Boil water in cast iron removes a few layers of season?
I bought a new Lodge cast iron skillet not too long ago and have been trying to build up a few good layers of seasoning. I use Crisco and leave it in the oven for 30 minutes at 250 degrees, wipe away the excess shortening, and then put it back in the oven for another 30 minutes.
I'm still bulding up layers, so I decided I would bacon each morning for a couple of days. Then a few days ago I decided to try frying eggs in it, although after I fried bacon. The eggs slid right off.
Last night, I roasted some cauliflower in olive oil and mustard. Instead of just wiping it down like I usually did, I boiled some water, and then wiped it clean. This morning while frying bacon, it stuck like crazy. Needless to say, the eggs weren't sliding anymore. Right after I cooked, I found that I was able to scrape off the egg remains with relative easy.
So I was wondering, did boil water in my cast iron screw everything up? I usually wipe away the oil for clean up with a towel. But when boiling water, I used a luffah sponge (one from a luffah farm, not the synthetic ones you get in a drug store). I read it wasn't uncommon for tough jobs, and it makes sense it would remove a few layers, but it seems odd it would remove so many layers.
Do people usually re-season after boiling water in it?
I don't think I have ever had seasoning lift while boiling water, but it will make the seasoning soften, and thus vulnerable to being scraped and scrubbed off. This is less of an issue as the seasoning matures and gets harder.
So no reason that your cast iron needs to be limited to frying. Chili, jambalaya and gumbo cooked in a cast iron kettle is about as classic as it gets.
Boiling water can strip off some seasoning. Also, it is doubtful your existing layers were very well developed
You should increase the temperature to at least 350 degrees; 250 degrees isn't hot enough. The purpose of seasoning is to carbonize the fat, which only happens after it exceeds it's smoke point.
My general oven seasoning procedure is this:
1) rub with softened(a few seconds in the microwave) lard or shortening, place pan upside down in oven.
2) set oven to 400 degrees.
3) wait until pan starts smoking; start 30-45 minute countdown.
4) 30-45 minutes later turn off oven, let cookware cool entirely in oven w/oven door closed.
If you want quicky superseason your pan you can try the stovetop method(you will need lots of paper towels):
1) melt several tablespoons of lard or shortening in the microwave in a small container
2) wipe a thin(as thin as you can make it) layer of fat on the pan and set the pan over medium-high heat w/ wadded up paper towels(use tongs please).
3) once the pan starts smoking heavily, turn the heat down to medium or even medium-low to maintain that temperature.
4) after the pan no longer looks wet wipe on another layer of fat.
repeat until multiple layers are developed.
the main risk with the stovetop method(other than being quite sacrilegious) is that the seasoning can flake off later if you didn't let each layer cook long enough(but you dont want it to go for too long either as it can break down). You dont want to use the stovetop method for an initial seasoning, I mostly use it to fix spottily-seasoned pans I screwed up by doing stupid things.
Braising (boiling water) in cast iron, especially with acidic ingredients like tomato or wine, may/can/will degrade the seasoning slightly...Since your pan is fairly new, just reseason it with a light coat of Crisco...into a 350*/400* oven for an hour. Turn the oven off, and allow the pan to cool in the oven. Over time as you build up additional layers of seasoning (carbon) from use, braising will have less a effect on it. Then all that may be necessary would be to just dry it well, warm and coat with a light coat of oil...HTH and don't worry...your skillet is fine!!
Have Fun & Enjoy!!