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Cast Iron Seasoning Won't Stay On

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I am on a mission to build up a good layer of cast iron seasoning from scratch, but it is not working.

I have a pan I had to sandpaper down to the metal and I have tried multiple times since then to build a strong even coat of seasoning on the pan, but to no avail. Anytime I get a base layer built up, it ends up flaking off as soon as I cook meat in it. Bacon even ruins it (which really frustrates me when I see the rest of the world just says 'cook some bacon in it to build up the seasoning'). Any type of fond on the pan will pull the seasoning off with it when cleaned.

I do not clean with soaps or metal objects. All cleaning is done with salt and paper towel and water as needed.

The only thing I can think I am possibly doing wrong is maybe the seasoning is too fresh to use for normal cooking. With this in mind, since the last time I have sanded down my pan I have only used it on below medium heat. This helped ensure food wouldn't stick to it as much and fond wouldn't build up. However, after multiple layers of seasoning and only using it on lower than medium heat the seasoning flaked off again the other night when I cooked spam in it.

The attached image shows a current picture of my pan. Last time I sanded it down I only sanded the inside bottom of the pan. That is why the sides are blacker. This is a 12" pan, which is larger than my burner, that is why the inner portion of the bottom is black and the outer area is brown. However, you will notice that even in the black center of the pan there is a lot of metal showing through where the seasoning has worn off.

What can I do to make my seasoning resilient enough that I can cook bacon in it like normal people!

Additional info: To start a base seasoning layer I lightly coat the pan with Canola oil and bake in the oven for an hour at 450 degrees (slowly coming up to temp). I then let it cool and I repeat this process a few times before I ever cook in it.

 
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  1. "I have a pan I had to sandpaper down to the metal and I have tried multiple times since then to build a strong even coat of seasoning on the pan, but to no avail"

    It is much easier to bake off the original seasoning, than to sand off the original seasoning. If you really want to remove the original seasoning, then put the cookware in an oven and turn on the "self- cleaning" mode. This should bake off/loosen the original surface.

    " Anytime I get a base layer built up, it ends up flaking off as soon as I cook meat in it."

    How thick are the flakes? Do you actually see the flakes or was the seasoning simply come off gradually as opposed of flaking? If the flakes are very thick, then you may have over-grown the seasoning surface. As the seasoning surface crack, it peels off all together like dry paint on a wall. More likely, the seasoning surface flakes because the base was not properly baked on. Try to remove the all the seasoning, and start from scratch.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      I'm not sure that I follow your comments about removing the seasoning - Are you saying that you think my issue relates to how I removed the previous layer of seasoning? Or are you just recommending a different method to remove seasoning? I was pretty satisfied in the results I got from the sandpaper, it smoothed out the pan just as I had hoped. I have attached an image to this post showing what the pan looked like after I sanded down the inside.

      Take a look at the photo I attached in my previous post and you will see the size of the flaking. I never really notice the actual flakes coming off, I just notice the bare spots showing on the bottom of the pan.

      Also, I have removed all of the seasoning and started from scratch multiple times. That is what led me to ask others for help.

       
      1. re: Octang

        "Are you saying that you think my issue relates to how I removed the previous layer of seasoning? Or are you just recommending a different method to remove seasoning?"

        I am saying that it is much easier and efficient to remove seasoning by baking off instead of physically sanding the cookware.

        "it smoothed out the pan just as I had hoped"

        Not sure if I believe a smoothed out pan is better than the rougher surface, but that is another topic altogether.

        " I never really notice the actual flakes coming off, I just notice the bare spots showing on the bottom of the pan."

        I see. Then I can assume you did not actually build the seasoning so thick that literally flakes came off. I have personally experienced that before. In this case, I assume you have effectively remove the original seasoning, and that your current seasoning are wearing thin.

        There are many things which can cause this. Were you cooking very watery or acidic food? Acidic food can quickly dissolve the new and thin seasoning surface.

        There are so many things you can try now, but I suggest you give this following a try first. Try to do a quick seasoning on stovetop (not oven). Do this for the next few cooking sessions and it will put you a better position.

    2. Sanding sounds like a bad idea to me. An iron pan should be reconditioned chemically, so as not to scratch the surface.

      I would not use canola for the initial seasoning after thorough cleaning. Use solid Crisco. I suggest reading "The Pan Man"'s seasoning instructions.

      http://www.panman.com/cleaning.html

      4 Replies
      1. re: GH1618

        One of the variables I have not changed in the multiple times I have re-started this process is the cooking oil used for seasoning. Next time I restart this process I will use a different fat.

        1. re: GH1618

          I sanded my pan down before seasoning. There's no reason at all why scratches from sanding should be a problem. The surface of many CI pans is quite coarse anyway. That said, sanding generates a lot of dust, and the OP could have had problems with the seasoning adhering to the pan if he didn't fully clean the dust out of the pan.

          I was disappointed with the results from the standard cast iron seasoning recommendations. The OP might benefit from the method I eventually went with, which builds a much thicker seasoning in a fraction of the time as the usual advice.
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7854...

          1. re: cowboyardee

            Thanks. I followed your postings with great interest last June (which gives you an idea how long I've been working on this). I seemed to get better results doing that with my smaller pan that fits the burner than I do with my 12" pan on my 9" burner.

            Is your pan still as glassy smooth as the after picture you displayed on Jun 17, 2011 02:34 AM? Mine always end up looking like your before picture regardless of my method after a number of uses.

            I think I am going to give your method another shot. I never did it for a 45 minute time period though, I mainly did it for 5-15 minutes at a pop. Maybe I'll do an extended session.

            1. re: Octang

              " I seemed to get better results doing that with my smaller pan that fits the burner than I do with my 12" pan on my 9" burner."
              ________
              This is a very good point. My method will probably give you problems if you use a pan that's much bigger than the hob.

              My pan is still quite nice and non-stick. I have, however, managed to damage the coating once or twice - it's not bulletproof. In those cases, I touched it up with a 5-10 minute session of adding more coats of flaxseed oil. Still going strong.

        2. Sounds like you do not have enough layers built up on it. The seasoning layers do wear away gradually with use. So it is important to continue to bake new layers on periodically. I never use my pans until I have maybe 5 good layers built up on the pan. Then I will first use it for baking southern style cornbread in it until the bread does not stick anymore. My southern style cornbread is simple and has not sugar in it. Sugar can stick. It is nothing more than cornmeal, egg, milk, and bacon grease, I often will just make it, and if we don't eat it, I will just throw it outside for the birds and squirrles. It is worth it for how well it helps me get my pan started.

          I too don't have any luck with cooking bacon to build up layers. The bits of bacon just stick to the pan.

          I also have better luck seasoning my pans with lard, bacon grease, or crisco shortening. I have never had luck with a good seasoning with oil.

          IT is good that you got the origianl seasoning off, because in my experiance, it always pops loose anyway. Also, be careful of too hot of temps and too long when baking on your seasoning. You could actually burn it off. I usually start with 400 to 425 for about an hour then either turn the oven off and leave it in until it cools, or maybe just cut the temp back to 350 and leave for another hour. Depends on the time I have. If I take my pans out after they cool, and they look more brown than black or feel sticky, I put them back in for another hour.
          A well seasoned cast iron pan has many layers of of grease baked on over time between use.

          1. I don't mean to sound facetious or dismissive, I have avoided participating in the multiple seasoning angst posts, because I'm not an expert on seasoning, but I suggest you give them a basic light sealing and then start using them.

            This was the method I used for a spun steel crepe pan. a cast iron Dutch oven I use for camping, and a wonderful if non authentic Le Creuset wok. After my "system" I had pans that were essentially sealed from rust but hardly properly seasoned to Chowhound standards; I cook with a knob of butter, or ghee, or dash of oil as required. No flaking or sticking here.

            Always aware of the fact that these pans were not non stick seasoned, I proceeded to use them and over time they seasoned themselves. On camping trips the dutch oven goes in the coals to roast hunks of meat, bake bread, cook up acidic tomato based pasta sauces. I have a few rules, I don't use a scrubby and i use very little detergent. They're pretty much non stick now. The beautiful smooth seasoned surface of the wok is slowly working its way up the sides.

            That's not to say of course that some Chowhound pans Ive seen aren't beautifully shiny and very impressive.

            1. Try using Flax seed oil. I seasoned with multiple very thin layers baked on at 500* for an hour and allowed to cool in the oven for another hour. Repeated this about 5-6 times. Never seen a flake form with use.

              2 Replies
              1. re: scubadoo97

                Scuba, I don't know if you've seen my other posts on the matter, but I'm convinced that the biggest problem with the Sheryl Canter method is that it fails to make full use of one of the biggest advantages of flax seed oil - how quickly it can polymerize at high temperature.

                To the OP:
                I haven't tried it, but I suspect my method can be modified to use with an oven at 500 degrees if one's hob is too small. What I would do: rub one thin layer of flax seed oil on the pan and then place in 500 degree oven. After 45 minutes to an hour, take the pan out of the oven (carefully) and apply another thin layer of flax seed oil to the entire pan quickly. Place pan back in the oven. Repeat every few minutes.

                If I'm right, the flax seed oil should burn off just as well and quickly in the oven as it does on the stovetop, and multiple layers can be applied very quickly and evenly. If I give it a try myself, I'll let people know how it goes.

                1. re: cowboyardee

                  NIce to know CBAD. I spent a good part of the day while at home any way doing back to back seasonings.

              2. http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/201...

                I tried this method with two old cast iron pans last winter. I had good results with one pan, and not so good with the other. I removed the old seasoning by running my pan through the dishwasher. Then I proceeded to apply layers of flaxseed oil to the pans, and baking them at 500 deg in the oven for the recommended period of time. Since nothing else has worked for you, I'd try that method. Be sure you understand the instructions, before you proceed. I recommend doing this before the weather turns hot--this isn't a job for June or July.

                Having said that, I have found that simply using my cast iron for various mundane things has improved its overall slipperiness. I don't fry bacon ever, but I do some sauteeing in them (if I am not going to use an acid to deglaze with), and various grilled foods like grilled cheese and French toast, the occasional cornbread recipe and meat browning--really mundane stuff which the CI does quite well. (I still prefer to do eggs in non stick, but have begun to move the microwave for more egg applications.)

                I'd also recommend using medium heat, not medium high, and doing the salt scrub only when absolutely needed. Hope this helps.

                2 Replies
                1. re: sueatmo

                  How did you remove your old seasoning with a dishwasher??

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    I just ran in a regular cycle. In my new dishwasher, I'd run it on potscrubber. But, I'd rinse it out good first. If it had deposits, I'd scour or scrape it down. The dishwasher won't remove cooked on crud, but it will get rid of all seasoning. Your pan won't look like those oven cleaning cycle ones, but it will be stripped.

                2. As an update: I re-seasoned my pan with flax oil and after a couple sessions in the oven I used the pan to make a roux. The metal from my whisk removed most of my new seasoning so I was back to bare metal again.

                  If I ever get this figured out how to get a durable base layer, I will update this post.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Octang

                    Hi Octang,

                    I am sorry to hear this. Was your roux acidic? Did you directly add vinegar at any point? Acid solution has a very strong tendency to remove new seasoning. I have a new wok. In a short duration (1-2 minutes), the vinegar based sauce removed most of the seasoning which the sauce touched. From this mistake, I learn to add vinegar last, so the seasoning surface would not see pure vinegar, but rather a weaken and somewhat neutralized solution. It helps.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Thanks for the thoughts, but the roux was not acidic. I did later turn it into a mornay, but I don't believe the added cheese makes it acidic either.

                    2. re: Octang

                      I have no experiance in using flaxoil. Did you mean by a 'couple of sessions in the oven' that you only baked on 2 seasoning layers? If so, that probably isn't enough. Using flax oil for seasoning seems to be a new idea and I don't know if some oils hold up better than others. I do know it takes many layers of hard cooked on grease/oil for the pan to become durable. And it is an on going process to maintain it. That can only happen by cooking fatty meats or frying/baking with oils or by just rubbing the pan down with oil or grease and baking it on if you do not fry or bake fatty meats or oily dishes in it. Using metal utensils does wear away the layers more quickly. But it also helps to smooth out the surface. I use metal a lot on my newer ci pans. And spend a lot of time adding more layers of seasoning. In my experiance, pork fat and crisco shortening works the best.

                      1. re: Octang

                        I placed 6 layers on my Lodge pan and it's cooked many meals since then without an issue.

                        I followed the method outlined here
                        http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/201...

                        1. re: scubadoo97

                          Well the sheryl cantor method is interesting. I do disagree with her opinions on crisco and lard. I get a black hard finish. Couldn't imagine it being any harder. Though the flax oil seems to work for her, it does not seem to work for you.
                          I have better luck getting, maybe, 4 to 6 layers baked on over a few days. Not just layer on top of layer with no rest time between. then I use it for baking bread or maybe cooking eggs or roasting potatoes in the oven. When I am not cooking in it, it stays in my oven to be heated over and over while I am baking other things in other pans. After a few of these oven hearings, I will coat again with some lard, bake it at around 400 to 450 for an hour or two, leave it in the oven to cool. Then the next time I bake something, the pan stays in the oven to heat again. Cornbread is often baked in it too. My cornbread is made with bacon grease as he fat. Anyway, that is how my new ci iron starts it's life with me. The constant reheating of the empty pan in the oven, makes the pan blacker and blacker and harder and harder.

                          I don't know much about the science of seasoning cast iron, nor did my southern ancestors, but we still know how to get a good seasoning on our cast iron. I think it is easier than baking really good buiscits from scratch.

                          1. re: dixiegal

                            "Though the flax oil seems to work for her, it does not seem to work for you."

                            But it did work for me. Appears to be the hardest, in terms of adhesion, seasoning I've ever done. Worked perfectly and I used 500F as my set temp for one hour plus cool down. I used very thin coats as she directed. One of my problems in the past was using too much fat. Now I know that you really only want a thin film where it looks almost dry but repeat that over a few times to build thicker coat.

                            1. re: scubadoo97

                              "Though the flax oil seems to work for her, it does not seem to work for you."

                              >But it did work for me<

                              Ok. To me, if the seasoning isn't sticking to your pan, it isn't working.

                              Dont' give up. You will figure out what works best for you.:o)

                              1. re: dixiegal

                                ??Not sure who you are directing your comment to??

                          2. re: scubadoo97

                            Agreed w/ Scubadoo. More layers are better. 3-4 is much better than just 2. The oven makes it all very easy. A thin layer of oil, heat at 425 for 30 min, then shut the oven off and wait until the pan is down to about 100 degrees then repeat. My 10" lodge has at least 6 layers on it and is just bulletproof. That's my daily use pan.

                          3. re: Octang

                            The instructions I used for this process called for multiple sessions in the oven with the flax oil. Five sessions, I believe. Also the oven temp should be quite high. And, I got mixed results anyway.

                          4. Mine I had to season from scratch, and I used virgin coconut oil, and olive oil. What I did, was put the pan into my woodstove for about two days.After that, I used it every two to three days for bacon, and steaks, and it's been great ever since, had it five years now with no rust, no flaking.

                            1. The problem may be too high of heat that is actually burning off the seasoning in the center of the pan.

                              Some people use different methods for different pans depending on their uses. I don't bother seasoning my grill pan, I just wipe some oil on it before use and after cleaning. I know the pan is going to get hot and that a steak will release when ready. Skillets and griddle don't get as hot so the seasoning builds over time.

                              I always use oil with Kosher salt as the oil acts as a lubricant and a carrier to remove the particles. But try and reserve the salt and oil method for when it truly needs it, i.e. gummy surface and removing food that can't be scrapped out. Salt by itself is going to grind away at the seasoning.

                              Sanding can produce a more dramatic example of dust that plain washing may or may not remove. After washing it with soap and water and rinsing, try scrubbing it out with paper towels and oil until the oil is clean looking, it may take a few times.

                              I like lard and I also do a lot of stove top seasoning with very thin layers on a pan hot enough for wisps of smoke, try to stay away from tornadoes. I just keep wiping with a paper towel and lard until I'm happy.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: SanityRemoved

                                Good point Sanity about possibly getting the pan too hot and baking off the seasoning. I also wonder about the concept of a "drying oil "and very hard seasoning layers. Could it be that very dry oils and very hard coatings make for a brittle coating? After all that cast iron expands and contract with heating and cooling possibly making the seasoning break loose rather than expanding and contracting with the pan? Just a thought. I have a lot of those and most don't amount to much lol

                                1. re: dixiegal

                                  I don't have any experience using flax seed oil on cast iron, only outdoors on wood. I used to be happy with Canola oil until I came across the fishy smelling kind. Why I had non-fishy and fishy from the same company I have no clue but prompted me to switch to peanut oil. The oil Lodge uses is supposedly soy based but without knowing the temperature they use, I think soy tends to be more problematic than some.

                                  My favorite solution is the fish turner spatula as it reduces sticking issues. I think it gives the best results with a newer or less seasoned pan than other spatulas.

                                  Like you pointed out with bacon grease with cornbread, I think that using the pan in the oven, on the stove top for frying and other things helps. If used daily I feel most problems go away on their own. But people sometimes get frustrated and give up too soon on cast iron. Maybe the end result doesn't look like a picture out of Gourmet magazine but they taste fine. The "hassle" of maintaining cast iron quickly becomes routine and second nature. Then it becomes your cooking buddy.

                                  1. re: SanityRemoved

                                    All so true Sanity. Some year ago, I pan fried some wild turkey breast that was given to me. I was told to marinate it over night and pan fry on peanut oil. I did this in my ci skillet and was really pleased at how my pan looked afterward. So I tried a few layers of peanut oil foe seasoning. It gave a nice finish. The only vegetable oil (besides crisco shortening) that has ever worked for me. I did stop using the peanut oil when my extremely food allergic grandson was born. So I am back to pork fat and sometimes crisco. Pork fat being my favorite. I keep a little tub of lard in my fridge just for 'grooming' my pans with.

                                2. re: SanityRemoved

                                  With the flaxseed oil method, you are supposed to apply the flaxseed oil, and then bake for an hour at 500 deg. The high heat is part of the method. The high heat does not bake off the coating. When it takes, it produces a shiny black coating.

                                  I had good results with one pan and bad results with another. It might be, I am thinking, that I didn't get the original coating totally off before treating.

                                  I wonder if the OP started with a new, unseasoned pan, a pre seasoned pan, or an old pan with some seasoning remaining?

                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                    I had a lodge 12" pan that I sanded down to the bare metal. I am going to start over again tonight and see if I have better luck as I continue to tweak my methods.

                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                      Right, I was thinking of stove top temps that can get much hotter than the oven.

                                  2. Hmm, well it does take a long time and a lot of usage before a steel or cast iron pan develops a good hard smooth surface. At first, your food will stick a lot until your pan is well-seasoned. When I first buy the pan, I just season it a few times in the oven with flax seed oil, use the pan for only frying (never heating with liquids), rinse, never use soap, then before I put the pan away, I reheat the pan on low to cook off any water drops, then rub it with a little cooking oil while the pan is still hot. Eventually the pan will become well-seasoned. Don't try to sandpaper down the surface (unless it gets rusty). If the surface gets bumpy instead of smooth, just smooth it down with some salt. Once the pan is well-seasoned, then you can braise foods in it or make stews. But always after cleaning, reheat the pan and rub it with oil before putting it away.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: breadfanatic

                                      The issue isn't sticking food or even creating a non-stick surface. I can do that with a pan that has a base layer built up. The problem is I cannot get a hard base layer of seasoning to stay on the pan, after any sort of moderate cooking bits of bare metal shine through.

                                      1. re: Octang

                                        Octang,

                                        I read your replies above. It is not unusual that seasoning gradually wear off, but I am surprised that it disappeared in one cooking session for you, especially the cooking content is not extremely acidic. I have cooked acidic foods before. While they do minor wearing on the seasoning, it is very limited. The only time that the entire seasoning surface came off was the one I told you -- pouring pure vinegar first to the wok and then add other things to make the sauce.

                                        I cannot think of anything obvious for now. Do you have a friend who use cast iron well? Maybe he and she can come by and season the cookware once with you and then use it to cook.

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          Sadly none of my friends use CI. I consider my self very competent in the kitchen and even quite knowledgeable about CI, however this stumps me. I can maintain cast iron as good as anyone, but building up the base layer of seasoning on this one pan is impossible.

                                          I don't know if it is the pan, or just building seasoning on the bare metal, but something has made this into a unique challenge that most people apparently don't have to fight. However, I have waged this battle for a year now and I plan to keep trying new ideas until I get the results I want.

                                          1. re: Octang

                                            "I can maintain cast iron as good as anyone, but building up the base layer of seasoning on this one pan is impossible. "

                                            Ohhhhh! So you have no problem with other cast iron pans, but only this one. Ok, maybe something about this pan then. It sounds weird, but that has to be the main reason. Now, what makes this pan special, that I don't know. If it is a wok, then I would have said maybe there is a lacquer layer and you didn't remove, but this is not a wok, and I don't believe most cast iron cookware are lacquered, so I am confused too.

                                            http://www.amazon.com/Typhoon-Profess...

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              Yeah, sadly this is my only 12" cast iron pan I own right now so I cannot really compare the results to any other pan. However I am monitoring Craigslist to find some hidden gems in the area that I can play with. I would love to try my experiments with other similar pans to figure out where the problem lies.

                                            2. re: Octang

                                              >I consider my self very competent in the kitchen and even quite knowledgeable about CI,<

                                              ohhh, so you have experance and success with cast iron. Just a problem with this pan. Then it must be the pan. A mystery for sure. Wonder if there is some sort of chemical on or in the pan that is keeping the seasoning from sticking to it..

                                      2. In a previous post tonight I mentioned that I am starting over from scratch again with this pan to try out a new idea. In case you have comments, this is what I'm doing:

                                        After I lightly sanded down the floor of the pan to start over I am doing the following to season the pan with Flax Oil:

                                        Two seasoning sessions in the oven @ 250 degrees for 1 hour each.
                                        Then
                                        Six session in the oven @ 450 degrees for 1 hour each (bringing up the oven temp slowly, in increments)

                                        In each session I lightly coat the pan with oil, then wipe it out with a dry paper towel to ensure it is truly a thin layer.

                                        At this point I plan to cook eggs on medium heat. If that does not cause flaking I will then cook bacon on medium heat.

                                        I have been mainly trying high temp seasonings previously, however I got the idea to do a low temp initial seasoning here: http://blackirondude.blogspot.com/200...

                                        I'll update the results.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Octang

                                          No, you need to cook it til its extremely hot or else you will get rust than needs to be sanded out.
                                          Only then will the seasoning oil penetrate deep enough to not cause flakes and rust
                                          Put it into an actual fire,

                                        2. You have too really sear in the first few seasonings, seasoning is nothing more than carbon buildup, If i were you, i would get a new, unseasoned pan, and start from scratch. I know they are costly, but worth it. Lodge, and Bayou classic have super quality pans. At first season, cook the crap out of it, put it in oven on clean with a vegetable shortening coating, then cook a few steaks in it, but use natural oil, like olive, it may stick a bit , so, just clean with no soap, just a rough dish sponge, dry well, coat with a natural vegetable oil, and bake some more. if you can, put it right into a fire, hot enough to burn out impurities. When seasoning, just cooking on stove doesnt get it hot enough to cook out the impurities, you need to really fire it until its red.

                                          1. OK so here is the answer to the problem: The seasoning layer was way too thin. I was following the advice of the crowd the recommends real thin layers of oil when seasoning cast iron but that wasn't letting me get a thick enough base layer, even after 6+ seasonings. I still subscribe to that advice but for the initial layer of seasoning it shouldn't be thin.

                                            Once I have a base layer built up then I will apply thin layers of seasoning, as often recommended. However, for the initial few layers I will apply it as thick as possible.

                                            With the thicker layer of seasoning I still had some flaking but it wasn't nearly as bad as what is shown in my initial photo. I plan to sand off the seasoning I just built and do this again just to replicate and improve my results.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Octang

                                              Thanks for the update. My experience is opposite of yours. Thick oil seasoning usually costs problem for me down the road. That being said, whatever works for you is the best for you.

                                            2. One more update. After my previous success I sanded the pan down to the metal to replicate the results. Once again I used flax oil and applied it liberally while trying to build up a base layer. This time though I did all of the initial seasoning sessions at a lower oven temperature (325) to prevent the base from being overly brittle. This worked perfectly. After ~5 or so lower temp seasoning sessions I finished seasoning it on my stove top at a higher temp (~450) until it turned mostly black. This created a rock hard surface that has yet to chip.

                                              Now that it has a base layer built up it seems to be able to handle higher temperature seasonings better. I have cooked bacon (my pan's previous nemesis) on it without so much as a flake coming off.

                                              I initially got the idea to do the base layer at a lower temperature from BlackIronDude (http://blackirondude.blogspot.com/200...) and it turns out he was on to something.

                                              Though don't let anyone convince you there is one best way to season cast iron. Each pan has its own personality.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Octang

                                                I would say it is the person doing the seasoning who has his own personality.

                                                1. re: Octang

                                                  Octang, I got the same results in, what I call, the 'flash' seasoning method. I tried seasoning at the 500 degree temp to see if my pans would look like those of sheryl cantor. Yep, they did, nice and black, hard and slightly matte. Just like Cantor's cast iron. I loved it because it took such a short time to do it. Nice black hard finish in half (or more) the time.

                                                  But, after using the pan for a few times, the seasoning started flaking off. And this was one of my old pots, so absolutely no factory seasoning was ever on it. Then I realized, that I had baked it at such a high heat, that the seasoning became hard and brittle. Makes sense when I think of it. The iron expands and contracts with heat and cooling, so the seasoning would need to be flexable enought to be able to expand and contract with it.

                                                  So, I am back to doing what I know works, but takes time. Baking at lower temps, for a longer period of time. Grrr, now I am scrubbing off what I can of that seasoning and starting anew. When will I learn that if something is not broke, don't try to fix it....................................

                                                2. Octang, your issue (and your photo) is SO familiar! I own many CI pieces from Lodge and from Wagner. I thought I knew it all about seasoning because all but 1 piece have beautiful coatings that I have created and maintained over the years. I have 1 square Lodge skillet with flakey seasoning that showed me that I really don't know it all. When I cook anything (bacon, steak, potatoes) the middle ring of seasoning gets removed to reveal gray, bare metal. I wondered about lower temps for intial layering, but that failed too. I was never as cool as the 250F you discussed. I always leaned toward my trusty method of layers of shortening in a hot grill outdoors.
                                                  Your post and your link to blackiron gave me the confidence to start out really low and heat up from there.
                                                  Thanks for expanding my knowledge on this topic. I'm starting right now.