Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Apr 29, 2013 04:49 AM

De buyer seasoning fail--need help starting over

Here's the story: I used the boiling water-potato peel method to get rid of the waxy coating prior to seasoning. Did seven passes with flaxseed oil (stovetop method). The pan did discolor, but the bottom wasn't smooth, but rather somewhat "bumpy". I guess I used too much oil. This morning I cooked some bacon in the pan. After pouring off the grease, there was some bacon residue in the pan, which I tried to wash off under hot water (with a Dobie pad). Unfortunately, I wound up removing some of the seasoning. I tried to remove the rest of the seasoning, but thought to contact the Cookware gods before I made a bad outcome worse. So, can I use steel wool to remove the remainder of the seasoning without damaging the pan? I want to start over with the seasoning process. FWIW, I don't have much experience with carbon steel (as anyone who saw my "shiny handle" post can attest to). I do have a de Buyer crepe pan, which seasoned beautifully (3 passes with grape seed oil on the stovetop).
The pan now looks shiny (like the original) in about half of the bottom and that brownish orange around the rest. Will try to send pic after work.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I wouldn't stress over it. I didn't get all the wax of my country pan so, after seasoning it with peanut oil the seasoning bubbled and came off in the bottom. I scrubbed with a stainless steel scotchbrite pad and re-seasoned with no issues.

    1. <The pan did discolor, but the bottom wasn't smooth, but rather somewhat "bumpy". >

      Can you describe the texture of this bumpy? Glossy? Dull? Smooth? Rough? Hard? Soft? Sticky?

      <Unfortunately, I wound up removing some of the seasoning. >

      A little removal is normal

      < I tried to remove the rest of the seasoning,>

      You want to re-start?

      <So, can I use steel wool to remove the remainder of the seasoning without damaging the pan?>

      You can, but it may be easier to use the self-cleaning oven.

      < I do have a de Buyer crepe pan, which seasoned beautifully>

      Just do what you did for the other pan. I also am not sure if you need to restart. It really depends how bad it is. Most of the time, you really don't have to restart.

      1. I recently seasoned three de Buyers, also using the potato-peel method to get rid of the wax. Had the same experience with one of them that you did and I also assumed it was because I used too much oil in that pan. I just kept using the pan, though, not worrying about the area where the seasoning had scrubbed off and eventually it, too, was perfectly seasoned. I was careful too cook things like bacon or something that required a slick of oil during the second buildup, but I agree with others, based on my own experience, that there's no need to take the seasoning to scratch and start all over again. Just keep on keeping on.

        1. Thanks, all. I'll probably just cook lots of bacon over the next couple of weeks!

          @chem--no self-cleaning oven (well, actually, yes--*I* am the "self"!) Not sticky. Slight "texture" (note to self--enough with the quotes!)

          Here is the picture.

          5 Replies
          1. re: nofunlatte

            I actually find bacon not to be the best food for seasoning cookware due to the sticky sugar. Anyway. The photo does not look that bad. It looks a bit under-seasoned due to the stripping you mentioned. I would just do a couple stovetop seasoning sessions.

            Thanks for the description too.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Thanks, chem. I'm going through a few more stovetop passes. And good point about the sugar in the bacon--I was so focused on the fat and completely forgot about the sugar!

              Any suggestions on what to cook first?

              1. re: nofunlatte

                I actually find "pan fry vegetables" very good. Most green vegetables hardly stick, so you will be basically heating the pan with oil in it.

                If you want to stay with the fry bacon idea, but cannot find non-sugar added bacon, then try sausages. Most sausages have much lower sugar content.

                Alternatively I find blacken steak or blacken tun to be very good too, but maybe that is for later when the pan is slightly build up. I find that the high temperature in "blacken" dishes help stabilize the seasoning.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Actually, it was trying to sear a steak a little too soon with too little oil that gave me problems in the first place. You're right that bacon with no sugar at all may be hard to find, but Whole Foods has an uncured Applegate bacon that's very low in sugar and works well for me.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Hi JoanN. You are absolutely correct that cooking steak too early for the pans can damage the seasoning. This especially so when the oil is insufficient. Basically, the meat can stick to the pan, and it pull the seasoning layer off with it.

          2. In my experience, seasoning a pan takes time and multiple efforts to get a really well seasoned pan. I watched a boatload of YouTube videos on how to season pans, and had a fire extinguisher near by as I blasted the burners up and smoked that oil to high heaven. I fried pound after pound of bacon - uncured "natural" bacon. I kept testing it - a potato, an egg...I examined each pan to evaluate how brown the seasoning was how even it was, etc. .....then I finally said the hell with it and began to just enjoy the high heat that my de Buyer's allow me to cook with. Those babies are well seasoned now, finally, when I just began to enjoy cooking with them, and used them regularly.

            7 Replies
            1. re: laraffinee

              That's what I'm doing now--just using them. As noted upthread, I was probably overthinking this (I'm an academic, so overthinking is a professional hazard).

              I'm looking forward to buying a bigger one.

              1. re: laraffinee

                Interesting--I have the deBuyer 9-in crepe pan, but it's only been used for crepes (and beautifully at that!) I don't make crepes all that often, though. Maybe I'll have to give eggs a try in that pan!

                1. re: nofunlatte

                  I forgot to mention grilled cheese. Sooo good! Really, the best. I put the butter in the pan, not on the bread. The crust is so crisp and delicate you'd swear it will shatter.

                  1. re: DuffyH

                    I'll have to give that a try! Now I'm seriously craving a good grilled cheese sandwich!

                    1. re: DuffyH

                      I love doing grilled cheese in mine, but every time the cheese melts out of the sandwich, the seasoning comes off where the cheese hits the pan!

                      1. re: jljohn

                        I don't know what to say to that. It's never happened to either of my crepe pans. If I had to guess, I'd say it's likely because the cheese is only on the pan for a few seconds, and so doesn't have enough time to form acid. Since butter is neutral, it would have to be there long enough to overcome that, as well.

                        But I do wipe any residue out of the pan while the sandwich cools to something below blister-forming temp. :)

                  2. re: laraffinee

                    That sounds delightful! We have some wonderful organic asparagus available here.