Blogger Sheryl Canter offers this Recipe for Seasoning Cast Iron based on what looks like a very well-thought out scientific analysis. After researching the subject she concluded:
The seasoning on cast iron is formed by fat polymerization, fat polymerization is maximized with a drying oil, and flaxseed oil is the only drying oil that’s edible. From that I deduced that flaxseed oil would be the ideal oil for seasoning cast iron.
Here’s the short version of this post explaining the process:
- Clean the pan (read Sheryl’s advice on several options.)
- Heat the pan in a 200°F oven to be sure it’s bone dry.
- Pour a little flaxseed oil on a paper towel and thinly coat the pan.
- Rub the oil off with paper towels or a cotton cloth until it looks like there is nothing left on the surface. The pan should look dry.
- Put the oiled pan in a cold oven, set at 500°F . When it reaches temperature bake the pan for an hour.
- Turn off the oven let the pan cool inside the oven for two hours.
- Repeat the process several times.
Flaxseed oil is, apparently, pretty expensive and tends to go rancid quickly. Nature’s Way Flax Oil – 24 Ounce is reasonably priced ($0.25/oz) on Amazon and should be enough to season a lot of cast iron.
PA Bill says
Sheryl did a nice write up.
I would note, that many of the new cast iron pans are made with very rough castings. A lot of the old ones have a machined smooth pan bottom and are very non-stick. I have one from my parents that has been in continuous use for near 40 years, it is the best non-stick pan I have ever used.
What I have done with some of the new rough surface pans that are allegedly pre-seasoned, I sand the bottoms smooth, working up to a 400 grit or higher paper. Then I re-season the pan. This way you can start out with a very good non-stick pan from the start.
I love my cast iron cookware!
Stephen Cerruti says
It both told me how to do it correctly and what mistakes led to the way my oven currently looks.
That being said, there is a minimum 18 hours in the oven required for this method in 3 hour chunks, more if you want a true non-stick surface on a Lodge pan.
I let Scouts (including my sons) use mine which means it doesn’t always get cared for. I think I’ll stick with less thorough seasonings more often.
Very good timing. I’ve got a rusty dutch oven that needs to be reseasoned.
Thanks for sharing!
Larry Green says
Thanks Clark. I was both impressed and intrigued by what Ms. Canter has written.