No matter how hard the manufacturers try to change the material used to make pans and pots, no aluminum can replace cast iron! Even the taste of the food cooked in it is significantly different from what is typical of dishes subjected to processing in aluminum dishes. But the technology of working with cast iron products is not easy, because it requires a lot of attention.
Cast iron frying pan: first use
Regardless of how expensive your new cast iron pan was, the following rules and recommendations should be strictly observed. This will help to maintain the original appearance and quality of the product in the best possible way. It is worth noting that the initial stages are applicable to any products made of cast iron: from the pan to the pot and pot.
Once the purchase is removed from the packaging, it should be washed in warm water with a sponge and soap, but this process will not complete the cleaning. Since the cast iron is necessarily coated with a sealing agent before sale, preventing the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms, as well as rust on its surface, this chemical substance will need to be eliminated.
After a soft pre-wash, the pan is cleaned with a metal scourer, but you cannot scrape it until a steel shade appears. If there is no washcloth of this type, you can use a stiff brush. In the future, this brush or scourge will be used only with this pan, and a soft foam sponge will be disposed of immediately after work.
The next step is to fully dry the product: it is recommended to carry it out in the oven. In its absence, the use of a plate is allowed, but in any case the temperature that affects the pan should not exceed 200 degrees. Taking into account the fact that now it is important only to dry the product, and not to calcine it, experts advise to heat the oven only up to 120 degrees, and to keep the pan in such conditions for 40-50 minutes. You can first remove the remnants of moisture through a paper towel, and after that proceed to the internal drying of iron. Then follows the stage of roasting the pan, which should be given a little more attention.
How to ignite a cast iron skillet correctly?
Stage 1: heating the pan on the stove. What type it is - gas or electric - does not matter: any one can be heated to maximum power. After that, you need to wait for the moment when the color of the walls and bottom of the pan begins to change to a lighter in comparison with the original blue-black. Fully heated product, ready for the next step, should be dark gray. This signals the destruction of the protective layer that was applied to the cast iron manufacturer. Thus, chemical compounds dangerous for the human body are eliminated.
Stage 2: a hot frying pan is transferred to the sink, where it is instantly cooled with a stream of cold water. Such a sharp temperature drop hardens the cast iron, so do not be afraid for its safety. In the case, if at this stage the product breaks, you can safely return it to the manufacturer with a marriage claim: correctly burned cast iron must withstand such actions. Therefore, the stage of rinsing and cooling after strong heating becomes a kind of quality check.
Stage 3: returning the pan to a hot stove. While the moisture from the product evaporates, large salt is poured into it in large quantities. It should cover the bottom completely, with a layer of 0.5-1 cm. The power is reduced by half, and the salt together with the frying pan will heat up until the moment when the white grains turn yellow. It is likely that under the influence of high temperature, they will begin to shoot. The main thing is that the process takes 10-15 minutes: a shorter period means that the burner power was too high. At this stage, the pan is also being cleaned from possible chemical agents that were used to process the product at the plant.
Stage 4 is the final step: the rinse is repeated again with cold water, which becomes final, and the pan is placed on paper towels. They can also immediately remove excess moisture, then leave the product to dry at room temperature. Some hostesses for this move the pan on a warm ring, but its power should already be only 1 / 3-1 / 4 of the maximum, to prevent new calcination. At this primary processing of the cast iron pan is completed, however, there are several rules for the care of this product.
Cast iron pan burns: what to do?
Some women are faced with the fact that in the process of frying, the pan begins to emit smoke, smoke, and the products on it burn, even if they are prepared in large quantities of oil. This is possible if lubrication was not carried out, carried out without putting any products in the dishes. This pan process requires the use of olive oil, the choice of which is important to approach wisely. You need a special oil for frying, without marking "virgin", which indicates its higher spinning, which is undesirable during heat treatment. At the time of heating the pan with it, the oil will start to burn, emitting smoke, and all the work will be ruined.
The pan, with which you will work, should be warm. To do this, you can hold it on the burner with a weak power for several minutes. However, overheating can not be allowed. Now, a sufficient amount of olive oil is applied to the soft sponge so that it completely soaks it, and this sponge needs to be walked through the cast-iron pan, without missing anything. Both external and internal surfaces must be carefully treated with oil.
It is better to overdo it with its layer and later remove the surplus with a paper towel than to leave dry islets. This is especially true of the bottom and the inside of the sides. Moreover, given the ability of iron to absorb oil, it is unlikely that you will be able to overdo it with lubricant.
While you are processing the pan, the oven warms up to 175-180 degrees. It makes no sense to raise the temperature - the calcination stage has already been passed. A grate is placed on the lower level, and a frying pan is placed on it. This is done in such a way that the bottom looked up: then any drops of oil that will collect on the cast iron will begin to flow down. So that they do not contaminate the oven, under a frying pan, a baking sheet or other flat container is placed on the bottom panel. It can be replaced with a simple sheet of foil, the main thing is to stretch it across the diameter of the pan. The product will heat up for 4-5 hours, during which the oil will completely saturate the cast iron. A properly baked frying pan will take on the same black color that was characteristic of it at the time of purchase and was lost during calcination and purification.
The best cast iron pan: recommendations for choice
In order for the cast iron pan to serve you as long as possible, it is important not only to follow the rules for its operation, but also to take a responsible approach to its choice. Unfortunately, it is impossible to say exactly which manufacturer offers the best frying pan, ready to go through fire and water and work out every ruble, it is impossible: everyone has dips and take-offs. Even the study of the overall rating does not help much, so it’s enough just to understand how the correct cast iron pan is chosen.
- The main landmark is the weight of the product. Undoubtedly, it is difficult to hold heavy dishes in your hand, but in the case of cast iron, its gravity is of primary importance: a too light pan will hardly last for a long time;
- The next moment is the thickness of the sides and the bottom: 3-4 mm set as the optimal value are set by the state standard;
- Coating uniformity is an important factor. This concerns the absence of any notches, concave or convex parts, chips, scratches, and especially in a good frying pan there should not be hints of rust;
- But the color of the product almost does not matter: of course, black looks attractive, but in reality it signals only about impregnation with a chemical sealing agent that you have to get rid of.
Other parameters such as shape, diameter and the presence of a lid are left to the discretion of the future owner of the cast-iron frying pan: they do not affect the quality of the food prepared in it. It is enough to remember that a pancake is considered a frying pan with low sides, high ones are intended for stewing, and a wooden handle will be most convenient when working with a frying pan in the oven.
For the rest, the best pan - the one with which you are comfortable. And to extend its life will help the above rules, which must be used on the day of purchase of the product. After that, it will only be necessary to keep the dishes in proper condition, not forgetting to clean it without detergent and to select only wooden spatulas for cooking.