New to iron pans and /or Solidteknics? Head over to our 'getting started' guide - solidteknics.com/ironcarequenched
Below is a series of FAQs on seasoning. The most common is expecting your new wrought iron pan to 'not stick' like a synthetic coated non-stick pan. Building seasoning does take time, wrought iron pans get better with age and use (though our new Quenched finish has helped shortcut the initial seasoning steps). Our pans aren't cast iron, they are wrought iron, made from an iron sheet. Subsequently, they won't need as much heat like cast iron and it's quite likely if you're treating them the same in terms of heat settings, your wrought iron pan will be too hot on the same setting as your cast iron. The key to non-stick in iron pans is good fat and heat management. Medium is the new high with wrought iron pans. Though our pans can handle the heat, if you need a searing steak or crispy skin, once your pan is warm, turn up the heat to achieve your desired finish.
Ensure your pan is clean and the surface is smooth before every cook, build-up on your cooking surface ie feels rough, is likely to be carbon (baked-on food and fat), this will act like velcro. If your cooking surface is usually smooth, and food is still sticking more than you like, it will only be a matter of managing your heat and fat. Less heat is required for wrought iron as it is a superior conductor of heat to cast iron.
In summary, make sure you've done any required seasoning and the cooking surface is smooth. Use less heat initially than you're used to, though ensure your pan is hot enough before you start cooking and you may need to turn down the heat once you add your fats. Avoid turning food too early, allow the pan to release your food, then turn.
Click on the FAQ below that best suits your query (or scroll down to read all):
|What oils can I use to season?|
|I’ve seasoned my pan and the food is still sticking?|
Seasoning is simply layers of oil that is baked onto the pan, through a process called polymerisation. Over time, this builds to form a natural, easy-release cooking surface that continues to get better with use. This ‘build-your-own’ seasoning is the only way to achieve a natural, non-toxic, non-stick surface that is forever renewable.
For AUS-ION™ Quenched finish seasoning instructions, CLICK HERE.
No initial 'at home' seasoning required for our Quenched finish, unless you desire a superior non-stick surface.
For AUS-ION™ RAW finish seasoning instructions, CLICK HERE.
For AUS-ION™ SATIN finish seasoning instructions, CLICK HERE.
An easy way to determine which finish you pan has is by the colour. Raw pans will be silver and coated in a light layer of beeswax, Satin pans are bronze and slightly rough to the touch. Quenched pans are a dark grey/black.
Building a low or non-stick surface can take time, and will continue to get better with appropriate care and continued use. It can take a little bit of getting used to but you'll soon develop your own flow. Don't expect the immediate slipperiness of synthetic non sticks. Seasoned iron is superior in every important way: health and sustainability and performance.
Seasoned iron will rarely look visually perfect on the cooking surface, and will continue to evolve and change depending on what, and how, you’re cooking. Don’t worry about how it looks – it’s all about performance! Whilst your seasoning is still young, cook with plenty of fats and oils, and lower your heat - our pans are so much more conductive than disposable 'non-stick' pans!
Seasoning is not compulsory, though we do recommend it for all over corrosion protection, and to build your non-stick surface. Our AUS-ION™ Satin pans come lightly preseasoned, though we do recommend additional at-home seasoning. Our AUS-ION™ Raw pans come coated in a light layer of beeswax - the beeswax will need to be removed prior to use. Some people choose to just let their seasoning build naturally through cooking with fats and oils, though if you're new to cooking with iron, we do recommend following our seasoning instructions for best results. How much or little seasoning you choose to do is completely up to you!
Simply put: Our new Quenched™ finish takes away the need for at-home oven seasoning, as we've done the work for you. Your seasoning and the non-stick surface will continue to build and get better the more you cook! Seasoning and cooking will also keep rust at bay.
The detail: Rust and iron can go hand in hand in the right conditions, ie if the iron is left wet, idle or unprotected. Our iron pans are made from pure iron and through cooking and seasoning will get better with age and use. The Quenched finish means we've done the work for you and they don't require you to do any oven seasoning when you first get your iron pan - they have a good solid layer of seasoning ie a patina and a fairly developed non-stick surface (in the right conditions ie good heat and fat control), though if you want your pan super non-stick, more stovetop seasoning is recommended. If you're not completely sure what seasoning is, it's a traditional method used for thousands of years with iron cookware, this link will help https://www.solidteknics.
Our Quenched™ finish is real, natural seasoning. It is not a synthetic coating. It will change and develop as you cook! Like all-natural, seasoned iron pans, acidic foods can strip the seasoning, food can stick if it's turned too soon ie iron pans release the food, the heat is too high (our pans are highly conductive, mediums is the new high), or not enough fat used, or the pan isn't cleaned properly etc. It can take an adjustment if you're used to cooking on synthetic coated, disposable pans.
The beauty of seasoned iron is, it is, forever renewable. It's always an easy fix! For rust, here's our FAQ on how to remedy: www.solidteknics.com/
A well-seasoned pan is often patchy in reality. It's all about performance! Seasoning is forever renewable. If you get "stuck", the rest of our Seasoning FAQs below will help get you back on track.
We recommend rice bran oil for best results, though any cooking oil or fat with a high smoke point can work well, such as grapeseed oil, flaxseed oil, canola oil, lard etc. Olive oil is not good for seasoning due to its low smoke point.
You can use whatever oil you choose to cook with.
Flaky seasoning is an indication of a weak seasoning foundation. There are a number of factors that can cause this: too much oil used in the initial oven seasoning; pans not left in oven long enough (1.5-2 hours) and at the correct temp (250C); not allowing pans to cool between seasoning layers; cooking acidic foods or boiling liquids; scrubbing seasoning off after use or cleaning with detergents.
The beauty of seasoned iron is it’s forever renewable so can be easily remedied. First off, you'll want to give it a good scrub back to remove all the lumpy/flaky bits using steel wool/scourer/fine sandpaper - whatever does the trick. Don't worry about scrubbing the whole pan back - just focus on the flaking/lumpy bits.
Then, just follow up with a few quick stovetop seasons to build your seasoning back up. Follow our seasoning instructions here.
Sticky seasoning is usually a sign of excess oil built up on your pan. To remedy this, place your pan upside down (ideally on the top rack) without any oil application and bake at 250 degrees Celcius for 90 minutes.
From there, continue with your seasoning, the video in this link is very helpful.
And remember, less is more when it comes to oil application!
It can take some time to build a non-stick surface through seasoning, but it is very achievable - as has been done by cooks all over the world for hundreds of years (it’s not something we invented). Iron is so much more conductive than synthetic, disposable pans so it can take a period of adjustment. Be patient - it’s worth it! Better performance, non-toxic, healthy and sustainable.
There are a number of variables which can affect your how your pan and seasoning is performing as outlined below, but it usually comes down to two key factors: heat control and fats.
Here are the most common reasons food may stick:
If you’ve had a thorough read through all of our instructions and are still struggling, please send us an email, explaining the issues you’re having, along with some photos, and we’d be happy to guide you through it: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't worry if your pan doesn't look perfectly black and shiny. Whilst a shiny black patina is achievable through continued seasoning and maintenance, it's really not necessary! In reality, pans will often be patchy. Your seasoning will continue to change and evolve depending on what/how you cook. Don't worry about how they look, our pans are built for performance! Here's a photo of our founder Mark Henry's workhorse pans. They may not look 'pretty', but they still perform excellently!
Iron rusts because of a chemical reaction known as oxidation. When iron is exposed to moisture or oxygen, oxidation occurs. In order to avoid rust, ensure your pan is well seasoned all over (through oven seasoning) and keep your pan dry when not in use.
Iron is susceptible to rust, especially if not sufficiently seasoned, has been left sitting unused for long periods of time (particularly in humid climates), or not dried properly after use. But don’t worry, it’s only superficial rust and easy to fix!
To remedy, simply scrub off the rust with a scrubbing brush/steel wool/fine sandpaper. Using baking soda or vinegar may help with stubborn rust. Follow up with further seasoning to ensure your pan has a good base to protect from corrosion, and make sure you dry your pan thoroughly after each use – ideally on a warm stovetop.
Rough patches are carbonised food that acts like velcro to food. The surface must be smooth. Use a strong scraper to remove and smooth the surface, then follow up with a quick stovetop season per the video below or just continue cooking with fats and oils and let it build naturally.
There are a few things that can strip seasoning; most commonly the culprit is cooking acidic foods and/or liquid boiling - like tomatoes or tomato-based dishes, stews, curries, soups. Another culprit can be soaps or detergents.
We understand how disappointing it can be after all that hard work building it up, but the beauty of seasoned iron is it’s forever renewable! Some more stovetop seasoning and cooking with plenty of fats and oils, should have you back to where you were in no time.
Whilst it’s perfectly normal and fine to cook liquids and acidic foods in your AUS-ION pans, the best practice while the seasoning is young is to avoid them if you want to maintain your seasoning. If you’re wanting to cook crepes in the morning and curry in the evening, it’d be best to consider two pans - one with solid seasoning for all things nonstick, and the other for everyday curries, sauces etc. We recommend our nöni™ range for acidic foods and liquid boiling as it does not require seasoning.
For our best practice iron care instructions, click here.
Black specks are most often caused by food left on the pan, or weak seasoning, caused either by not cleaning thoroughly (you may occasionally need to give the pan a light scrub) or applying oil to your pan once dry (in between cooks - this can weaken your seasoning).
To remedy this, give your pan a good light scrub. This is not about removing seasoning, just the excess build-up. You can scrub with a scourer or even consider using salt and a splash of oil. The salt acts as an exfoliant. Rinse under hot water, and repeat if necessary. From there with a quick stovetop season per the video below or have a good cook up using fats/oils will form a clean solid smooth surface.
Black residue on your cloth, paper towel and/or on your eggs?
This is charred (greasy) food sticking to the seasoned oil.
Is it normal:
Yes if you keep doing what you're doing (we recommend you change your process slightly).
Hot water alone won't perfectly remove burnt solids in grease, so hot water with no exfoliant can leave build-up on your pan.
After you finish cooking and while the pan is somewhat hot, put a heap of salt in the middle and with a paper-towel spread and lightly scrub the pan. The salt will pick up the would-be black stuff, largely disinfect the pan, and the abrasive properties of the salt help with the cleaning.
Wipe off the now brown salt from the pan, rinse under hot water if required and dry overheat and apply a coat of oil. The new coat will stick better through the salt's abrasive effect.
This routine may not eliminate the residue altogether. Though it works great long term and keeps the build-up of carbon at bay.
Our pans are made from a single, uniform sheet of iron, and therefore not possible to have hot spots. What does vary greatly is the heat output of stovetops.
Make sure the element is well matched to the size of the pan, as a small burner with a large pan will result in a concentration of heat in the centre. Always begin with low heat, to allow the pan time to heat slowly and disperse the heat, to achieve a more even heat.
There is no hard and fast rule about how many times a pan should be seasoned. We recommend at least one oven seasoning for all over corrosion protection (ideally a few more if you’re able), followed by some stovetop seasoning to kick start your natural, non-toxic, low stick surface. Cook with plenty of fats and oils, and avoid acidic foods while your seasoning is young, and your seasoning will continue to build and improve the overtime.
Some ‘seasoned’ iron cooks choose not to season at all and just let it build up naturally through cooking. It’s really up to you!
Don't worry, it takes a lot more than a dishwasher to ruin our pans! Just follow our rust removal instructions above to bring your pan back to a cook-ready state. And remember, iron pans and wet/humid environments do not mix well. Simply clean with hot running water, and dry immediately.
Unlike synthetic non-stick coatings, you can use any utensils on our AUS-ION cookware! Metal, woods, plastic, silicon. You don’t need to worry about scratching a synthetic coating again.
There is no difference between our pans and all iron pans in terms of iron migration. They would all transfer similar amounts of iron under similar conditions. We’re not biochemists, but there have been quite detailed studies into the migration of iron from iron pans into food, and the effect is significant for bare iron with acidic foods, through to quite minimal for well-seasoned pans and fatty foods. We recommend further research for anyone who is in need of more iron or looking to avoid it.
Preheat: Before the food is placed in the pan, ensure it is preheated to the correct temperature (remember, you don’t need a high stovetop heat to get a hot iron pan, iron is very conductive). Many newcomers don't allow enough time for pan/oil to come up to heat, and this often causes sticking. After several generations of synthetic nonstick, most home cooks have been trained to use far too low a heat to properly sear meats, generally stewing the juices out at low temperature instead. Match your pan size to burner size as closely as possible. Avoid fast high power in small burners, especially induction, with pans of much larger base size: the concentration of heat in the centre can warp the pan unduly.
Meat: Meat tends to stick when the temperature of the pan is too low so a 'crust' is unable to form, and/or if meat is too cold (meat should always be brought to room temperature before frying). You don't need a high heat setting to get a hot pan. Choose a lower setting and wait a bit longer until you understand the relationship between your pan and the heat setting of your particular stovetop. Our pans can handle hot temperatures, though it's important to let the pan slowly preheat as exposing a cold pan to high, instant heat can cause thermal shock.
Don't attempt to move the meat too quickly - let it form a crust. Give it a little jiggle with tongs when you think it might be ready, and if it moves easily you can then lift it to check properly. If it's still stuck firm, don't move it! All this becomes much more intuitive with practice.
Do it like the chefs: quickly sear room temperature meat to seal and brown (at which point the meat will naturally release from the pan when lifted), then transfer the pan to the oven to finish baking and retain the juices. A hot, well-seasoned pan doesn't need much oil, because it quickly caramelises and seals the surface. Coarse salt/pepper dry rub helps: see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ggiONseXig and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=987wOx8HXzo
Bacon: some bacon has a high sugar content and that's what causes gumming and sticking. Because iron cooking isn't so well known in Australia, there are lots of answers on USA forums and groups and one of the good answers we recommend is this: http://www.permies.com/t/12218/cooking/Cooking-bacon-cast-iron-skillet
Fish: Fish is delicate and tends to only require cooking over low heat on most stovetops. You will, however, need to get your pan hot first, heat it on medium and test its temperature by carefully moving your hand over the bottom of the pan. When you can feel it radiating heat, that’s a tell-tale sign it’s ready to cook in. Add your fat, and at this stage, you may want to turn your heat down, add your fish. Let your fish cook, and the skin crisp until the pan releases it. If it's sticking, it's not quite ready to flip.
As our pans are highly conductive, it comes down to good fat and heat control and a little trial and error to find your sweet spot as all stovetops vary, and disperse heat differently.
Eggs: Conversely, eggs often stick when cooked at too high heat and/or for too long. Butter/oil should be used generously. Use a well-seasoned pan on low temperature for scrambled eggs and scrape around the whole pan gently toward the middle to avoid sticking and burning. See this video for the fail-safe scrambies formed-iron and cast-iron method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_5rdQjN0kg .
Potatoes: If your seasoning is young, it might struggle to manage starch without adding more fat. Potatoes sticking is fairly normal on iron unless it is very well seasoned/cooked on, more fat is used and/or very little starch is present. We do also have to resist moving our food too quickly and just allow the food to form a crust that releases the food from the pan.
If you don't have a gas cooktop, it can be difficult to achieve uniform seasoning all over your wok, as there is only a small surface in direct contact with the heat source. We recommend at least four rounds of oven seasoning for corrosion protection. Stovetop seasoning will then help you build a non-stick surface on the base of your wok, but it's unlikely you'll achieve the same seasoning on the sides. But it's no big deal! In reality, pans are often patchy - this will not affect their performance. Just get cooking! Use plenty of fats/oils, and let it build naturally as has been done for thousands of years. Ensure you dry your wok thoroughly after washing and if you do encounter any surface rust from time to time, just give it a scrub to remove and re-season in the oven or simply cook a meal with plenty of fats/oils!
It's best not to overthink it, and don't worry about how they look. Just cook, and give it a touch-up seasoning if/when required. Here's a photo of one of our team member's woks - perfectly patchy!
Our pans are designed to fit in standard 600mm ovens, however, internal dimensions of ovens can vary significantly between brands. Our full product dimensions and specifications are provided in our product listings, and we always recommend measuring your oven first. In saying that, there is a handy trick! Try spinning your pan around, so the handle is facing a back corner. This often creates enough space to enable you to shut the oven door.
As for oven seasoning, the pan does not need to sit flat. If needed, it can be propped up against a side in order to make it fit. The most important thing is that the pan is upside down.
Our noni 31cm Sauteuse in a standard 600mm oven, and 30cm AUS-ION upside down for seasoning. The oven door will not shut if the handle is sticking outwards, though spin it around so the handle is in the back corner and it fits perfectly!
You can deodourise your pan by either heating your empty pan over low to medium heat on the stovetop for 15 minutes, or heating in a 250°C oven for 10 minutes.
Both methods will work equally well at eliminating odours. The oven method is fast and doesn’t add an undesired smell to your kitchen if your fish odour is particularly strong.
Alternatively, the below methods also work. The oven and stovetop heating methods above will not erode your seasoning whereas the below methods may:
If you get 'stuck' (so to speak), and still haven't found what you’re looking for, please email us for one-on-one help from our awesome Solid service team. email@example.com
Remember: Seasoned iron is forever renewable. It's a marathon, not a sprint.
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