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De Buyer Carbon - After 2 years, is this "right"?

I've done a lot of searching through the forums and I haven't found anything about this, but forgive me if this is redundant - I know there are a ton of conversations already.

Most of what I've seen have to do with initial seasoning and general usage/reviews. My question and concern has to do with what the pan looks like now after using it for 3 years (post title says 2, but now that I'm thinking it has actually been 3).

I have two carbon pans - an 8 inch and a 12 inch. The 8 inch gets less use, and has developed a nice dark patina sort of finish. It's not incredibly "non stick" but it's pretty stick resistant and cleans up easy enough. This pan to me seems to have developed as expected.

The 12 inch, however, looks odd to me. It's been used a lot, and in more high-heat situations. I has developed a completely black sort of carbon "coating" or something. You can't really see the base material except for certain spots where the carbon coating hasn't developed. This coating is pretty dern non-stick, but at times bits seem to flake off, which is my concern.

Is this coating normal? Or his this from improper use? I've thought about trying to remove all seasoning and starting over, but I don't think this stuff will come off - at least not easily.

I don't have any good pictures of this right now but I can try to take some if needed. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Your pans are fine. My DB's are about the same age,get tons of high heat use and are both black as hell. I've noticed some flacking as well but I don't think it's a problem.
    You could try to strip the plan and re season it..

    I'll try to post some photos of my pans.

    1. They look kinda nasty but they work well..

       
       
      1. < I has developed a completely black sort of carbon "coating" or something. You can't really see the base material except for certain spots where the carbon coating hasn't developed. This coating is pretty dern non-stick, but at times bits seem to flake off, which is my concern. >

        I don't see any problem with your seasoning condition by reading your description. It is fine. Your pan is nonstick. The pan is not rusting. What more can one ask for? These are the two major primary reasons for seasoning a carbon steel pan -- to keep it from rusting and to maintain a nonstick surface. Your flaking problem does not sound bad neither.

        <but I don't think this stuff will come off - at least not easily.>

        If you really want the seasoning layer to come off, there are many approaches, but I really don't see the need.

        1. Perfect timing! I ordered these pans impulsively after someone posted on CH about a sale at West Elm. I didn't realize they needed to be cured until after I'd cooked on them, so I was wondering how they should look. Here are mine, about 10 days old, used just a few times. A little stickiness, some places more than others. Same question as the OP.

           
          9 Replies
            1. re: Shrinkrap

              I have the same set from West Elm and a smattering of other de Buyer pans. You don't NEED to season ("cure") them, though it does help with initial quasi non-stick properties. You can just jump in and start cooking with them. A lot. Use a bit more fat than usual for a while, clean them out with hot water and a sponge when necessary and wipe them down with a thin layer of oil after putting them on the stove to dry. With a little time and a lot of use, they'll become virtually non-stick.

              1. re: hardline_42

                Season! That's the word I was looking for; thanks!

                1. re: Shrinkrap

                  It is easier to first season the cookware. However, hardline_42 is correct. You can season the cookware as you cook it. This is certainly a feasible way to go. As long as you don't notice any rust, you can probably keep doing what you are doing now.

                  <A little stickiness, some places more than others.>

                  When you wrote "sticky", do you mean that food sometime stick to the pan? Or do you mean that the pan feels sticky and gummy as you run your hand/fingers over the pan?

                  The former simply means some areas of the pan are more seasoned than others. Nothing to worry about. The latter means that some of the areas have excess oil and "incomplete" seasoning has formed on different areas of the cookware. In time, these will likely to go away. If not, you can always scrap them off.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    "the pan feels sticky and gummy as you run your hand/fingers over the pan"

                    Thanks!

                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                      I see. Then, this just means that there were oil spots which were not completely seasoned. In time, these spots will slowly convert. Alternatively, you can simply scrap off the sticky/gummy layer using a plastic scraper, or an old credit card. The reason to use a plastic material is that the plastic will be hard enough to scrap off the gummy substance, but not hard enough to scratch the pan. A metal scraper is ok too, but you need to be very gentle. Good luck.

              2. re: Shrinkrap

                That sure doesn't look like the cookware TV chefs use. ;-) It looks like mine. That must really be "acting" the TV chefs do with all that "cooking" on new, unseasoned cookware. ;-)

                1. re: Antilope

                  After I got them, I was thinking....hmmmm......what did I buy? Over the last few days I've been thinking maybe one day they wiil be those beat up pans stacked up near the line cooks, behind the scenes.

              3. I love my DB pan (sadly, I only have an 8"...)... i had the same worries as the OP did initially but it works great and I'm so glad I have it :D