How Do I Season A Brand New Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet?
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Depending on whether the owner wants to strip the pre-season or buy the cast iron with the intention of using the flavors of the skillet, a chef will have two first steps options to take.
To start the stripping, the cleaning process takes small amounts of dish soap and water with a metallic scrubbing pad.
After a good rinse cycle, dry with a towel, then place the cast iron onto the stove to heat up and remove all excess water.
Add a layer of shortening and oil, and bake the seasoning layer in the cast iron skillet. One key thing to remember is not to wash a seasoned cast iron skillet with soap.
What Should You Use to Do it?
As with most things cooking, there are as many opinions on what is needed to season a cast iron as there are chefs properly. Seasoning aims to add a layer of oil, grease, or shortening to fill in the porous surface of the skillet and create a non-stick surface with flavor.
Depending on your preference for seasoning, flavoring will be the only difference; otherwise, a chef should use a clean rag to apply the oil to the entire outer surface of the skillet.
This includes the bottom of the cookware but focuses on the inner portions where the cooking happens.
Should You Wash the Cast Iron Before Seasoning?
This will depend on the cast iron’s state, and if there is any rust or grease building up on the skillet’s surface, then the cast iron will require stripping of the seasoning, followed by a reapplication.
If the owner is conscious and takes care of their cooking, the only washing needed will be to rinse off dust with warm water and a towel dry. The next step will be to heat the skillet and apply oil, or butter, to the inside of the pan, ready for cooking.
How to Do it the Right Way?
There are going to be different ways of going about seasoning a cast iron skillet, but the most consistent steps on how to correctly do this go as follows:
- Assess the cleanliness of the cast iron and wash it accordingly
- Once dried, apply a thin layer of oil (or lipid, grease, shortening) and cook it in the pan.
- After the seasoning layer is applied, add an additional layer of oil before cooking.
- After cooking, and washing the skillet, add a layer of oil to the cast iron as a protective layer for all the flavor saved from previous meals.
How Long Does it Take to Do it?
A well-maintained cast-iron piece of cookware will need only a minute or so to apply a layer of oil to the entire surface of the skillet. However, there will be other processes that will take longer, which occur when the presence of rusting or other messy buildup occurs.
The best cast irons have been maintained and bi-annually re-seasoned for years, and some of these aged pieces of cookware are the best in flavor and take time to develop. However, the most seasoned chefs will have one or two of these unique pieces in their kitchens.
Common Mistakes you Need to Avoid
The biggest mistake made with cast iron is washing a perfectly seasoned skillet with soap and water. The only time a person should wash cast iron with soap is when it has been left uncleaned or rusted and needs to be completely re-seasoned.
Another common mistake is to leave water on the cast iron skillet after washing, and it is very important that a chef dries their cast iron entirely before putting it into storage.
These pieces of cookware rust quickly and require tremendous amounts of tender loving care to maintain and develop into genuinely flavorful cast iron pieces.
Final Thoughts on How do I season a Brand New Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
Cast iron skillets are just one of those pieces of cookware that can be used in just about any oven, firepit, or stovetop and have unique properties when it comes to conserving and preserving flavors within their porous surface.
This property of cast iron makes them a lifelong companion in the kitchen; some chefs even speak of them as family heirlooms, which speaks to the level of love created by these cast iron pieces over a lifetime.
There are even movie screen sightings of these fantastic pieces of cookery; a certain Hobbit named Samwise Gamgee was seen sporting a few on his journey in Middle-Earth.