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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:01 am 
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My cast iron has been awesome since the smokey flax oil incident. I haven't had it that long, but there's little to no stickage, with small amounts of oil. The finish looks darker and more even too.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:49 pm 
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Good to know creep! I guess the smoking I was afraid of really helped your pan. I'm planning on busting out mine today to actually fry latkes.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:58 pm 
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I used my Lodge "non-stick" cast iron griddle maybe 4 times before I gave up and donated it. No matter what I did, things stuck like crazy on it, and I've been cooking with cast iron for over 30 years. I went back to my giant cast iron skillet for pancaking and it works just fine.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:54 pm 
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This thread was helpful but I think traditional cast iron may be too high maintenance for me. Are there any health benefits or is just for browning and taste? Does the enamel in enamelized ones negate the benefits? Probably the iron health benefits, but otherwise?
Having said that I may get one of those lodge ones to try, they are not expensive and I like the idea of a skillet that can go from stove to oven without the handle melting. Or just spring for le crueset, which I sometimes see at Marshall's.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:57 pm 
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I love cooking in my enamelized cast iron skillet (Le Creuset). I do not get the added iron benefits, but I get the same technical benefits as cast iron (basically, great heat retention, even cooking temperature, and good non-stick capabilities).

My skillet could go in the oven if the recipe called for it...but I've never done it. My skillet is too big for a reasonable cornbread recipe.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:19 pm 
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They are higher maintenance than other pans, but I'm not too fastidious with mine. I do always make sure it's dry before I put it away (if I needed to rinse it out, I'll dry it out by putting it on the stove on medium low heat for fifteen minutes and then let it cool completely before putting it away--only because I've seen rusty cast iron pans in the past and am paranoid about that). Sometimes, I get soap in mine, or use a tiny bit on purpose but it's all right, no harm done. They are such quality pans to use though. Absolutely the best thing you can get for the money and they use them on Iron Chef! And they look like the straight up Lodge ones to me that they're using on that show. I mean, cast iron are the best pans I own and worth the extra little trouble they take to care for. And the price can't be beat for the quality.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:58 pm 
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So, I should be getting my Lodge pre-seasoned skillet in the mail this week.

Any reccomendations on what I should (attempt to) make first? A cornbread maybe? are there certain things that are good do first with a new skillet?

I don't know why I am so freaking scared to use this. I vaguely remember my mom completly messing one up years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:56 pm 
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Chicki wrote:
So, I should be getting my Lodge pre-seasoned skillet in the mail this week.

Any reccomendations on what I should (attempt to) make first? A cornbread maybe? are there certain things that are good do first with a new skillet?

I don't know why I am so freaking scared to use this. I vaguely remember my mom completly messing one up years ago.


I'd deep-fry something or make something oily that's not likely to stick.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:08 pm 
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creep wrote:
Chicki wrote:
So, I should be getting my Lodge pre-seasoned skillet in the mail this week.
Any reccomendations on what I should (attempt to) make first? A cornbread maybe? are there certain things that are good do first with a new skillet?

I'd deep-fry something or make something oily that's not likely to stick.

Ditto. Cornbread would suck the oil right out of the seasoning. Make some stirfrys or anything that uses oil w/o much added liquid.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:29 pm 
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Hmm ok. Good thing I asked! See, apparently I am trying to mess up my pan already.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:06 am 
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I've been following this thread but am not sure this specific question has been answered, but:

I have a Staub Cocotte. It's similar to Le Creuset - pretty and expensive (for me) and I want to take good care of it. It's enameled on the outside, and black on the inside. I would think that it's a preseasoned cast iron on the inside... however, the care instructions say:

Care
Allow pan to cool before washing.
Dishwasher Safe.
Stubborn stains can be removed by soaking your pot for a few minutes in hot soapy water.
Completely dry pan before storing.
Avoid using steel wool, steel scouring pads, harsh detergents, bleach or abrasive cleaners.

I'm a little surprised by this - I would have thought washing the inside with soap was a bad idea. I was deep frying in it yesterday (I'm not on vegan food=health food trial here!) and after saving my oil (not on carcinogen trial either, that's for another thread) just rinsed it with hot water and paper-towelled it dry. But is this a bad idea? Should I have used dish soap instead? Will it get nasty or cause any harm to season it like I would expect? haaalp


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:16 am 
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annak, the product description says the inside is also enameled - but it is matte black so it's not shiny like the outside. So washing with soap is appropriate.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:11 pm 
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Hah, I somehow kind of completely missed that. Thanks. I'll wash it with soap. The inside of my Le Creuset casserole is this shiny light colored enamel so I guess that's what I would have expected enamel to look like. I should not be allowed to post on the PPK before 9am!!


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:45 pm 
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Last year I started collecting and restoring old cast iron pieces. I have gotten a little insane about this. Old cast iron is MUCH different than new cast iron, the iron itself is different as are the methods used in the casting. Older pans are much thinner and lighter, but the metal is more dense and glossy-smooth which creates a beautiful non-stick surface if you season it properly. For restoration, only if you're totally nuts like me, I use the electrolysis method, also known as the mad-scientist method. Here's a youtube video that demonstrates: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=p ... XlsNucmbiE Basically you submerge your piece in a tub filled with water and a little washing soda (to increase electrical conductivity) along with a sacrificial piece of metal that doesn't touch your pan. Then you hook the black end of a car battery charger to your pan, and the red end to the sacrificial steel and let it cook for a few days (depending on how strong your charger is and how bad your pan is) This method strips off absolutely everything that ever touched your pan, including rust, down to the bare metal like it was brand new from the factory.

Then I re-season using the flax oil method - you need multiple VERY THIN coats for this to work properly. Here's a before and after of an amazing old Wagner cast iron stove-top waffle iron from the 1920's that I restored.

Image

Image

Image

Image

The super-shiny blackness isn't oil on the iron - it's dry to the touch. It's how your finish looks after you've seasoned it really well using many super-thin layers of flax oil.

In maintaining your pan some of your seasoning WILL come off over time - the idea is you're basically continually adding thin layers of seasoning every time you cook just by virtue of the oil you cook with and rub the pan with when you're done (which then gets heated and cooked on with subsequent use) - just make sure any oil you're leaving in the pan when you're done (no need to limit it when you're cooking) is a very thin layer. Rub most of it away with a paper towel. Too much oil left in the pan leads to goopy uneven layers of seasoning that break down and flake off over time. This additional regular seasoning shouldn't be flax oil by the way - just your normal cooking oil. Flax just gives you a really good jump-start on the process for your initial seasoning. I usually add a few more layers of of flax seasoning a couple of times a year as a tune up.

As for care, I scrub with a nylon scrubbie with water, I only use soap rarely but it's not the end of the world. If something is really stuck on, which doesn't happen too often if I'm taking good care of my pan, I scrub with oil and salt and then rinse with water, or if there was a major accident, I simmer the pan on the stove with some water, then do oil and salt. My pans always get dried over the burner until there's no trace of water, then rubbed with a tiny bit of oil - I rub off all the excess with a paper towel. It sounds like it's a lot of work, but it's not at all. It's just different until you're used to it. And remember, many of these pans have survived for a hundred years or more ( I have a griddle from the 1890's) - they're very tough and forgiving and you can fix almost anything you do to them so long as you don't let rust eat holes in them.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:13 pm 
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You're intense.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:04 pm 
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creep wrote:
You're intense.



Yeah. I get that a lot.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:06 pm 
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That looks amazing!


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 6:27 pm 
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Wow. That waffle iron is a thing of beauty. So so awesome!


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:03 pm 
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Thanks guys! I posted that one because it's the most impressive looking in pictures and I'm pleased with the way it came out. I love pouring cornbread batter into it and serving crispy waffley triangles poking out of a bowl of chili.

I will say if you're interested in buying a more simple cast iron skillet, I recommend going with an older one, rather than a lodge. They're just better quality, but you do have to clean them up. They really end up costing very close to the same if you're just looking for one for every day use and not something fancy and rare to display. I have good luck on ebay and if anyone is interested, I can tell you what to look for.

If electrolysis is too extreme for you (it's fun and not hard, really! if you have a car battery charger already, you're halfway there), some people have good luck with using the self-cleaning cycle on their oven, as someone else mentioned. You risk cracking or warping your pan, though many people seem to use this method without a problem. Some people also use oven cleaner, I just don't like the chemicals on something I'm going to cook with but many people don't seem to mind.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:14 pm 
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I had such a dum dum moment! I made tomato rice soup from V'con in my cast iron Dutch oven and then I fell asleep and left the soup in the pot overnight. The pot's fine but now my soup tastes super iron-y. I made blood soup!!!!!!! (not vegan!)

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:00 pm 
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Miz Mac wrote:
You risk cracking or warping your pan, though many people seem to use this method without a problem.


Back when I was using cast iron, I had a fantastic old Griswold cast iron pan. It did, indeed, perform differently from the Lodge cast iron that I also had (both worked well). But eventually I noticed that the Griswold was slightly warped and didn't sit as cleanly on my smooth top electric range. Now I know why - the previous owner may have tried to clean/season it at too high a temp in their oven. I always wondered about the warping and wondered if I had caused it. I was pretty sure I hadn't, but now I'm sure. Thanks.

And, beautiful job on that waffle iron. Truly a labor of love and a work of art and function. Thanks for sharing.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:34 pm 
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Miz Mac wrote:
Thanks guys! I posted that one because it's the most impressive looking in pictures and I'm pleased with the way it came out. I love pouring cornbread batter into it and serving crispy waffley triangles poking out of a bowl of chili.

Cornbread in a waffle shape - genius! That is so wonderfully impressive! (Your cast iron waffle maker, I mean.) Super great job on that. I really love your enthusiasm, and now I think I'm gonna go rescue my cast iron pan that needs some love.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:59 pm 
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bodhi wrote:
Miz Mac wrote:
Thanks guys! I posted that one because it's the most impressive looking in pictures and I'm pleased with the way it came out. I love pouring cornbread batter into it and serving crispy waffley triangles poking out of a bowl of chili.

Cornbread in a waffle shape - genius! That is so wonderfully impressive! (Your cast iron waffle maker, I mean.) Super great job on that. I really love your enthusiasm, and now I think I'm gonna go rescue my cast iron pan that needs some love.

Totally was going to quote the same thing, mind blowing!

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:39 am 
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quagga wrote:
Miz Mac wrote:
You risk cracking or warping your pan, though many people seem to use this method without a problem.


Back when I was using cast iron, I had a fantastic old Griswold cast iron pan. It did, indeed, perform differently from the Lodge cast iron that I also had (both worked well). But eventually I noticed that the Griswold was slightly warped and didn't sit as cleanly on my smooth top electric range. Now I know why - the previous owner may have tried to clean/season it at too high a temp in their oven. I always wondered about the warping and wondered if I had caused it. I was pretty sure I hadn't, but now I'm sure. Thanks.

And, beautiful job on that waffle iron. Truly a labor of love and a work of art and function. Thanks for sharing.



That may totally have been what happened, but it could also have been an accident where someone left the dry pan on the burner for too long and forgot about it , or maybe even a casting flaw that was accentuated by excessive heat over a long period of time. It's one of the things that you look for when you buy old pans - does it sit totally flat on a flat surface, or does it rock a bit. I've walked away and forgotten about a pan I was heating to take the water off - fortunately not for so long that it ruined the pan or burned down my house, but I can see how it could happen.

Thank you for the compliment on the waffle iron. One of the things I love best about it is how neat and functional and brilliantly simple the design is. The two halves of the cooking portion of the iron (as opposed to the base) are not connected in any way - they rest securely in the little ball joint on the base and then spin to flip the waffle, but pull apart totally separately for cleaning. SO MUCH EASIER than cleaning a waffle iron that's attached to electrical parts and can't be taken apart or scrubbed. I can just take this to the sink. There was a bit of a learning curve in figuring out how hot it needed to be and how long to preheat it and such, but like anything in the kitchen you get a feel for it and then it's like second nature. And my god, you have never had such a crispy-on-the-outside moist-on-the-inside waffle from an electric iron. You can't beat cast iron for a great sear or delicious crisp crust. Those of you that have had cornbread from a cast iron pan know what I'm talking about.

Thanks for letting me geek out guys!

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:50 am 
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That waffle iron is too cool and what a beautiful job you did restoring it!

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