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Pre-heating Cast Iron


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They heat very unevenly, especially on induction. Only the part of the pan directly above the induction coil will fully preheat. I did some tests with an IR thermometer using the MC baking steel on a Vollrath Mirage Pro induction burner. After 30 minutes of preheating, I found that the surface just an inch away from the induction coil was 100F cooler than the steel directly over the coil. Though that's pretty awful, things got much worse out toward the edges. The steel would be useless as a baking surface or griddle unless you wanted to cook only in the area above the coil. The combination of a poor conductor (steel/iron) over a spotty heat source just doesn't work very well at all. Cast iron pans and baking steels are best pre-heated in an oven.

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1 hour ago, btbyrd said:

Cast iron pans and baking steels are best pre-heated in an oven.

 

I get pretty good, even heating on a gas range. Using the smaller, square reversible baking steel I have...

 

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Gas is better than induction, but it depends on your range. I used to use mine on a low-end gas range to make pancakes, but the ones around the outside took significantly longer than the ones in the middle. Since this thread is about baking it makes more sense to just stick the pan or steel in the oven as the oven preheats. This is especially true if you're going to bake the bread in a dutch oven to mimic the effect of a steam oven.

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I almost always preheat my cast iron fry pans.  I put them on the lowest BTU (gas) burner at the lowest setting.

it takes time.  this approach is not instant sear cast iron....

not recommended for anyone in a hurry.

bacon is not something I preheat the CI for....

 

the question of 'uneven heating' is totally moot.  the pan has enough time to disperse the heat everywhere everywhere - all across the bottom and all up the sides and all down the handle.  whether the pan is preheated I judge by the handle - when the handle is too hot to pick up without a mitt, the pan is ready.

 

once the pan is "basically hot" I put it on larger burners for the task at hand.....

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2 hours ago, AlaMoi said:

I almost always preheat my cast iron fry pans.  I put them on the lowest BTU (gas) burner at the lowest setting.

it takes time.  this approach is not instant sear cast iron....

not recommended for anyone in a hurry.

bacon is not something I preheat the CI for....

 

the question of 'uneven heating' is totally moot.  the pan has enough time to disperse the heat everywhere everywhere - all across the bottom and all up the sides and all down the handle.  whether the pan is preheated I judge by the handle - when the handle is too hot to pick up without a mitt, the pan is ready.

 

once the pan is "basically hot" I put it on larger burners for the task at hand.....

Best use info yet...

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