Some Cast Iron Basic’s

The Basics

A few simple guidelines can help ease the learning curve for the new user of cast iron cookware:

Preheating your cast iron skillet in the oven will prevent the centre hot spot which can occur when simply preheating on a burner. When a very hot pan is required, this method is preferred as it avoids the kind of damage which can occur to an empty pan over a very hot burner. If you must preheat to high over a burner, start low and increase the heat in increments a few minutes apart.

A long as you add heat energy, cast iron will continue to get hotter. A pan heated to high for searing or frying should have the heat reduced to medium during cooking to avoid overcooking, burning or sticking.

Cast iron reacts slowly to cooking temperature changes; raising or reducing burner or oven temp will not have an immediate effect. Learning to anticipate when critical temperature changes will be necessary is therefore a valuable part of variable temperature cooking in cast iron.

When increasing from low to medium, one technique is to first set the burner to high for a short interval in order to add heat more quickly, and then back it down to medium.

When needing to lower cooking temp, remove the pan from the burner altogether for an interval before returning it to the burner reduced to the desired lower setting. Or consider using two pans, one warm and one hot, for temperature critical situations, and move the food between them.

Newly refurbished, manually seasoned pans will not yet possess their best non-stick properties; use a little extra oil or butter for the first several cooks.

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