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I have a forged iron pan, and I used linseed oil to season it in the oven. The resulting seasoning peels in places. Also, it is not really non-stick, once food burns even a little, it is stuck to the seasoning irreversibly. I removed and renewed the seasoning 2-3 times, but it didn't get better.

Is forged iron harder to season than cast iron, or is it just bad seasoning technique? Also, is it easier or harder to season carbon steel when compared to cast iron or forged iron?

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Describe your seasoning technique :-) –  BaffledCook Jun 17 '12 at 19:38
    
I kept it short on purpose, because I don't think the difference in seasoning the three materials using a proper technique (if this difference exists) shouldn't depend on whatever I did to my pan. –  rumtscho Jun 17 '12 at 19:49
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From what I understand of metallurgy, cast iron is far more porous than forged. Those pores are supposed to help with seasoning by absorbing the oils that later get rendered into a polymer. Maybe those pores also help the pan to "grip" the seasoning layer that gets stripped off your forged iron pans more easily. –  Eric Hu Aug 11 '12 at 2:51
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4 Answers

I can't speak authoritatively, but I do have all three types and have had good luck with my seasonings, so I'll share what I do.

For cast iron, I use solid vegetable fat exclusively (Crisco). I did the original seasoning by coating it in fat and baking in the oven. To clean it, I use salt, Crisco and a paper towel to get any food bits off. I then get the pan hot and wipe it down with a little more Crisco. It's not PTFE nonstick, but pretty good.

For my forged iron DeBuyer fry pan, I followed the manufacturer's recommendation for initial seasoning: put enough oil in the pan (I use canola) to coat the bottom. Heat to smoking. I swirled the hot oil around to coat the sides a bit. Let it cool, pour and wipe out the oil.

The thing I've found is it takes quite a bit of use to develop the seasoning. Here's a picture after about a month's use - note how dark the sides are getting (the bottom is less dark because I learned a green scrubby pad (Scotch-Brite) will remove the seasoning entirely. Oops!).

Pan

I did some scrambled eggs for the sake of science, without adding any extra oil to the pan. They behaved as nicely as any PTFE coated pan I've ever used.

enter image description here

Today the entire bottom of the pan is that rich mahogany color, and a fried egg slides around in it like one of those goofy AS SEEN ON TV ads.

EDIT: Used the pan for over easy eggs this morning and snapped a new picture. This is about 3 months after the last photo.

enter image description here

Normally I can just wipe it out with a paper towel. If I've been cooking bacon or something that left residue, I'll run water into the pan while it's still ripping hot, then wipe it out gently with a sponge.

After that I heat the pan up and add just a tiny bit of canola oil. I wipe the oil around with a paper towel and put the pan away.

For carbon steel--like my wok--I treat it exactly the same as the DeBuyer pan. Clean gently, after each use get the pan ripping hot and wipe it down with some oil.

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I found canola oil makes for a sticky coating. I have had better luck using peanut oil for seasoning the pan and to apply after each use. –  Ryan Anderson Nov 28 '12 at 14:22
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The first answer works, but I see some hate for linseed oil. Here is my response to that.

There are two types of linseed oil, you want the food grade (unless you like eating food that tastes like great works of art!). Here is an article that explains the science behind seasoning. Nutshell: You want an oil that will polymerize well without burning too much.

There are a lot of source links in there as well, so you can read as much or little as you want. I haven't had a lot of time to try it yet, but I have some free time next week and may give it a try and post my results here.

If that is a bit too involved, crisco works well for cast iron, and my carbon steel wok is just seasoned from years of use, mostly peanut and/or canola oil with some spicy and sesame oil mixed in. I give them a quick scrub with a plastic brush after each use, rinse, wipe down, and store.

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Don't use linseed oil. Select a food grade cooking oil, that you would usually use in cooking.

As far as metal, I believe cast iron got popular because it holds it's shape, and low in price.

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Sorry, but I don't see how this answers the question. Linseed oil is a food grade cooking oil. There are enough articles recommending it for seasoning due to its chemical properties (PUFA) that it must work. Also, I wasn't asking why cast iron is popular, but what are the seasoning-relevant differences between cast iron and forged iron. –  rumtscho Sep 19 '12 at 13:50
    
Sorry, I must have been thinking of boiled linseed oil. –  Optionparty Sep 19 '12 at 16:48
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My understanding is that you should always use an animal fat to cure iron pans. I don't entirely understand the chemistry behind it, but using veggie oil will lead to a sticky cure that doesn't hold well. Also, make sure you're heating up your pan a smidge before you add the lard/chicken fat/tallow/whatever.

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I have read on the chemistry of it since I posted the question and have found that indeed a PUFA-oil layer directly at the metal and a saturated fat layer above it works great. (PUFAs are sticky). But still, this doesn't answer my question, as I asked about the difference between pan materials, not between seasoning oil types. –  rumtscho Oct 4 '12 at 10:59
    
I always use vegetable based oils to season my cast iron and have had no problems. –  lemontwist Oct 5 '12 at 16:33
    
I have had good luck using peanut oil - will make a nice non-stick finish. Canola oil seems to make the pan sticky. –  Ryan Anderson Nov 7 '12 at 14:55
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