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Help Me Season a New Wok!


johnnyd
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On 12/18/2021 at 10:49 PM, paulraphael said:

A good coating is not just polymerized oil, but also partly carbonized. That means you need to make some charcoal.

 

I think this is key...I tried it on a carbon-steel pan that had lost its coating, letting the thin layer of oil heat past smoking, before another thin layer of oil got added and wiped out and doing that again. Helps to have a hood, even a recirculating one with charcoal filters.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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  • 4 weeks later...

Finally got around to seasoning this Bad Boy:

 

1202663568_IMG_20220111_1220195662.thumb.jpg.dd82e7d84297184d5fccd669f542eb41.jpg

 

The delay was a result of seeing so many different ways of getting the job done but there was always something that felt off about every one until I saw this gentleman, Jason, on YouTube: 

 

 

Many of his conditions met mine, like a Gas range/oven at home, and he's clearly done this before. From minute one he displays the result I want.

 

As I watched this video, I recognized sections found in other season-a-wok videos. So you don't have to watch, here is his punch list:

 

  • Scrub inside/outside with sponge scrub-side and Dawn detergent. I spent about 20mins doing it over and over +rinsing
  • Unscrew handle and use straight-jaw, vice-grip pliers to hold wok at handle stub when starting the bluing
  • Remove gas-burner diffuser lid so the flame jets straight out of the burner. I didn't have to go past 4 (out of 9) setting to roast the wok from edge to edge in 20mins
  • When cooled (surprisingly fast, I'm used to cast-iron) apply very thin coat of flax seed oil on both sides. Wipe again to absorb any excess.
  • Bake at 200F for 15 minutes
  • Re-apply flax seed oil thinly; wipe again to absorb excess oil.
  • Bake at 300F for 15 minutes
  • Re-apply flax seed oil thinly; wipe again to absorb excess oil.
  • Bake at highest setting (I'm doing 450F) for one hour - after one hour, turn off oven to let cool (~one hour)

 

This is where you can wok up your ginger/scallion Good Luck fry, but Jason does it three more times so I'm-a goin' for it.  The only smoke I saw/smelt was a small wisp from inside the hanle stub which I didn't wash. I'm on the first hour bake and already it is a satisfying translucent blue/black color, evenly hued from edge to edge. Success!

Edited by johnnyd (log)
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"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

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There's a bit of lore in that video that I don't trust. The internet seems obsessed with Dawn detergent, but it's just plain old mild detergent, chemically similar to shampoo. If you want to get manufacturing oils off of a pan, save your elbows and use Barkeeper's Friend. Or Bon Ami. Something that will do some work for you.

 

Flaxseed oil looks good on paper but testing shows it to be not the best choice. It evidently leaves a brittle finish. Other standard cooking oils do a better job. You want something high in unsaturated / polyunsaturated fat. Safflower, sunflower, and canola oils all work well. Flax is even higher in polyunsaturated fat but for some reason doesn't work as well. I can't remember my source for this but, but it was based on experiment and looked credible. 

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The internet is obsessed with Dawn detergent because it's a great product. Need your drain unblocked? Pour a half cup Dawn down there, wait 30 minutes, then pour boiling water in and, boom! All clear.

Flax seed comes up a lot as the go-to wok seasoning agent. I'm on bake four at the moment and will keep seasoning until dinner, a total of eight hours. It's a medicinal oil so I won't be using it for cooking. I'm assuming this is a sealant.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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3 minutes ago, johnnyd said:

The internet is obsessed with Dawn detergent because it's a great product. Need your drain unblocked? Pour a half cup Dawn down there, wait 30 minutes, then pour boiling water in and, boom! All clear.

Flax seed comes up a lot as the go-to wok seasoning agent. I'm on bake four at the moment and will keep seasoning until dinner, a total of eight hours. It's a medicinal oil so I won't be using it for cooking. I'm assuming this is a sealant.

 

I've never see anyone in China using flax seed oil to season a wok and they do have rather a lot of woks. In fact I've only seen flax oil once, about ten years ago, in a tiny bottle in a specialty FOOD store.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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it does not follow logically that techniques 

 

used in China have any bearing on the effectiveness 

 

of flax seed oil in seasoning a wok.

 

what follows is that techniques used in China

 

are effective ( enough )  to get the job done.

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1 minute ago, rotuts said:

it does not follow logically that techniques 

 

used in China have any bearing on the effectiveness 

 

of flax seed oil in seasoning a wok.

 

what follows is that techniques used in China

 

are effective ( enough )  to get the job done.

 

I didn't say the techniques were or weren't effective.

 

I did point out that what was claimed to be "the go-to wok seasoning agent" isn't so among the vast majority of wok users.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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2 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

I didn't say the techniques were or weren't effective.

 

I did point out that what was claimed to be "the go-to wok seasoning agent" isn't so among the vast majority of wok users.

 

Fair enough.  My fault for limiting the subset of "go-to wok seasoning agents" to youtube videos I've been canvassing for wok seasoning technique. Have to say this wok looks terrific, but lets see how it cooks our food. Pics soon...

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"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

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Seven hour blocks at 450F with just a veil of oil each. Nice.

 

 

IMG_20220112_165728048~2.jpg

 

Now we have to cook something.

 

IMG_20220112_165712285~2.jpg

 

I'm on page 41 of Grace Young's "Breath of a Wok". I feel the need to get a good handle on things before I do anything complicated. Thanks, all, for playing!

Edited by johnnyd (log)
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"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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I think something which may (or may not) be missed is that no matter how well seasoned your wok (or your carbon steel sauté pan, or your crepe pan) is, it still has to be heated correctly and "greased" correctly before you throw any food into it. Cause if it's not, it won't be nonstick, no matter what.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Why would you use flaxseed oil? Or need a particular brand of dish soap? 
 

my wok is completely none stick, eggs will slide right out of the wok without a moments hesitation, it’s cleaned with whatever dish soap I have (yes, I wash my wok dish soap doesn’t remove seasoning) and a plastic scrubber then wiped with vegetable oil. 
 

before cooking I wipe it out with a tea towel. 
 

there’s a lot of crap being bandied about how to season a wok but even one that is unseasoned that you use the proper cooking techniques with will have minimal sticking issues if any at all. I do see a lot of people who proclaim to know how to use a wok setting up all kinds of silly methods to test seasoning yet use a wok like a regular skillet. A wok is not a skillet, if you want to cook in a skillet use a skillet not a wok. Otherwise learn to use the wok properly and you’ll have one of the most fantastic cooking utensils in your kitchen. 

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4 hours ago, EatingBen said:

you use the proper cooking techniques

 

I think this was just said in two posts up?

 

14 hours ago, weinoo said:

no matter how well seasoned your wok (or your carbon steel sauté pan, or your crepe pan) is, it still has to be heated correctly and "greased" correctly before you throw any food into it.

 

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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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I had great results with flaxseed oil, on a carbon steel frying pan, not a wok, but found that the coating was brittle and would flake off in large chunks.   A second treatment with bacon fat made it more resilient.  YMMV

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On 1/12/2022 at 9:56 AM, johnnyd said:

The internet is obsessed with Dawn detergent because it's a great product.

 

Maybe, but it's also meant to be gentle on your skin like other handwashing detergents. Chemically it's not that different from shampoo. So it's not going to be the most effective thing for getting machine oil off of spun steel.

 

I bought a steel stovetop griddle that got some bad reviews because people said it took an hour of scrubbing with dish soap get the factory coating off of it. I used BKF and it took 2 minutes. I won't use BKF as shampoo.

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Notes from the underbelly

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5 hours ago, Dr. Teeth said:

I had great results with flaxseed oil, on a carbon steel frying pan, not a wok, but found that the coating was brittle and would flake off in large chunks.   A second treatment with bacon fat made it more resilient.  YMMV

 

Exactly. In the middle of those extremes you'll find the polyunsaturated cooking oils. They'll build up a coating faster than bacon grease will, but it will be durable.

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If I may;

 

I had chipping too; I just lightly scrub with a non-soapy steel wool to remove the weakened bits and then re-oil and dry on the stove.

 

The chipping went away after a few times and now I have a lovely black patina.  I've been using this wok since 2009, and it just gets better each time.

 

It also makes a MEAN batch of popcorn!

-John

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2 hours ago, paulraphael said:

 

With a domed wok lid? I'd like an audio recording of that.

 

I'll try.  All I have is an SM57 and a FirePod(!) and Cubase 5.


EDIT:  I could try an M/S recording.  But it would be the '57 as center and a ribbon mic for the sides.

 

 

Edited by Johntodd
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2 hours ago, Johntodd said:

I'll try.  All I have is an SM57 and a FirePod(!) and Cubase 5.


EDIT:  I could try an M/S recording.  But it would be the '57 as center and a ribbon mic for the sides.

 

 

I'm going to be waiting for the first viral ASMR food sounds egullet thread 😂🤣

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On 1/16/2022 at 8:52 PM, AAQuesada said:


EDIT:  I could try an M/S recording.  But it would be the '57 as center and a ribbon mic for the sides

 

Make sure you deploy the high-pass filter on the backside of that SM57

 

On 1/23/2022 at 6:22 PM, patrickamory said:

Just be willing to smoke up your kitchen. If you get your wok black and slick it will be good.

 

Nary a wisp of smoke. Scrubbed for 20 minutes then turned it blue. See up-thread.

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"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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On 1/13/2022 at 4:46 PM, paulraphael said:

 

Maybe, but it's also meant to be gentle on your skin like other handwashing detergents. Chemically it's not that different from shampoo. So it's not going to be the most effective thing for getting machine oil off of spun steel.

 

 

 

Dawn is a detergent capable of cleaning crude oil off a duck ...say their ads. So its detergent powers are pretty strong.

But no detergent is great with waxes, which is what seems to be on steel pans/woks.

 

 

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37 minutes ago, gfweb said:

 

Dawn is a detergent capable of cleaning crude oil off a duck ...say their ads. So its detergent powers are pretty strong.

But no detergent is great with waxes, which is what seems to be on steel pans/woks.

 

 

The irony of Dawn as I posted (oops it vanished) is that it has petroleum product in it which allows it to get stubborn oil off. Anywhoo sounds like the OP got a good result after his efforts.

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