dutch oven seasoning

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dutch oven seasoning

Postby mercy » Sat May 13, 2006 1:20 pm

i have a lodge logic dutch oven. had it for a few months, and it's done beautifully. last week, i took a stab at lasanga in the dutch oven. it came out beautifully. the seasoning on the dutch oven, however...not so good. :oops:

there's a line around the inside of the oven where the lasanga stopped. above that, the seasoning is still there. below it, i can see iron. i oiled it and stuck it over some coals while we were out camping. now, i'm starting to wonder if i need to strip the whole thing and start over, or can i reseason just the inside up to that line... or fry something in it, maybe?

help me, oh wise dutch oven people!
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Postby TomS » Sat May 13, 2006 2:01 pm

Courtney,

I'd try to reseason the inside first. It's worth a try. The worst case scenario is you'll have to strip and reseason the whole oven.

If you do have to strip and reseason the entire oven, I suggest you do it outside on a gas grill. If you use your home kitchen oven, you'll smoke up the house big time.
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Postby Ma3tt » Sat May 13, 2006 2:53 pm

tomato acid eats the seasoning learned that one myself. I would try just re-seasoning before stripping.
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Postby IndyTom » Sat May 13, 2006 3:25 pm

Courtney,

I have a large cast iron pot, the kind normally called a dutch oven by folks that have never seen a real one, and I frequently use it for soups or stews with a fair amount of tomato in them. Every time I do, most of the seasoning comes off. After cleaning, I just rub with some olive oil, pot and lid, and put them into the regular oven and heat at about 250-400 for an hour or two. Usually reseasons just fine. Just dont put the lid on the pot in the oven. Last time I did that I got something really sticky inside.

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Postby Kurt (Indiana) » Sat May 13, 2006 4:31 pm

IndyTom wrote:...and I frequently use it for soups or stews with a fair amount of tomato in them. Last time I did that I got something really sticky inside.

Tom


Do you think the tomato acid is what eats away the seasoning? I do Chili and Jambalaya, but I don't notice the ring. I always rub it down with olive oil after I clean it and that seems to work OK. :thinking:
I'm curious why the seasoning is eroding like that. I don't know a lot about DO's except that the food always tastes great. I made some good corn bread last week at Spring Mill. (you missed it) :thumbsup:

ps. I should have read ma3tt's post about tomato acid. - never mind :oops:
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Postby madjack » Sat May 13, 2006 4:41 pm

I have several CI skillets and a couple of DO's like Indy is talking about and use them like Kurt sez...for over 30 years all I have ever done is wash 'em(with soap), place them on TOP of the stove on a hot burner until the water has completely evaporated and then wipe down with some oil on a paper towel...that is all I have ever done to them and it is all my mother ever did before me (most of my CI is her old stuff) and they are just fine...no purists here
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Postby Laredo » Sat May 13, 2006 5:08 pm

Caveat: season with vegetable fat particularly if the food you'll cook has any acid at all (and peach cobbler has a lot).
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Postby Chef » Sun May 14, 2006 9:25 am

I am constantly amazed at the opinions on this subject and more amazed at how few of them actualy take into account the science of what seasoning cast iron is. Two of the most common ideas I see are baking the piece at 250-350 degrees and not to use vegetable oil because it will be tacky. Will one of these is due to the other, but niethr is based on good science.

So what is happening when we season and why would I make such a claim when so many people hold these ideas? Well seasoning is more than sealing a pan with fat. What makes the cast iron non-stick is the creation of a layer of carbon. Ok, so the prevelant myths:

Bake at 250 - 350: With the exception of butter (350) and certain Olive oils (320), niether of which should ever be used for seasoniong pans, these temperatures do not even reach the smoke point of most oils. So if we don't even reach the smoke point of oil we cannot create carbon. Personally I think this idea of seasoning at low temperatures came from a desire to avoid the smoke that is created from seasoning properly. True seasoning happens at high temperatures - 500 - 550 degrees is a good idea. However this will create smoke, so if you season in your oven make sure the windows are open and turn on the vent fan.

Vegetable oil isn't good for seasoning because it gets tacky - well yes...if you use low temperatures. However, good vegetable oil has the potential to to give you the best coating. Because of its high smoke point veg oil doesn't carbonise at the low temperatures. When done at high temps veg oil creates the purest and hardest carbon coating on your pans. Lard is your second best choice but veg oil is still the best. Veg shortening is ok, but not my choice. The reason shortening seems to work at lower temps is because the fat is a solid at room temperature not because it is completely carbonised.

A real method for creating a carbon coating on cast iron (seasoning) - rub a thin even layer of veg oil on your cleaned pan. Turn upside down on newspaper and allow it it sit overnight. Place in a 200 oven for an hour it will make the oil tacky, turn your oven to 500. When the oven comes to 500 set the timer for one hour. When the timer goes off turn the oven off and set the timer for two hours. Don't open the oven. Leave the pan in the oven to cool. When the timer goes off the pan is ready to cook with. If you really want a bullet proof cooking you can repeat the process.

Done properly this will give you the best possible coating on your pans. I am sure there will be replies saying how the other methods work for you, well that's fine, but most people with cast iron I see treat their season coating like it is something fragile. Done properly it is not at all fragile and can only be removed with very high acid/ alkline foods or real abuse. If your coating is coming off because you made lasagna you don't have carbon on your pan just a well baked layer of fat/oil. Also a properly seasoned pan will hold up very wel to modern dishwasing liquid. Old fashioned lye soap is a different story. I don't reccomend you use it all the time but there is no problem using it occaisionally.


Laredo wrote:Caveat: season with vegetable fat particularly if the food you'll cook has any acid at all (and peach cobbler has a lot).


Absolutely true, a layer of fat or oil should be used whenever you cook with cast iron. Seasoning creates a good low-stick coating, but it isn't teflon and the layer of fat prevents your coating as well as your food.
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Re: dutch oven seasoning

Postby gager2002 » Tue May 16, 2006 9:59 am

mercy wrote:i have a lodge logic dutch oven. had it for a few months, and it's done beautifully. last week, i took a stab at lasanga in the dutch oven. it came out beautifully. the seasoning on the dutch oven, however...not so good. :oops:

there's a line around the inside of the oven where the lasanga stopped. above that, the seasoning is still there. below it, i can see iron. i oiled it and stuck it over some coals while we were out camping. now, i'm starting to wonder if i need to strip the whole thing and start over, or can i reseason just the inside up to that line... or fry something in it, maybe?

help me, oh wise dutch oven people!




Next time try lining the oven with heavy duty aluminum foi. The nice thing about this is after you eat, you pull out the foil and there is nothing to clean. Rinse with water, and oil, and re-heat for while.
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Postby Ira » Tue May 16, 2006 3:21 pm

Lasagna in a dutch oven?

I grew up with Italians, and this thread is just plain wrong to me on all levels!!!

What's next--potato pancakes!?
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Postby Rob » Tue May 16, 2006 3:41 pm

My better half was reading a DO book discussing placing a cake pan in the DO and cooking in that. You can even put some type of lifter under the cake pan to allow air flow underneath. It keeps the DO clean, but a 12" DO becomes a 10" depending on the size of the cake pan. She has done some experimenting with it already and I'm looking forward to more experiments. :awesome:
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Postby TomS » Tue May 16, 2006 9:31 pm

Ira wrote:Lasagna in a dutch oven?

I grew up with Italians, and this thread is just plain wrong to me on all levels!!!

What's next--potato pancakes!?


Ira,

Don't knock it until you've tried it. I made lasagna in my DO. My family LOVED it.

If you think about it, a couple hundred years ago most cooking was done in fire places. the dish was probably invented in a cast-iron pot.
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Postby WarPony » Tue May 16, 2006 9:58 pm

Rob wrote:You can even put some type of lifter under the cake pan to allow air flow underneath


I bought a pie rack for my 10" Lodge. It's a small, round, wire rack that's about 3/4" high. Fits right in the bottom. I like it because it keeps the food off of the bottom just in case there is too much heat underneath. I don't know what everybody cooks in theirs but I tend to slow cook and/or bake my food, so I like the low heat. The water that is baked off of the food drips off the lid, lays underneath the rack and turns to steam. Steam is hotter that boiled water so less heat makes a nice, toasty oven for foil-wrapped meat, potatoes, corn-on-the-cob. It recycles the water and helps cook the food. Breakfast casseroles and desserts are a different story. They need more vigilant cooks (not me :beer:). Wink, wink.
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Re: dutch oven seasoning

Postby Joanne » Tue May 16, 2006 10:55 pm

Hey Courtney,

I'm with "Chef" on this one. The high heat method works much better than the lower temp methods. I have an old skillet that my grandmother and mother both used. You can cook *anything* in them and it doesn't effect the seasoning. In addition to good seasoning technique, using your ovens a lot will help build the seasoning.

Unless one of my ovens has gone rancid, I will alway reseason on top of the existing seasoning. Rancid ovens get put into the BBQ and burned clean, then reseasoned.

Joanne


mercy wrote:i have a lodge logic dutch oven. had it for a few months, and it's done beautifully. last week, i took a stab at lasanga in the dutch oven. it came out beautifully. the seasoning on the dutch oven, however...not so good. :oops:

there's a line around the inside of the oven where the lasanga stopped. above that, the seasoning is still there. below it, i can see iron. i oiled it and stuck it over some coals while we were out camping. now, i'm starting to wonder if i need to strip the whole thing and start over, or can i reseason just the inside up to that line... or fry something in it, maybe?

help me, oh wise dutch oven people!
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Postby Texsita » Tue May 16, 2006 11:11 pm

Check out the LSDOS! "Lone Star Dutch Oven Society" www.lsdos.com

Question: How do I season a Dutch Oven?
Answer: Below is the procedure I use. You can also season one outdoors over charcoal. See Duane and Sandy's outdoor cooking booklet for instructions.

Seasoning a Dutch Oven

1. Wash with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. Rinse and dry completely. Dutch ovens are shipped with a coating of food grade wax.
2. Place in hot oven for a few minutes to completely dry and drive all water out of the pores of the iron.
3. Carefully remove pot from oven and let cool for a few minutes.
4. Oil the cookware (inside and out) with MELTED solid vegetable shortening. I use a paper towel to spread Crisco all over the pot and the lid.
5. Turn upside down on the top rack of a 450°F pre-heated oven.
6. Put aluminum foil on the bottom rack to catch any excess drippings.
7. Bake the pot and lid for one hour at 450°F.
8. Turn oven down to 200 degrees and bake for an additional hour.
9. Turn off oven and let the pot cool slowly in the oven.
10. Store, uncovered, in a dry place when cooled.

You probably want to do this on a nice day so you can open the windows as it will make a LOT of smoke as the oil bakes onto the surface. You can use oils other than Crisco as well. I have used Canola oil with good results. Do not use an animal fat such as bacon drippings or lard. It will go rancid in storage much quicker than vegetable shortening. I used to recommend seasoning the pot at 350 degrees but have decided that 450 degrees or so gives a blacker finish quicker. The 350 degree baked seasoning is perfectly good but takes several uses to achieve the blackened finish that denotes lots of good use.

Question: How do I clean my Dutch Oven?

Answer: After each use, you can clean the Dutch oven as follows:

Cleaning a Dutch Oven

1. If food is badly burned and crusted in the pot, fill with very hot water and let sit for a few minutes.
2. Scrape out burned stuff with a plastic scraper or plastic spatula.
3. When excess is removed, then use hot water and a plastic scrubby or natural fiber brush to scrub clean the pot. Natural fiber brushes can be found at Asian stores and other places as well.
4. Don't use soap to clean the pot as it will get into the seasoning and possibly be tasted in your next dish.
5. Place back on heat and let dry thoroughly. Store with lid open in a dry place when cooled. Many say lightly oil before storing but they will rapidly go rancid in warmer climates if stored with an oil coating. Just oil slightly before each use.

Tip: NEVER wash your cast iron cookware in a dishwasher. (Never wash your good kitchen knives in the dishwasher either)
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