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Old 12-20-2011, 01:51 AM   #1
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Basic Question about Seasoning cast iron

Hello,

I am very new to cast iron and I could use a lot of advice. I purchased a small Le Cruset enameled cast iron skillet and filled it up with lots of corn oil and put it in the oven at 450 degrees for about 4 hours. When I opened the oven, I noticed the grease had splattered all over the beautiful enamel and on the inside sides of the pan and the only way to get it off was to use oven cleaner. I tried this again but I used a lot less corn oil and lower heat and put it in the oven and got great results maybe 1 or 2 times when I cooked afterwards. But around the 3rd time, the potatoes stuck and basically coated the bottom surface of the pan, and did not get fried. I read an article Chemistry of Cast Iron Seasoning: A Science-Based How-To and will now do the 6 coats with flaxseed oil because I really want to get this seasoning business nailed down correctly. But my question is how long is this seasoning supposed to last? Will it last the lifetime of the pan (forever), or will I need to season it again sometime in the future? If so, is there a way to tell if there is not enough seasoning in the pan before I start cooking so I don’t waste ingredients and get terrible results?

Thank you,
Igor

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Old 12-20-2011, 06:18 AM   #2
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Isn't one of the rules of seasoned pans that you must never wash them? I think I read you are supposed to only wipe them out but no soap and water.

In this day and age of hygiene paranoia I like to wash all my pans. Having said that cooking at high heat is also going to kill germs.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:21 AM   #3
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Just MHO, but I dont think you need to season enameled. Sal.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:36 AM   #4
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Just MHO, but I dont think you need to season enameled. Sal.
I have to agree with you on that one. And I was stunned to read that she filled the skillet with corn oil? Whenever I have seasoned a black cast iron skillet, I have always used a paper towel dipped in oil and spread all over the inside of the item. Then placed in a low (200ºF) temp oven for about eight hours or until it became a solid part of the skillet. For the price of Le Creuset, I hope she hasn't damaged the skillet beyond repair. I can't help wonder, did it come with instructions to season it? Or was this her own idea?
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:37 AM   #5
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Yikes! Stop!

Don't try to season ENAMELED cast iron!!! There's no need to do it. You only need to season bare uncoated cast iron.

You are likely ruining a very $ piece of LeCreuset cookware by deliberately baking on a layer of grease.

Clean it as best you can and carry on. If food sticks it's about technique and not the pan.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:38 AM   #6
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Isn't one of the rules of seasoned pans that you must never wash them? I think I read you are supposed to only wipe them out but no soap and water.

In this day and age of hygiene paranoia I like to wash all my pans. Having said that cooking at high heat is also going to kill germs.
No. That's not a rule for a well seasoned pan. Hot water and soap are fine.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:45 AM   #7
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Yikes! Stop!

Don't try to season ENAMELED cast iron!!! There's no need to do it. You only need to season bare uncoated cast iron.
You are likely ruining a very $ piece of LeCreuset cookware by deliberately baking on a layer of grease.
Clean it as best you can and carry on. If food sticks it's about technique and not the pan.
Sounds like we definitely have a newbie to the world of cooking here and needs some guidance.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:51 AM   #8
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No. That's not a rule for a well seasoned pan. Hot water and soap are fine.
Anytime I used my cast iron skillet for frying fish, I always filled it with water and a tiny dash of dish liquid, bring to a boil, rinse and wipe dry immediately. Never any harm done to the original seasoning of the pan. The secret to using water on them is to dry the skillet thoroughly and immediately after rinsing. Do not let water sit in it to air dry. Rust can and will set in.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:58 AM   #9
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Does anyone else have enamelware pans? A number of years ago, they were the rage. So easy to wash. But then even the smallest amount of abuse, the enamel started to show chips and dings. For the price of Le Cruset, I wonder if it too develops dings and chipping.
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:18 AM   #10
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I have some Lodge enamelware. I only use it for braising and no sharp utensils.
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:08 AM   #11
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Does anyone else have enamelware pans? A number of years ago, they were the rage. So easy to wash. But then even the smallest amount of abuse, the enamel started to show chips and dings. For the price of Le Cruset, I wonder if it too develops dings and chipping.
I love my LC enameled CI. I do not have any problem with chips or dings. My LC French oven is my favorite piece of cookware. It gets a ton of use and is still in the same condition as the day I got it.
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:34 PM   #12
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Yes, but the cooking surface is not enameled so I would need to season right? Only the outside of the pan is enameled.
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:38 PM   #13
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No. That's not a rule for a well seasoned pan. Hot water and soap are fine.
Not too much soap I would think. I may use a tiny drop of dish soap. I use my small cast iron skillet to make gringo taco meat. Since it tends to retain the spicy taco mix flavoring, I fill the skillet with water and bring it to a boil and then use a standard dish brush to scour it. I may add a drop of Dawn dishwashing liquid, but am wary of using too much as it may degrade the built up carbon layer.
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:41 PM   #14
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The cooking surface is black enamel, it's not exposed cast iron (which is grey) no seasoning required.

http://cookware.lecreuset.com/cookwa..._20002_10064__

Is this your pan?
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Old 12-20-2011, 11:06 PM   #15
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The cooking surface is black enamel, it's not exposed cast iron (which is grey) no seasoning required.

Le Creuset - Product Information: 9" Iron Handle Skillet

Is this your pan?
With a durable satin black interior enamel and brilliant exterior enamel, the Iron Handle Skillet is protected inside and out

So now what is the next step to her saving this very expensive pan? Our newest member needs our help and I am at a loss. They didn't have these fancy pans when I was growing up. You just prayed and hoped that you could get your hands on Grandma's before anyone else when she passed.
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Old 12-20-2011, 11:09 PM   #16
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With a durable satin black interior enamel and brilliant exterior enamel, the Iron Handle Skillet is protected inside and out

So now what is the next step to her saving this very expensive pan? Our newest member needs our help and I am at a loss. They didn't have these fancy pans when I was growing up. You just prayed and hoped that you could get your hands on Grandma's before anyone else when she passed.
If that is the pan she has then the next step is to start enjoying the pan. No need for any additional steps.
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Old 12-20-2011, 11:36 PM   #17
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I think what surprises me the most is the fact that she didn't have a grease fire in the oven. According to her original post, she put a lot of corn oil in the pan and placed the pan in a very hot oven. I can just see that oil boiling in the oven. Surely she had an angel looking over her shoulder.
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:11 AM   #18
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It might be time to call Le Creust support 1-877-CREUSET (273-8738).
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:25 AM   #19
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It might be time to call Le Creust support 1-877-CREUSET (273-8738).
Excellent suggestion. Hopefull they may suggest that she return the pan to them and they will replace it with a new one with printed instructions on how to care for it.
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:59 AM   #20
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With a durable satin black interior enamel and brilliant exterior enamel, the Iron Handle Skillet is protected inside and out

So now what is the next step to her saving this very expensive pan? Our newest member needs our help and I am at a loss. They didn't have these fancy pans when I was growing up. You just prayed and hoped that you could get your hands on Grandma's before anyone else when she passed.
Yep that's exactly it. This is my first experience with cast iron so it's a trial and error endeavor...

I think the skillet is OK since I just degreased it and it looks new again. Will try it this weekend and see if anything sticks.

I read some comments on this site Should I season my new Le Creuset cast iron skillet and grill pan? - Cookware - Chowhound and some of them are saying they get better results after seasoning.
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