no perfect seasoning technique.

I mostly use the Sheryl Canter technique, but even then after 6 coats or so, when you use the pan it inevitably sticks, and you gotta use a scrubbie on it. (Don't use soap!)

So...after you've done your Sheryl Canter seasoning, and your pan looks oh so nice with a uniform brown seasoning...you use it and the food sticks....like it sticks with every freakin seasoning regimen.

 

What do you do now?

 

The answer is easy..... 

 

Its not a beauty contest. The goal is to use it. So you use it. Over and over and over again...and then one day you realize...hey...stuff's not sticking to it any more!

 

Then you realize, there is no scientific way to season cast iron or carbon steel. Get a start on seasoning with whatever technique you are most comfortable with. (And it wont be perfect)...Then use the pants off of it.

That's how you season it, and that's how you end up with a nice pan...but the key is to use it, and use it hard.

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1 hour ago, wabi said:

Then you realize, there is no scientific way to season cast iron or carbon steel.

 

This, exactly.  Canter's chief disservice was to suggest otherwise.  The "drying oil" theme makes it appear to be a secret shortcut, but you just have to do your time.  And flax oil tastes like okole...

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9 hours ago, wabi said:

The answer is easy..... 

 

Its not a beauty contest. The goal is to use it. So you use it. Over and over and over again...and then one day you realize...hey...stuff's not sticking to it any more!

 

Then you realize, there is no scientific way to season cast iron or carbon steel. Get a start on seasoning with whatever technique you are most comfortable with. (And it wont be perfect)...Then use the pants off of it.

That's how you season it, and that's how you end up with a nice pan...but the key is to use it, and use it hard.

 

11 hours ago, boilsover said:

I would just continue cooking in it.  For a few uses, scrub it out with an oil/kosher salt slurry, wipe it out, and fire that sucker until it smokes.  It'll eventually season.

 

Yep...

 

20 hours ago, weinoo said:

I tend to, after a round or two of seasoning, just like cooking in the pan, whatever its manufacturer.  Make some bacon, some duck, some pork, etc. Eventually, you'll have a nicely seasoned pan; what's the rush, anyway?

 

  • Like 1

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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So I received one of the Blanc Creatives carbon steel pans as a birthday gift a couple of months ago.  The pan is supposed to be "pre-seasoned" with coconut oil, with the encouragement that you use more oil than usual for the first few uses.  This is not difficult for me, as I am a high-grease-type cook, eat bacon several days a week, etc.  

 

But something very strange is happening when I fry eggs.  The pan side of the eggs turns gray and sometimes black.  It looks like a stain, not like some chips of the seasoning that can be flaked off.  You can't remove the gray-black stuff from the eggs.  And just to state the obvious -- nothing from the eggs or butter is burned (although the eggs are pretty hard-fried, I  feed someone who likes their eggs fried to an advanced death). 

 

1325002080_image1(2).jpeg.7c9b14e28e6f6de581297baf714d31c3.jpeg

image2.jpeg.c98b591ee6b89cc78bab69fabd4438e8.jpeg

671638202_image1(1).jpeg.4d64117cff1c243e852b1b098d7c773d.jpeg

 

The bottom two pictures are actually in the pan, where I'd flipped them.  

 

Have any of you ever seen this?  What the heck is it???

 

The folks at blanc creatives have told me to keep doing the salt-oil slurry, but it's not working. 

 

It's a beautiful pan, but I can't serve people food that looks like this, even if the gray-whatever is edible.  And my cast-iron pans, none of which came into my life pre-seasoned, didn't act like this.  And neither did my Matfer pan, which I admittedly don't use too often because it's just too small.  

 

 


Edited by SLB (log)

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50 minutes ago, SLB said:

So I received one of the Blanc Creatives carbon steel pans as a birthday gift a couple of months ago.  The pan is supposed to be "pre-seasoned" with coconut oil, with the encouragement that you use more oil than usual for the first few uses.  This is not difficult for me, as I am a high-grease-type cook, eat bacon several days a week, etc.  

 

But something very strange is happening when I fry eggs.  The pan side of the eggs turns gray and sometimes black.  It looks like a stain, not like some chips of the seasoning that can be flaked off.  You can't remove the gray-black stuff from the eggs.  And just to state the obvious -- nothing from the eggs or butter is burned (although the eggs are pretty hard-fried, I  feed someone who likes their eggs fried to an advanced death). 

 

1325002080_image1(2).jpeg.7c9b14e28e6f6de581297baf714d31c3.jpeg

image2.jpeg.c98b591ee6b89cc78bab69fabd4438e8.jpeg

671638202_image1(1).jpeg.4d64117cff1c243e852b1b098d7c773d.jpeg

 

The bottom two pictures are actually in the pan, where I'd flipped them.  

 

Have any of you ever seen this?  What the heck is it???

 

The folks at blanc creatives have told me to keep doing the salt-oil slurry, but it's not working. 

 

It's a beautiful pan, but I can't serve people food that looks like this, even if the gray-whatever is edible.  And my cast-iron pans, none of which came into my life pre-seasoned, didn't act like this.  And neither did my Matfer pan, which I admittedly don't use too often because it's just too small.  

 

 

 

 Any aluminum in that pan?  The color looks wrong for carbon steel in that top photo


Edited by gfweb (log)

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The eggs in the top photo are in a bowl (like a pasta bowl).  

 

The bottom two are shown with the eggs flipped in the pan.


Edited by SLB (log)

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