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Cast Iron Dutch Oven
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UptownGirl



Joined: 02 Nov 2006
Posts: 15
Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:59 am    Post subject: Cast Iron Dutch Oven Reply with quote

Hi Everyone,

In Clotilde's post today, or more specifically in the comments to the post, some posters brought up how much they love their cast iron cookware...we have had a Lodge cast iron dutch oven for a few months and while I was so excited to buy it, I am somewhat disappointed.

I am sure the disappointment is my fault, I thought I knew how to take care of it but obviously not because it does not stay well seasoned...

Sometimes it even turns a bit orange! I may have used soap on it but at the store they said that was fine as long as we didn't use the dishwasher, have I ruined it??

Please post any suggestions for salvaging my dutch oven and for the best way to maintain a well-seasoned cast iron piece...because, of course, I would like to buy more cast iron cookware : )

Thanks!!
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They lied about the soap. A chef will knife someone for using soap on their cast iron. Cleaning it with warm water and oiling it down afterwards. If that doesn't help I am sure there is something out there that can help. If you are able to revive your pot only clean it with warm water or just wipe it down with a dry cloth.

I hope this helps, sorry about your sad experience! You may like enameled cast iron better. I am in love with Le Creuset and Staub.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like Erin I love my Le Creuset stuff (one large and one smaller casserole ductch oven thingys and a wonderful little saucepan with lid, all blue blue blue) but I also love my cast iron frying pan. On one occasion I left it quite wet before oiling it and put it away. The next time I took it out to my horror it was rusted around the inside edges. In the end though I just scraped that off, really really scrubbed it down with oil and it has been fine ever since. I hope 'tis the same for you!
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georgia



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 456
Location: california

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was also advised to avoid using a cloth to dry cast iron; fibers do seem to stick to it. Instead, once it's cleaned (with water), put it back on a low/medium burner on the stovetop and dry it with heat. (Just remember to turn it off and then NOT grab it to put it away!...Experience speaking here...)

Don't know whether that's "official" instruction, but it works for me.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David,
My parents are sending me a giant Le Creuset oven for my birthday. I can't wait!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erin wrote:
David,
My parents are sending me a giant Le Creuset oven for my birthday. I can't wait!


God, they must love you! I bet it's costing them again to mail it what it cost to buy it!

PS I congratulate them on their excellent taste on both counts. Wink
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sunsky



Joined: 05 Dec 2006
Posts: 2
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:12 pm    Post subject: cast iron Reply with quote

Here's how I clean my cast iron skillet: I soak it for a for a few minutes in water then sprinkle kosher salt on it and "scub" it clean with a paper towel. After the final rinses in water, take another paper towel to thoroughly dry it and then oil it to keep it nicely seasoned.

Those looking for bargains on enameld cast iron like Le Creuset in the states, try Tuesday Morning, TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Home Goods. They may not have the latest colors but you can find very good deals.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great news Erin---do you know what colour??
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Deste



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 307
Location: Far, far away

PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How come this topic is under "Resources" and not "Cooking..."?

In any respect, I wanted to pipe up to say:

1) You do need to season your Dutch oven. Coat it with a clear, flavorless vegetable oil like canola. Really rub it in and then slather it again. Put in a very low oven (around 200 F) and leave it there for a long period of time, such as 6 hours. The oil should bake on as a protective coating. You might wish to repeat the process.

2) I managed to find what the saleswoman called a "Staub Basic," a 4-quart enameled cast iron casserole for only $40 (US). No fancy inner lid, no indication of the company, just "Made in France" and the number "26" recessed, under the coating. It is obviously not top-quality and after a year, especially after a couple of rounds of No-Knead Bread, the outside is speckled with brown and there are spots inside where it looks as if the enamel is going to wear away. Nonetheless, I cannot believe I've cooked so long without such a pot. Love, love, love it. Next up: clay!!!!

QUESTION
Any way to deal with radical compromise of seasoned layer in a cast iron skillet?

I treat mine well (no soap, Kosher salt rub), but the water in my builidng has a HIGH mineral content and the heat from the gas flame on my burner isn't distributed evenly over the surface of the pan.

Consequently, a thickish chip of the seasoned layer has gradually come off an area (Diameter: around 2-inches) in the center of the interior of the pan which bows down slightly given intensity of heat concentrated on the exterior.

Someone at Sur La Table told me to scrub it with a soapy steel wool pad until I remove all the seasoning. However, a lot of work only widened the diameter of the chip in the center. I do need bigger arm muscles on my whimpy frame, but it would take me months to get rid of all of it before I could start all over.
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Alexandra_M



Joined: 04 Nov 2006
Posts: 11
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the pan turned orange, that means you probably didn't dry it throughly after washing it and it started to rust. The only way to totally dry cast iron is to heat it up on the stove over low to medium heat immediately after washing. Scrub out the rust, rinse the pan, dry it well with a paper towel, then rub the pan with some fat. Put the pan on the stove, and heat until it just starts to smoke.

I prefer to use solid fats rather than liquid vegetable oils for seasoning. Solid fats don't go rancid as fast as vegetable oils, and for some reason, vegetable oils seem to make the seasoning sticky. Lard is ideal, but how many of us actually have lard lying around? I usually use a trans-fat free vegetable shortening that is made of palm oil.

The pan probably won't be totally stick-free yet, but be patient! The easiest way to get a cast iron pan fully seasoned is to just cook fatty meats (bacon, hamburgers, pork chops...) in it. After cooking the meat, rinse out the pan and scrape out any burned bits. I like to use a plastic pan scraper to scrape out the pan since it makes it easy to scrape up any bits of food sticking to the pan without damaging the seasoning layer. Wipe the pan dry with a paper towel, and heat it. After cooking a few batches of fatty foods, the pan should be fully seasoned.

Make sure to not cook anything acidic in cast iron unless it's a REALLY well-seasoned pan. I do cook acidic things in my cast iron pans occasionally, but I make sure to clean out the pan immediately after cooking to avoid damaging the seasoning.

I do occasionally use a tiny bit of soap when cleaning my cast iron pans, but only if I cooked something with a strong flavor (like fish) that I don't want to permeate the pan, and the pan is well seasoned.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David,
I don't know what color but, everything I already have is red. I am kind of hoping for chestnut or cobalt, (which is being discontinued!).

http://www.lecreuset.com/usa/products/guide.php?category_id=140

Rainey,
Yes, shipping is going to be costly. It is penance for forgetting my birthday last year and not making up for it. December babies are a little sensitive about their birthdays since it is often over shadowed by Christmas. I do agree that the gift is in very good taste!
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"It's hot ham water."
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birgit



Joined: 31 Jan 2005
Posts: 247
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lovely fragrant alternative for seasoning is to fry raw potato slices with comparatively much salt in hot peanut oil until crispy. Then dump the potatoe slices and rub the pan with kitchen paper.

For cleaning the pan after frying there a useful bundles of rattan cane sticks, which you can buy at asian shops. Combined with very hot water they'll remove easily any bits of food sticking to the surface of the pan. Alternatively a salt/water paste can help. Then dry the pan with kitchen paper and apply a few drops of peanut oil (rub in with fresh kitchen paper). As long as the pan is still quite hot you need only a small portion of oil and the surface won't end up too sticky.
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UptownGirl



Joined: 02 Nov 2006
Posts: 15
Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 2:47 am    Post subject: Thank you! Reply with quote

Thanks everyone, I am in the process right now of saving my dutch oven! I am using everyone's advice...scrubbed the rust, the pan is definitely still sticky but I forged ahead anyway and rubbed it with kosher salt, rinsed, oiled it and turned the stove onto dry...tomorrow evening I am going to braise some pork in it and we shall see how that goes....

I refuse to give up!! : )

Of course, I cannot completely blame the shopkeeper, I believe one of the first things I did in my new pot was to make a tomato sauce, oops, I feel like an idiot....so now, I will stand by my poor pot...

I do want some enamel covered ones so thanks for the tips on where they might be available on the cheap, I will start looking everywhere...
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Knifethrower



Joined: 29 Oct 2006
Posts: 218
Location: Heaven, actually.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Be careful with braising in a cast iron pan until it looks like your grandma's pan from the pioneer days. Too much liquid can soften up the finish that you are working so hard to lay down. Its probably a better idea to sear your meat in it first for a good browning, then put the meat in a casserole or another stovetop pot to finish braising. Pay special attention to the "no acids" rule: no tomato product, lemon juice, wine, vinegars, etc... you'll have to start all over again.
Best tool for removing rust- plain old steel wool (NOT an SOS pad!), but GENTLY. Get over your germie issues by scalding the pan in hot water and going soapless to clean it like everyone else recommends. Drying over heat is really good, as is the non-vegetable oil based coating, unless you are gonna use it daily for bacon and such. Also, when it comes to eggs in cast iron- its better to go with your nonstick pans. Truuuuuuust me, my mother tortured me with scrambled eggs a la' iron when I was a kid. I still get goosebumps.

Good luck!
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Samuel



Joined: 30 Dec 2006
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 3:00 am    Post subject: Re: Thank you! Reply with quote

UptownGirl wrote:
I do want some enamel covered ones so thanks for the tips on where they might be available on the cheap, I will start looking everywhere...

Here's a tip for you. Some outlet malls have Le Creuset factory stores. In addition to having way more selection than you'll find in most stores, they'll have clearance sales (with items often marked down 50% or even 75%) for discontinued items/colors. They'll also usually have a big selection of "factory seconds" marked down just as drastically. The "seconds" only have minor cosmetic blemishes (like a slight drip or ripple in the enamel surface or a pock mark on a lid) and still have the usual Le Creuset warranty--if anything ever goes wrong with it, they'll replace it at no charge (with a new one). On many items, you have to really struggle to find the imperfections. You can go to the Le Creuset web page to find the factory store closest to you.

Sam
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