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 and here we'll explain why!
a reminder of what's special about cast iron cookware:
There's a lot of reasons why expert and health-conscious cooks love cast iron, and for the rise and rise of cast iron cooking in the USA, and the beginnings of the same movement in Australia:
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 to build the seasoning initially, but it's simple (see below), and the seasoning makes bare cast iron low-stick and forever renewable. Far more durable than synthetic nonstick, and more nonstick than enamel.
- How nonstick is seasoned iron, really? 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 the right seasoning and care, it can be a very low-stick form of nonstick (see http://youtu.be/-wByB2yTq0s and proud cast iron cooks' videos all over YouTube).
- 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 when it comes to synthetics and the warnings from credible sources about their serious health risks (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 AUSfonte pan without first reading the online instructions. It is possible to make mistakes. Remember that errors can be easily corrected (unlike coated pans), but they can make for a more frustrating start than necessary.
- Healthiest choice in nonstick: Finally, remember why you probably switched to cast iron in the beginning, apart from superior taste: health. And this is far more important than the little extra convenience and 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 high 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 and tough glue!). If you dry rub the steak and the pan's hot enough, you can sear without oil and finish bake in the oven, 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
- For acidic sauces and slow-cooking: Ensure your pan is well-seasoned because the acids will erode the seasoning to some extent, along with the washing. Not a problem for well-seasoned pans though, and any small iron migration is a good thing! If you're doing more of this type of cooking than frying with fats/oils, you should do some extra seasoning occasionally to maintain a nice thick seasoning barrier. Similar applies if a pan is used more for baking than for frying.
What's so different about AUSfonte cast iron cookware?
- High performance cast iron, not traditional: The AUSfonte pan features, like innovative 'Love Handles' (for leverage and cooler handling), are summarised on our product page here www.solidteknics.com/products and we recently put together a neat 2min video summary of the benefits of AUSfonte cast iron over traditional import brands, cheap or expensive: 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 extra curious: http://www.solidteknics.com/smoothest
- Heirloom collectibility: Unique in cookware, we cast every AUSfonte pan underneath with the exact date of casting. Whenever we launch a new pan model on Kickstarter we also cast those with the words 'FIRST EDITION' and the date, as a special reward for our backers who are helping crowdfund our expensive Australian production (regular retail edition pans say 'CAST' and the 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 healthy multi-generation cast iron.
- Pioneering: We're not the first to discover cast iron cooking, 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.
Best Regards and Happy Cooking!
Mark, Rebecca, Natasha and the SOLIDTEKNICS team
SOLIDTEKNICS will become a major brand in expert cook's equipment in coming months and years, with three more patents pending and a string of innovations under development. Join our newsletter list to be among the first to hear about the amazing products launching soon: www.solidteknics.com/contact