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The Science of Seasoning Metal Cookware


AlaMoi

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the concept "usually" applies to cast iron.

there is a (?) theory that heating a (unspecified metal) pan "opens" the pores of the metal and allows the "fat" to be incorporated thus magically becoming "non-stick"

 

if one examines the actual real scientifically proven 'pore size' of stainless/cast iron/raw aluminum - one will rapidly recognize the degree of utter BS associated to these type of "claims" - it just does not hold up to reality.

 

"seasoned" cast iron build a layer of carbon - that layer is very much "non-stick"

 

(sigh)  recently went gotta'-try bonkers  and bought a "Blue Diamond" fry pan.  it was indeed "non-stick" - -  for about 2 weeks.

then failed to even release / flip an egg for "over easy"

 

if you absolutely positively need "non stick" - buy a $20 Teflon pan, and plan for replacing it in 12+/- months.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

You even have to be careful with regular oil. Especially the kind of refined oils people are most likely to use (canola, safflower, etc.). These are high in polyunsaturated fats and so are the most efficient at oxidizing, polymerizing, and turning into a bulletproof coating. Just like what you want on iron. 

 

I notice this as a brownish coating that first shows up around the sides of frying pans. It's not coming off.

Notes from the underbelly

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13 hours ago, rotuts said:

@paulraphael

 

it comes off w EasyOff.

 

just saying.

 

for metal pans .  

Conventional wisdom says don't use it on teflon, but that might not be based on anything. I don't know why lye would attack teflon. It could make a mess out of any aluminum it contacts. So I guess you could make this work but you'd want to be careful.

Notes from the underbelly

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On 2/26/2024 at 5:49 AM, AlaMoi said:

Darto black iron/steel pan(s)

At risk of digressing somewhat, I have and like most of Darto's pans. Once seasoned, they are kind-of-non-stick.

 

My favourite is the big paella, which I use for fried rice. No matter how well seasoned, I find fried rice rips off that built up seasoning.

 

I'm now thinking is might be lecithin in the egg yolk. Yet I'm sure many of you use Dartos and other well seasoned heavy steel pans precisely because they are great for fried egg. Is there some weird chemistry in the combination of rice and egg yolk?

 

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On 3/3/2024 at 12:54 AM, FlashJack said:

At risk of digressing somewhat, I have and like most of Darto's pans. Once seasoned, they are kind-of-non-stick.

 

My favourite is the big paella, which I use for fried rice. No matter how well seasoned, I find fried rice rips off that built up seasoning.

 

I'm now thinking is might be lecithin in the egg yolk. Yet I'm sure many of you use Dartos and other well seasoned heavy steel pans precisely because they are great for fried egg. Is there some weird chemistry in the combination of rice and egg yolk?

 

Carbon steel is less porous than cast iron, so the seasoning just doesn't stick to it as tenaciously. But I notice that in places where it's used, like restaurants, no one seems to care. They just let the seasoning form and flake off as it will. I don't know why your rice is such a good scouring pad. Other than starch being a naturally good glue. 

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Uncooked rice is often used here when seasoning a new wok. It is 'stir-fried' in the dry wok between washing off the machine oil the woks are coated in for shipping and then the hot oil treatment.

 

I've never been quite sure what the rice part actually does. If anything.

 

 

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

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for about 25 years 

 

I was very fortunate to have a large set of pans

 

i purchased individually in France , from 

 

https://www.edehillerin.fr/en/

 

in one sloop /  packed in a crate w wood shavings , the lot came to NYC

 

via a deal w Air France , as the shipping about the cost of one pan.  

 

I had to pick them up at a commercial end of the air port

 

and had a nice chat w the federal narcotics agent while we looked through the box.

 

very polite , but that was a method if shipping ' stuff '  back then

 

to make this story shorter :  they were not non stick.

 

you attested the temperature as they had a thick copper bottom

 

and waited for the natural release when you cooled something 

 

fish , chops , burgers .  and you didn't dit the pans scorching hot.

 

Bartenders friend , and occasionally EasyOff for the rims

 

got you back to the starting point .   the pans were very very smooth.

 

here is my question :

 

 \whould these type of pans have be able to take on a polymerized coating of oil

 

that over time would have made them ' non-stick '

 

similar to a well care for DARTO or your Grandmothers cast iron ?

 

I can't imagine its not possible

 

but it was really never done in restaurants as far as I can tell

 

because the restaurants had very cheap dishwashers ?

 

I can imagine my two favorites getting on a patina over the years 

 

I still have the pans.

 

and I have experience w EasyOff  , get this the paste 

 

just in case 

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7 hours ago, rotuts said:

here is my question :

 

 \whould these type of pans have be able to take on a polymerized coating of oil

 

that over time would have made them ' non-stick '

 

similar to a well care for DARTO or your Grandmothers cast iron

 

Similar, yes, yet different, too.  IME, tin linings do "season" in a way, but not to the extent carbon steel and cast iron do.  And the tin lags somewhat behind those in being truly nonstick.

 

What I've discovered is that cooking certain things in tinned copper help in this process.  #1 in my book is... popping popcorn.  #2 is making chicken stock or soup.  IMO, there is something about having the fats in the presence of steam or water vapor without browning that lays down some thin beneficial coating.  You know when you have it, because the lining gradually goes a very dark brown without being greasy.  Normal dish soap doesn't seem to affect it much.

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47 minutes ago, Laurentius said:

  #1 in my book is... popping popcorn.

 

One day  (and to quote Don Corleone: "and that day may never come") I'll take a picture of one of my gorgeous Mauviel tin-lined copper pans (also purchased from E. DeHellerin, but schlepped back in my luggage) ) that I mistakenly used to pop popcorn.  I walked away from the pan while I was heating it up with oil and those first couple of kernels, and by the time I got back, the tin had started to melt.  I've since moved to a nice, cheap 30-year old Macy's pan for popping corn.

 

I've always found my other tin lined pans to be practically nonstick, just by using them properly.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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16 hours ago, weinoo said:

I walked away from the pan while I was heating it up with oil and those first couple of kernels, and by the time I got back, the tin had started to melt.

 

Hard to guess at the underlying cause of this mishap.  Popcorn should pop at about 180C/356F, well below the melting point of tin (232C/449.5F).  With oil in the pan, you should've had about a 100F cushion, and with the popcorn load giving off steam, even more.

 

See, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/explore-the-pop-in-popcorn/

 

My suspicion is setting too high a heat (the rule of thumb is copper should be set 40% lower) and leaving the pan unattended.  Hopefully you had the Dehillerin pan retinned...

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9 minutes ago, Laurentius said:

Hard to guess at the underlying cause of this mishap

 

I don't think it's that hard...I walked away.

 

I have never had it retinned, but it has been replaced by a similarly sized one from Falk.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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

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19 hours ago, weinoo said:

I have never had it retinned

 

That's too bad it's not in someone's service.  Is it thicker than the Falk?  Dehillerin-marked Mauviel brings enough $ on resale to get you another Falk if you prefer it.

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On 3/6/2024 at 4:12 PM, paulraphael said:

I don't know why your rice is such a good scouring pad

Thanks Paul. As @liuzhou pointed out in the subsequent post, rice has useful abrasive properties. I'm not too worried. As you implied, it's best to just get on.

 

I wonder if others have seen what I have.

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3 hours ago, FlashJack said:

Thanks Paul. As @liuzhou pointed out in the subsequent post, rice has useful abrasive properties. I'm not too worried. As you implied, it's best to just get on.

 

I wonder if others have seen what I have.

 

I gave up on my Darto.  Paella invariably destroyed the seasoning.  For paella I now use Falk.

 

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

Whatever you crave, there's a dumpling for you. -- Hsiao-Ching Chou

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/10/2024 at 3:17 PM, JoNorvelleWalker said:

For paella I now use Falk.

Jo,

 

I'm confused/appalled/intrigued.

 

What differences between Falk and Darto could lead to this?

 

Please forbear another attack on my wallet. I'm happy with my Darto -- I have 6 or 7. Why would they be unusually susceptible to rice attack or the Falk so resistant? This is metallurgy meets mystery.

 

 

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15 hours ago, FlashJack said:

Jo,

 

I'm confused/appalled/intrigued.

 

What differences between Falk and Darto could lead to this?

 

Please forbear another attack on my wallet. I'm happy with my Darto -- I have 6 or 7. Why would they be unusually susceptible to rice attack or the Falk so resistant? This is metallurgy meets mystery.

 

 

 

Unlike Darto, the seasoning does not come off the Falk.

 

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4 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Unlike Darto, the seasoning does not come off the Falk.

 

Hmmm, do you have an explanation or a theory as to why this might be?

 

Your Falk, unless it is very early production, is lined in stainless, yes?  And your Dartos are carbon steel, right?  In my experience, only carbon steel builds any polymer worthy of the term 'seasoning'.  You can, kinda, sorta, temporarily "season" stainless, in the sense that it can be made less sticky, but there is no visible polymer that stays with the pan.  I have had the unfortunate experience of trying to strip tenacious oil spatter and gunk from certain SS-lined pans (e.g., Demeyere Prolines with their Silvinox treatment), but I never considered that gunk being seasoning.

 

Would you please post a photo of your seasoned Falk?

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2 hours ago, Laurentius said:

 

Hmmm, do you have an explanation or a theory as to why this might be?

 

Your Falk, unless it is very early production, is lined in stainless, yes?  And your Dartos are carbon steel, right?  In my experience, only carbon steel builds any polymer worthy of the term 'seasoning'.  You can, kinda, sorta, temporarily "season" stainless, in the sense that it can be made less sticky, but there is no visible polymer that stays with the pan.  I have had the unfortunate experience of trying to strip tenacious oil spatter and gunk from certain SS-lined pans (e.g., Demeyere Prolines with their Silvinox treatment), but I never considered that gunk being seasoning.

 

Would you please post a photo of your seasoned Falk?

 

I hoped I would not have had to explain, but the stainless steel on the Falk does not easily come off.

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

Whatever you crave, there's a dumpling for you. -- Hsiao-Ching Chou

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47 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I hoped I would not have had to explain, but the stainless steel on the Falk does not easily come off.

 

Huh.  I thought you meant the seasoning doesn't come off.  But you meant the metal itself?

 

I'm actually not being snarky.  If there's a way to build up real seasoning/polymer that is useful, I'm all for it, even if it's unsightly.  Tell me how you do it?

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On 3/20/2024 at 9:56 PM, Laurentius said:

Huh.  I thought you meant the seasoning doesn't come off.  But you meant the metal itself?

 

I'm actually not being snarky.  If there's a way to build up real seasoning/polymer that is useful, I'm all for it, even if it's unsightly.  Tell me how you do it?

 

My Darto seasoning experiments are somewhere in the Darto topic, including pictures.  The point about Falk was that there is no seasoning to come off.  Though I'm still sad for my poor Darto paella.

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

Whatever you crave, there's a dumpling for you. -- Hsiao-Ching Chou

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10 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I'm still sad for my poor Darto paella.

Don't be sa, just redo the seasoning.  And maybe stop short if you're making paella?  I mean, paella is supposed to stick to some degree, yes?

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