Le Creuset enamel never cleans! PLEASE HELP!
I can't get my enamelled layer clean on my Le Creuset frying pan!
I searched so many articles about seasoning and cleaning that I'm unsure if my pan actually has just got layers of seasoning (in patches) or if it is in fact just burnt reside from food.
I thought it was supposed to be a smooth surface each time you cook and not rough and bumpy. I believe the rough surface makes it harder to cook which makes more food stick to it. I don't want to scrub it too hard though or the enamel will be ruined right?
For reference this is Le Creuset pan:
This is probably a terrible thing to admit, but I got desperate enough to take my 25-year-old black enameled (wooden handle) LC by the throat and just spray the whole thing, inside and out, with oven cleaner and leave it outside for a couple of days. I thought, 'what the hell? Nothing to lose.' It worked. It's now back to its place of honor as my go-to pan, nice and nonstick, and every time someone burns something in it I just go for the Easy Off. I have no idea why this doesn't ruin it - maybe it just needed some Tough Love.
I wasn't sure if the satin enamel needed seasoning, must just be for matte enamel- thanks for confirming.
On Le Creuset's website in Care Info for Cast Iron it says:
'Black enamel cooking surfaces will, over time, produce a patina (a brownish film). Do not attempt to clean this off...'
Could this be patina? I've had the pan for 3 years.
<On Le Creuset's website in Care Info for Cast Iron it says:
'Black enamel cooking surfaces will, over time, produce a patina (a brownish film). Do not attempt to clean this off...' >
This is true that the black enamel cooking surface will produce a layer of patina (or seasoned surface) over time.. You just do not have to intentionally season it. A bare cast iron cookware would need to be seasoned on day one -- intentionally.
<Could this be patina? I've had the pan for 3 years.>
I would say no -- technically speaking. Most of the time when we talk about patina, we are referring to a black of brown film.
What you have on the photo are small patches of burned on residue which should feel a bit rough, sandy or chalk-like. There is a layer of seasoning surface to be sure (based on guess), but there are also patches of burned carbon. They are not what most people considered as seasoning surface or patina. That being said, a thin layer of burned carbonized residue is nothing to worry about -- in my experience with bare cast iron and bare carbon steel cookware. They do not hurt cooking all that much and can sometime enhance it. Obviously, if you notice foods start stick to these spots, then you can remove them.
Hi, palsky: "Could this be patina? I've had the pan for 3 years."
Yes, it's very likely. But it's just as likely that it's a mishmash of "patina" (really a misnomer here) carbonized food residue, and bare enamel.
Many people here praise black interior enamel for its ability to hide stains, Staubophiles especially so. But in these LC skillets, the enamel is somewhat matte to start with, and it hides carbonized food residue right along with the polymerized "patina". The chunks that are tactile are easy to find, but often residue remains that you can't feel. Plus, some of the "patina" can also have texture (e.g., drips and spots of polymerized oil), making it *very* hard to sort out which blotches are good and which make the pan stick. To add insult to injury, when you *do* find a bad spot and scour it off, it sticks again right away because you scoured through the "patina". Sometimes the best you can do is put a few drops of water in the pan to see where water sheets and where it beads, but this can drive you batS@#$ crazy in no time.
Perhaps it's possible to get and maintain an even "patina" on this finish, but I've been trying for years with nothing but failure to report. Perhaps if the pan never sees searing heat, metal utensils, acidic foods, soap or water...
Most people come to deal with the spotchy "What's THAT?" appearance and frustrating performance by increasing fat or getting a better pan.
Not your fault...
re: Robin Joy
re: Robin Joy
Hi, RJ: "Has anyone ever bought a second one I wonder?"
Mea maxima culpa. I have three, all hateful, spiteful things. My only plea for mercy is that I got them as wedding presents. I have a small skillet, a large skillet, and the wood-handled Lyonnaise-shaped frypan all in the black enamel lining.
I am going to try something different with them before selling them off. That is, since getting my new aluminum omelette pan, I have tumbled to the (variable) truth that *everything* benefits from seasoning. Not in the sense of cast iron being seasoned, either. What works with aluminum and stainless is to coat the preheated pan with vegetable oil, heat to just below the smoking point, and then take off the heat and let it sit overnight. The next day, you pour off the cold oil, put in 1T of salt, heat again, and then just wipe the salt around and out. Thereafter you do not wash the pan; you supposedly just wipe it out, like a wok. This works great for my new omelet pan, so I'm going to try it with that @#$%ing LC Lyonnaise.
try filling it with water and bring to a boil. shut down and let stand a while. when tempid enough to touch scour gently with a bronze or plastic scrubbing pad. if it proves difficult, long hot soaking should eventually loosen the crud. i would let hot water stand in it a while after each use. these pans aren't going to handle the hot tough cooking like traditional iron which developes a dense patina. the enamel will eventually age and darken with use. i've found ugly pans cook better. pretty pans hang on the wall. ugly pans do the work. a smooth dark build up acts like a nonstick and actually cooks much better.
<f my pan actually has just got layers of seasoning (in patches) or if it is in fact just burnt reside from food. >
Le Creuset enameled cookware do not need seasoning. Based on the photo, I say you have burnt residue from food. No, seasoning does not come in patches like this anyway.
<I believe the rough surface makes it harder to cook which makes more food stick to it.>
I don't know about that, but that is a whole other topic.
<I don't want to scrub it too hard though or the enamel will be ruined right?>
Yes, you don't want to scrub too hard. Well, technically speaking it is less about how "hard" your scrub, but how "aggressive" you scrub. You can use soft media and scrub hard, but you don't want to use harsh media to clean. Good luck.