If you're new to cast iron cooking, or new to our cast iron, we want to let you know more about the practical side of owning cast iron cookware in general.....and our Australian high performance cast iron cookware in particular. We're very different to the old American and French cast iron, for very good reasons, and here we'll explain why.
Here's what's special about bare seasoned cast iron cookware:
Bare cast iron cookware is loved by expert cooks and literally millions of Americans and a growing cast iron movement in Australia, often becoming the primary cookware in the kitchen, for many good reasons:
Don't worry, be happy: Cast iron is very different to synthetic-coated nonstick aluminium (or any other kind of cookware), and bare seasoned cast iron is quite different to enamelled cast iron. It takes a little more care, but it's simple (see below), and seasoned cast iron is far more durable than synthetic nonstick, and more low-stick than enamel.
- How nonstick is seasoned iron? Bare seasoned cast iron is all-natural nonstick and safe at any temperature, but it is not quite as slippery as synthetic coatings. Don't expect that, or you'll be disappointed. However, with some simple seasoning and care, it can be a very low-stick form of nonstick (see http://youtu.be/-wByB2yTq0s ).
- Sustainability: Why persist with cast iron seasoning if it is not as slippery as synthetic nonstick and takes a little more maintenance? Apart from the cooking and health benefits, seasoned cast iron is also sustainable: you can keep on building the seasoning through normal cooking with oils (and correct washing), and the nonstick will never wear out: it is forever renewable. That is a very good thing for the planet, with huge quantities of nonstick pans being thrown into landfill every year. We strongly object to this disposability mentality in cookware, particularly with all the credible warnings about the health risks of synthetic nonstick (see http://www.solidteknics.com/blog/dont-believe-us-about-dangers-of-nonstick-pans-weve-got-something-to-sell-believe-the-unsponsored-scientists ).
- What is this 'dark art' called seasoning? See our brief video intro here http://youtu.be/fzvaw4b_zVc and our full instructions here http://www.solidteknics.com/australian-fonte-pan-detail . Please don't use your new pre-seasoned cast iron pan without first reading the online instructions. Mistakes can be made, and though they're easy to correct, it can make new ownership frustrating.
- Healthiest choice in nonstick: Finally, remember why you probably heard about cast iron in the beginning, apart from superior cooking: health. And this is far more important than the little extra convenience or slipperiness of synthetic nonstick, if you ask us! http://www.solidteknics.com/blog/these-5-health-benefits-are-cast-in-ironand-4-more-are-literally-cast-in-iron-in-australia
Cooking with cast iron is different, and better, once you know how.
- Cast iron is a big thermal mass: Preheat the pan longer (5-10 minutes, depending on temperature/size) to ensure even heat all over.
- For red meats: Big steaks won't cool that big thermal mass down like thin/light pans and cause stewing: they will be immediately perfectly seared, if you have enough temperature. Use a much higher temp than you're used to (way hotter than the safe limit of synthetic-coated pans - say 8 or 9 on electric), and shorter cook time to sear quickly and avoid stewing out juices (they dry to a very good glue!). If you dry rub and the pan's hot enough, you can do this without oil and the taste is unbeatable! See https://youtu.be/987wOx8HXzo There's lots of other great methods on YouTube too.
- For eggs and other 'delicates': First wait until your pan is very well seasoned. The low-stick properties take time to build (the pre-seasoning is only light, and not low-stick enough for really delicate cooking). Use a low heat (around 3 on electric) and lots of butter/oil. Don't let the eggs dry out for too long, or too hot. (It's only synthetic nonsticks that let you get away with some of those bad cooking habits.) If you're still having trouble, see lots of good demos on YouTube and search the advice from 'old hands' on forums like www.facebook.com/groups/castironskillet
- Slow cooking with acidic liquids and baking: Cast iron is perfect for all this cooking too, though you will want a good thick seasoning built up first. The acidic liquid can erode some seasoning, and so will the scrubbing, so regularly do some extra seasoning to compensate and you'll be fine. And don't worry about a little iron leaching out if your seasoning is thin: that's healthy too!
What's so different about AUSfonte cast iron cookware?
- High performance cast iron, not traditional: Our product page has a summary of AUSfonte features, like our innovative 'Love Handles' for easier lifting and cooler handling (www.solidteknics.com/products), and we recently put together a neat 2 minute video summary of the benefits of AUSfonte cast iron over cheap (or expensive!) traditional import brands: https://youtu.be/KR08V2EX76c
- Special AUSfonte cooking surface: You might not have noticed it, but AUSfonte pans have a cooking surface that is machine-manual sanded smooth, like the prized antique American pans. It's expensive and time-consuming, and other manufacturers generally leave their pans as-cast, so why are we the only modern manufacturer doing it? Cooking performance. Removing the rough tops of the cast surface simply makes the pan more nonstick. But please don't worry when you see the 'pits' in the surface: they're very intentional.....remember we're engineers! See more detail in our instructions page FAQs , and much more detail here for the particularly curious: http://www.solidteknics.com/smoothest
- Heirloom pioneers: Unique in the cookware world, all our pans are cast with the actual casting date. When we launch new models on Kickstarter, those pans are cast with the words 'FIRST EDITION' (and date) as a special reward for our backers who crowdfund our expensive production (our retail pans instead say 'CAST', and date). In the centuries to come imagine your descendents marvelling at their ancient early 2nd Millenium pans, and the foresight of their ancestors to invest in and hand down healthy multi-generation cast iron.
- Rediscovery: We're not the first to discover cast iron, but we are very thankful our USA experience led us to rediscover cast iron cooking and bring it back to Australia.....after two generations of 'nonstick babies'! Cast iron has seen a huge resurgence in the USA lately because of the growing health concerns with synthetics, and now Aussie cooks are embracing cast iron in a big way.....including the only cast iron made in Australia, and for that we are hugely grateful: http://www.solidteknics.com/blog/good-news-for-australian-manufacturing-new-australian-made-ausfonte-cookware-outsells-all-the-old-import-brands
When it comes time to replace yet another nonstick pan, please consider our Australian-made low-stick pans and all their health, cooking, and sustainability benefits.
When you choose heirloom AUSfonte cookware, you should feel rightly proud of that thoughtful choice, against the tide of synthetics......and you should feel proud of the legacy of shared cooking love you will be handing down for centuries.
Best Regards and Happy Cooking, from Mark, Rebecca, Natasha and the SOLIDTEKNICS team
Where to buy AUSfonte cookware? We launch each new AUSfonte pan model on Kickstarter to help fund the very expensive moulds, and in return we ship backers limited heirloom pans cast with 'FIRST EDITION' and the actual casting date. If you miss the Kickstarter launches you can find AUSfonte in the best gourmet kitchenware stores and online retailers here: http://www.solidteknics.com/where-to-buy/
The future of this new Australian cookware industry? We promise SOLIDTEKNICS will become a major brand in expert cook's equipment in the coming years.....not only cast iron, and not only cookware. We have three more patents pending and we're developing a string of innovations for release in coming months. Join our newsletter list to be among the first to hear about the amazing products launching soon: www.solidteknics.com/contact