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De buyer seasoning fail--need help starting over

nofunlatte Apr 29, 2013 04:49 AM

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. macsandindianfood Nov 12, 2013 10:57 AM

    I have seen videos of rubbing a cut onion on the pan while cooking to help in the non stick ability. But I've only seen this for cast iron. Would this help or hinder the carbon steel pan, I wonder?

    1. g
      glennl20 May 12, 2013 06:43 PM

      I used the following process to season my new de Buyer pan this morning which is shown in the picture. This process takes about an hour from start to finish:

      Boil water in saucepan.

      While water is boiling, wash the pan with very hot water and soap.

      Use boiling water to rewash pan making sure that all wax is removed.

      Get out entire roll of paper towels and tub of lard.

      Heat pan on stove as if cooking – about a 4 or 5 out of ten on large hob. Don’t overheat. Once hot, turn down hob to 3 ½ to 4 and keep it there for the entire process.

      Get two wads of paper towels ready. Dip one wad in lard (just a little) and rub over the entire surface of the pan. Immediately use the dry towels to wipe the skillet clean. Let heat for a couple of minutes. Keep repeating. You can reuse some of the wads of towels, but always have a dry one handy. You want to prevent any beading of the grease in the pan.

      The skillet will start to get amber in the center and then turn dark all along the bottom and start up the sides. The sides will remain amber and not get dark for a couple of months. Lots of smoke each time you add the lard, but you immediately remove any excess lard and keep the pan dry. When smoke disappears and the gloss lessens, it is time to add another thin coat of lard. The pan shown was heated for about 35 minutes with lard applications every couple of minutes. If I am goofing around in the kitchen, I might repeat the process, but otherwise, just use the pan to cook with. If roasting vegetables, throw the pan in the oven to encourage the sides of the pan to darken.

       
      1. nofunlatte May 11, 2013 07:33 AM

        Well, 'hounds, the seasoning is getting there. Now I can understand people who proudly show pictures of their kids ;)

         
        11 Replies
        1. re: nofunlatte
          DuffyH May 11, 2013 08:33 AM

          That's darker than my 6-month-old force Blue pan. Well done!

          1. re: nofunlatte
            Chemicalkinetics May 11, 2013 10:57 AM

            Very beautiful. Very. How is the pan working?

            I hope I don't come across as pouring cold water on you, but I do want to make one constructive statement.

            A well-seasoned pan is often very dark like yours, and a well-seasoned pan functions much like a Teflon nonstick pan (with minimal amount of oil). However, there are cases where the pans are dark, but foods still stick badly, and there are cases where the pans are not very dark, but the foods do not stick.

            I guess what I am saying is that don't feel bad if you cannot get the pan black. It is "icing on the cake". The cake is the nonstick part.

            Please don't feel I am criticize you. I am not. Thanks for sharing.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
              nofunlatte May 12, 2013 02:03 PM

              Chem, I'm not feeling criticized at all! On the contrary, I'm delighted to have such wonderful help on this thread.

              Right now, I'm still just cooking vegetables and I'll probably stick with that for a couple of weeks. I am finding this seasoning process tobe fascinating.

              And no, I haven't named the pan yet--still working on a name for my car, which I bought last June!

            2. re: nofunlatte
              b
              breadchick May 11, 2013 01:10 PM

              Did you name your pan? :-)

              1. re: breadchick
                Chemicalkinetics May 11, 2013 01:18 PM

                Considered there is a reasonable possibility that nofunlatte was inspired by your posts, the pan should be named after you? maybe?

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                  b
                  breadchick May 11, 2013 01:40 PM

                  LOL, CK, but that could get weird. "I had to scrub breadchick because there was a bit of food stuck on her."

                  However, I must confess that I AM rather well-seasoned!

                  1. re: breadchick
                    Chemicalkinetics May 11, 2013 01:41 PM

                    Ha ha ha. I didn't think that far ahead. Maybe we will just call the pan: "bread"

                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                    DuffyH May 11, 2013 04:27 PM

                    BC is very inspiring, and should be hired by de Buyer as their newest spokesmodel. Electrolux has Kelly Ripa, yeah?

                    1. re: DuffyH
                      Chemicalkinetics May 11, 2013 04:48 PM

                      <spokesmodel>

                      You mean spoke person or spokewoman, right? Spokemodel is something else in my mind. :P

                      https://www.google.com/search?um=1&am...

                      <Electrolux has Kelly Ripa, yeah?>

                      I didn't know that.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                        DuffyH May 11, 2013 05:00 PM

                        LOL! Well, I "see" what you mean. Chem, you're thinking like a dude. I was just thinking attractive woman selling the product. Sort of like Vanna White pointing at letters, only with frypans and such. I didn't consider that she'd be doing it in her underwear, lol.

                        1. re: DuffyH
                          Chemicalkinetics May 11, 2013 05:08 PM

                          < Chem, you're thinking like a dude. >

                          Well a bit of that, but it is just me. If you notice my link, all I did is to type "spokesmodel" in Google image. Google decides to show you those images, not me. :D

              2. nofunlatte May 1, 2013 05:55 AM

                Thanks, all ,for weighing in on this thread. Last night, I pan fried some sugar snap peas in a mixture of oil and a little butter. Wonderful! So wonderful that I made some more for breakfast. The pan is blackening and one of these days I'll have the courage to cook an egg in it (which is why I bought it in the first place--once sixe for a single egg). I think I will be purchasing one in a larger size, too!

                8 Replies
                1. re: nofunlatte
                  Chemicalkinetics May 1, 2013 06:52 AM

                  I like to just add one thing. While eggs can be difficult and can stick to a pan, eggs rarely ruin the seasoning of a carbon steel pan. Eggs do not stick very hard to the pan, and so the residue does not "rip" or "tear" the seasoning off. It tends to tear the eggs apart because the eggs are very delicate, but not so much for the seasoning.

                  In other words, it may work or it may not, but you won't set yourself back.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                    DuffyH May 1, 2013 02:47 PM

                    To add to what Chem said about eggs, I've only used my 7" crepe pan for eggs and the occasional crepe. Because I don't bring them up to a high temp, the seasoning looks pretty much the same as it did right after my initial seasoning, mostly a deep amber-brown, with some black on the sides. I don't know if it will ever turn black.

                    But it is mostly non-stick, and the only time I have even slight sticking is when I don't use enough butter. It takes a full teaspoon to fry one egg properly. I've cheated it down to about 1/2 teaspoon, but after doing that a couple times, I've got to add more butter for subsequent uses or face some sticking.

                    But I do so love the wipe-it-and-forget-it feature. And eggs taste better than with any other pan I've used. :)

                  2. re: nofunlatte
                    b
                    breadchick May 1, 2013 06:14 PM

                    Try some wonderful now-in-season asparagus in your pan. When the spears are cooked to your liking, add eggs that have been beaten with a little cream, salt & pepper. Pour the eggs over and let them cook. Grate a little cheese on top, and dinner is ready!!

                    1. re: breadchick
                      DuffyH May 1, 2013 07:00 PM

                      bc, that sounds like seriously good eats. Add some crushed red pepper flakes and cilantro for Huevos Espårragos with bonus points for using queso menonita for the cheese. :)

                      1. re: DuffyH
                        b
                        breadchick May 1, 2013 07:34 PM

                        Well, didn't you just raise the bar! :-) No idea what that cheese is, but I'll have something to Google and see if any market in upstate NY carries it!

                        1. re: breadchick
                          DuffyH May 2, 2013 04:32 PM

                          It's just a mild yellow Mexican cheese, sort of cheddar-y. It was pretty easy to find in Sandy Eggo, IIRC. Of course, you can't throw a gato without hitting a Mexican market in that town. :)

                          Seriously, I'm anxious to try that asparagus. I've never been able to reconcile quiche or fritatta, because egg pie sounds bizarre to me. Don't get me wrong, I'll eat them, but the idea just sort of weirds me out. But, hey, no pie? I'm all over it!

                          I'd do it this week, in fact, but we just began tiling our house and the kitchen is out of commission. 3 days and we've got the entry, front hall and 1/3rd of the kitchen done. We figure we'll be done with the whole house by Memorial weekend. :(

                          1. re: DuffyH
                            b
                            breadchick May 2, 2013 08:23 PM

                            Yeah, the "spargus" thing in my house. My hubs is a city boy, and never had anything much beyond canned green beans and corn. I finally got him to try the stuff tossed with olive oil/garlic and grilled. Add the cheese and eggs. It's all over.

                            Well, not quite: I won't turn down a glass of champ and a croissant on the side.

                            Girl works hard all week.

                            1. re: breadchick
                              DuffyH May 4, 2013 02:53 PM

                              And she deserves a treat. Better if you can get hubs to cook, too. :)

                  3. b
                    breadchick Apr 30, 2013 05:59 PM

                    Don't worry. Before you know it, the seasoning will happen. It's an ongoing process and you'll learn all about your pans. They all behave differently because what I cook on is different than what you cook on. I've been pissed off with a bit of protein sticking and used a copper brillo scrubber to the darn thing and we both survived just fine. The thing is, you have some great cookware and what makes it great is the fact that it's amazingly forgiving. I adore my de Buyer pans still to this day. Also, not all pans will have this total black like coal look for a while. My whole mission was to duplicate what they use in commercial kitchens and create that wonderful non-stick finish - and that may be a bit wobbly in appearance until quite a bit of use. It's all still good.

                    1. l
                      laraffinee Apr 29, 2013 09:36 PM

                      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
                        nofunlatte May 3, 2013 09:10 AM

                        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
                          nofunlatte May 3, 2013 09:13 AM

                          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
                            DuffyH May 4, 2013 02:56 PM

                            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
                              nofunlatte May 4, 2013 04:34 PM

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

                              1. re: DuffyH
                                j
                                jljohn May 5, 2013 11:09 AM

                                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
                                  DuffyH May 5, 2013 04:11 PM

                                  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
                              nofunlatte May 3, 2013 09:14 AM

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

                            3. nofunlatte Apr 29, 2013 03:44 PM

                              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
                                Chemicalkinetics Apr 29, 2013 04:05 PM

                                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
                                  nofunlatte Apr 29, 2013 05:18 PM

                                  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
                                    Chemicalkinetics Apr 29, 2013 05:48 PM

                                    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
                                      JoanN Apr 29, 2013 06:24 PM

                                      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
                                        Chemicalkinetics Apr 29, 2013 07:51 PM

                                        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. JoanN Apr 29, 2013 11:09 AM

                                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. Chemicalkinetics Apr 29, 2013 10:38 AM

                                  <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. Sid Post Apr 29, 2013 05:38 AM

                                    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.

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