How do you season a sheet steel pan?
Sheet steel pans such as those made by De Buyer are inexpensive and last a lifetime. Great is the non-stick coating you apply and, if necessary, fix yourself. Before you start using your De Buyer pan you need to apply the non-stick coating, this process is called seasoning. This isn’t difficult, it will, however, take you a little bit of time. You add a bit of effort and get a lot in return!
Bring it on: oil in the pan
Pour a couple drops of oil in the pan. Peanut or sunflower oil is best. Spread out the oil with a paper towel and cover the insides of the pan. Make sure you don’t forget the edges! The thinner the layer the better. It is better to apply ten thin layers than one that is too thick.
Oil and fire don’t mix well. So be careful when you apply the oil. Don’t let any of it fall outside of the pan because when you add a gas flame to the pan it could catch fire.
Fire in the hole!
The time has come to add the heat. Start out with a medium flame but the moment the pan has gotten really hot you can take it up a notch. The aim is to let the oil become so hot it will start to smoke. When it starts to smoke keep the heat up. After all, the goal is to end up with a black pan. Don’t forget to turn on your hood: this part of the process might smell a bit.
Let it smoke for a couple of minutes and you will notice that the pan will dry up. If it has turn off the heat. Now leave it to cool for fifteen minutes (or longer). Afterwards clean it with a brush and some hot water. Never use detergent! Never! When you are done cleaning the pan dry it with a towel.
Once again rub some oil on the insides of the pan and heat it until the oil has dried. Repeat this process until the pan turns black. After about five times you will notice that you are nearly, but not quite yet, there. Your meat will stick to the surface of the pan and will need a minute to release itself, however, afterwards the pan will be great! After approximately ten times you will have reached the best results. The blacker the pan the better the non-stick coating.
De Buyer indicated that the non-stick coating will become even better when you, (especially at first) bake a lot of red meat. When you do the non-stick coating will become even more stable.
In the video below you can see how to season a sheet steel pan (starting at 1:10).
It is also possible to season a pan in the oven. Place the pan bottom up on the second grill with a piece of aluminium foil on the first grill below for the excess oil. Let the pan season for an hour at the temperature at which the oil evaporates. This is usually around 200 degrees Celsius, but depends on the oil used. We recommend an oil with a high smoke point. After this, let the pan cool down. Repeat this process 1 to 2 times.
Watch out for acids
When you cook using acidic foods they can damage the seasoning. Think of white wine, tomato (sauce) and lemon. After preparing your dish you will notice lighter stains in the coating of your pan. Simply season your pan again and your non-stick coating will be good as new. No Teflon coating can compete with that!