How to season your carbon steel pan

Once you have received your new carbon steel pan , there is a bit of preliminary work you need to do to take care of the pan and build up a natural non - stick surface .

In this guide, we will give you our best tips and tricks on how to take care of your new carbon steel pan . If you have a cast iron pan at home, these tips also apply .

Carbon steel is one of our favorite materials for pans. It is a staple in professional kitchens, loved by French chefs, and has also quickly become popular in home kitchens, around the world. Carbon steel offers the best properties of both cast iron and stainless steel pans.

A carbon steel pan heats up quickly and cools down quickly and has an incredible heat conduction. In addition, the carbon steel pan is extremely durable and relatively light weight. Especially when compared to cast iron.

When you first receive you carbon steel pan, you probably can't wait to get started, but just like with cast iron, it's important that you build up a natural layer of non-stick. We call that process "seasoning". Follow this guide one step at a time and get ready to give your new frying pan the perfect seasoning.

What is "seasoning"?

Seasoning is the process of treating your pan with oil to create a seal on the surface of the pan. Heating a high smokepoint oil leads to polymerization - which is the oil and heat reacting to form a hard layer that fills the small pores/irregularities in the surface of the metal. This helps prevent rust and keeps food from sticking.

Although your pan comes "pre-seasoned", this treatment from production is primarily intended to protect it from rust during transport and storage in our warehouse.

In order to achieve the perfect surface before use, you must first clean the pan completely and build up the first layer of seasoning.

We have tested several methods and found that the best result is achieved in the oven. If you have a gas stovetop, this can also be used - but follow the oven method if you want to be on the safe side (Note: Don´t season the pan using induction or ceramic stovetops)

How to season your pan perfectly for the first time

1. Preheat your oven

Your oven should be as hot as the smoking point of the oil you use. We prefer using grapeseed oil, which has a smoke point of around 216 °C , but if in doubt, check the label of the oil you are using.

Cover an oven rack with aluminum foil and place it at the bottom of your oven - this will allow it to collect any oil that may drip from the pan during the seasoning process.

2. Wash your carbon steel pan

Give your pan a good wash with warm water and dish soap. Remove the protective layer that the pan received during production to protect the pan during transport. Try to get as much of the oil off as possible. We recommend that you wash the pan thoroughly with the coarse side of a sponge, a coarse dishwashing brush or steel wool for approx. 5-10 minutes. Make sure to wash both inside and outside. along the way with a piece of paper towel if anything spills from the pan. Check with a piece of paper towel if dark spots appear on the paper, continue washing. The pan will become slightly lighter and more matte after washing.

3. Dry the pan well

Before putting the frying pan in the oven, make sure it is completely dry. Start by wiping the pan with paper towels - avoid tea towels, which can leave bits of fluff - and then place the pan over low heat on the stove so that all the water evaporates from the pan.

4. Apply oil

Pour a few tablespoons of grape seed (or other medium/high heat point oil) oil into a small bowl and apply the oil in a thin layer to the inside and outside of the pan using a piece of paper towel. Make sure the entire surface is covered, but don't overdo it - quite a bit of oil is needed. Be careful - the pan may be hot after step 3.

Once the pan is covered in oil, take a dry piece of paper towel and remove as much oil from the pan as possible. The pan should look almost dry - then you know you have the perfect thin layer of oil, which is extremely important when building up the first layer of seasoning.

5. Heat the pan in the oven

Place the pan in the preheated oven on a rack. After approx. 5 minutes you can check the pan in the oven - small beads of oil will sometimes form on the surface, which must be removed with a paper towel. Either way, it's a really good idea to wipe the pan an extra time with the paper towel. Too much oil gives an uneven seasoning, and you run the risk that the pan will not achieve the same non-stick effect and thus you will have to start over.

6. Cool down the carbon steel pan

Turn off the oven after an hour and leave the pan to cool in the oven. Once you can touch the pan, you can start cooking with it.

7. Cook - or give it an extra layer of seasoning!

Now your frying pan has had its first layer of seasoning and will be darker and more shiny . You can start cooking right away, because it helps to make the surface even better. For example, start by frying a packet of bacon - as it has a high level of fat and protein, which will help the pan season further!

Alternatively, you can also repeat the process from steps 4-6 if you want an even better seasoning before you start cooking.

Running into problems?

If your carbon steel pan feels sticky, you may have applied too much oil. To solve this just put a little oil in the pan and a few good spoonfuls of coarse salt. Now polish the surface of the pan with this mixture. It helps to level the surface and remove any excess sticky oil.

Is there rust on your pan? Not to worry! You can remove rust with either salt, vinegar or a scouring pad. Scrub the rust off the pan and repeat the seasoning process as described above.

We recommend that you do not use your new carbon stel pan with food that tends to stick ( eg eggs or fish) until you have built up more patina and a really good seasoning.

If you would like your pan to be even smoother and "non-stick", you can repeat the process (without the washing step). A carbon steel pan is much like a cast iron pan, so remember - no soap at all and only use water sparingly when cleaning it.

Be sure to coat the pan in a thin layer of grape seed oil after use so that it does not rust - and also see our guide to cleaning carbon steel pans.

The more you cook in your new carbon steel pan, the more naturally non-stick it becomes. Food with a high fat content helps the process along, so grab your new pan when you need to fry the perfect steak.

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