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Not sure if this is supposed to happen. Reseasoning cast iron skillet.

v
VongolaDecimo Jun 18, 2013 09:24 PM

I left my skillet to cool the yesterday on the stove and someone cleaned my pan with steel wool and now it sticks like crazy. It upsets me as eggs can no longer slide around and everything sticks. Knowing I have to reseason, I thought I would use the flaxseed oil method. I've already gone through 2 cycles this night of applying thin coats of flaxseed oil. But what im seeing is grayish areas appearing throughout the pan at the end of each seasoning stage. Is this supposed to happen? Im worried I didn't properly strip my pan of its seasoning and its causing these gray areas. I used Easy Off Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner for 30 minutes before wiping out and washing in soapy water to strip. I would like to stay away from the self cleaning cycle as I dont want to risk warping, especially given its a 120 year old Griswold.

  1. j
    jaykayen Jun 20, 2013 12:25 AM

    Never strip off old seasoning, unless you really need to just layer oil over it. I did strip one time when a dirty pan left in the oven had burned food bits stuck to it, flaking/peeling seasoning, and smelled acrid. It was an extreme case.

    If you have already done two hot temperature rounds and have not been happy, try a low temperature one, that is what gives me the best results.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jaykayen
      d
      dixiegal Jun 23, 2013 04:15 AM

      I disagree with this unless you know what those old seasoning layers are. I always, always get all the old seasoning layers off and start brand, spanking new with seasoning layers that I put on myself. In the instance of old CI, no telling what was in that pan before I got it. I have seen CI used for all kinds of things, not pertaining to cooking. My mom, grandmothers, occasionally got all their seasoning layers off and started again. Over time and with heavy use of frying, uneven build up occurs, so they would put their skillets in the edge of a fire and burn it off. I even take off the layer from new CI, because it never holds, IME.

    2. Candy Jun 19, 2013 10:34 AM

      My very old Griswold has been through the self cleaning cycle a time of two. Warping is not an issue. It won't happen. Stop using oil on your pan. It leaves a sticky residue. Use shortening or lard.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Candy
        v
        VongolaDecimo Jun 19, 2013 06:04 PM

        Flaxseed oil, unlike other oils, is a drying oil. No sticky residue to worry about. :)

        Totally relieved that my pan would be safe if using the self clean function. Since griswolds are made with thinner cast iron, it had me worried. And im not ready to throw $230 out either. Thanks for the heads up.

        1. re: VongolaDecimo
          l
          Leepa Jun 23, 2013 04:27 AM

          I agree with the okay on the self clean cycle. I season mine with a light brush of shortening on warmed cast iron, put it in a 500 degree oven for 2 hours, let it cool in the oven til warm, do the whole thing again. Rinse (not literally) and repeat until it's like you want. For this reason, I usually do several pieces at once. Expect smoke at some point. Ventilate your kitchen.

      2. BiscuitBoy Jun 19, 2013 07:51 AM

        Sand that rascal and start from square one

        1. Chemicalkinetics Jun 18, 2013 09:53 PM

          <Knowing I have to reseason>

          It depends on your definition of reseasoning. You will certainly need to season it, but you may not need to strip off the original seasoning surface.

          <Im worried I didn't properly strip my pan of its seasoning and its causing these gray areas>

          Gray can be normal. Gray is actually the true color of most cast iron cookware. Black is not.

          <Is this supposed to happen?>

          It depends what you have done earlier. If you have stripped off the original seasoning, then you entire pan should actually look gray like this.

          http://threehundredandsixtysix.files....

          and it can take a few seasoning sessions or cooking sessions to turn the gray into black. Meanwhile, some spots will turn to black faster than others -- which may be of your observation.

          < I dont want to risk warping>

          I have rarely heard of warping a cast iron cookware in the self cleaning cycle. I have done it probably 10+ times, and have never seen my cast iron cookware warped.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
            v
            VongolaDecimo Jun 19, 2013 04:35 AM

            Awww too late. Oven cleaner got to the pan already. :( Half the pan still maintained their nonstick coating when i found it. I've always thought that one should strip if reseasoning so that the coatings could be uniform.

            Good to know about the gray areas. I think i'll continue the seasoning process.

            And about the warping. So my pan would be safe in a self clean oven for a few hours? I also dont want them to crack and heard the pan should ring should you tap it on the side to test of whether there are any.

            1. re: VongolaDecimo
              Chemicalkinetics Jun 19, 2013 04:46 AM

              <I've always thought that one should strip if reseasoning so that the coatings could be uniform. >

              True, but it really depends the stage of the seasoning. If it is just a little bit uneven, you don't need to strip the seasoning. In time, it will even out itself. If you can really feel the height difference across the pan (as you run your finger across), then you may need to strip off the original seasoning. It depends, but it is definitely not mandatory.

              <And about the warping. So my pan would be safe in a self clean oven for a few hours?>

              To use self cleaning oven to strip the pan, you probably don't need more than 2-3 hours in the self cleaning mode, and a few more hour in the cool down mode. Yes, it should be safe in a self cleaning oven for a couple of hours.

              <I also dont want them to crack and heard the pan should ring should you tap it on the side to test of whether there are any.>

              The tap method is an very old method and it does work to good extend. In the old time, people would tap a cast iron (or any material) to see if there is any minor crack before purchasing the cookware.

              It is a bit more than just "ring". It is more like those movies you watch about tapping the wall to find a hollow spot/secret passage...etc. As you tap around the pan, it will produce a similar sound -- until you get close to the minor crack. So it is more about listening to a sudden change of sound.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                v
                VongolaDecimo Jun 21, 2013 04:51 AM

                Hey Chem, So I finally cooked in it today. I did not get the black, matte surface I was expecting but cooked in it anyways. Cooked bacon and the seasoning floated to the surface. :( Looks like i'll have to really strip it this time. Im going to put in the oven with the self cleaning mode on and reattempt seasoning. Do you think it would be overkill to use oven cleaner as well or is the self clean mode sufficient?

                1. re: VongolaDecimo
                  Chemicalkinetics Jun 21, 2013 04:14 PM

                  <Cooked bacon and the seasoning floated to the surface>

                  Floated? You have water in it? Anyway, it sounds like that your original seasoning layer was not stable and finally gave up. The self cleaning mode alone will do, and you should not need to do a chemical clean up after that. One or the other is fine.

                2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                  v
                  VongolaDecimo Jun 21, 2013 08:42 AM

                  Do you think i can get away with leaving the pan on the bottom of the oven? Dont want to leave the racks in as they still look shiny and new. But then again, im afraid that direct contact between the pan and oven will discolor my oven. It still looks new and blue inside.

                  1. re: VongolaDecimo
                    Chemicalkinetics Jun 21, 2013 04:17 PM

                    I don't have good recommendation on this one. Leaving our racks in the self-cleaning oven will definitely dull their color and roughen their texture.

                    Use chemical cleaning then....

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