The other day, as I was cleaning my dutch ovens, I realized that one of them was loosing its patina.
For those that are new to dutch oven cooking, the "patina" is that deep, rich black coating that builds up on a dutch oven over time. it keeps the iron from rusting, and keeps the food from sticking. I'm dead serious when I say that a well-seasoned dutch oven is a better non-stick pan than most teflon.
The patina is made from carbonized oils. The heat bakes layer after layer of carbonized oil into the pores of the iron. I've also read that it makes for better heat transfer from the pot to the food.
But for some reason, the patina on this particular dutch oven was flaking off. That's a bit of a problem, but not too much. See, if the teflon flakes off of your skillet, you throw it away or give it to the Goodwill. If the patina flakes off your cast iron, you just remake it.
So, that's what I'd decided to do. Now,I wrote about this a while back, but I didn't have any pictures. So, I made sure that I took some this time.
Here are a couple of shots of what it looked like before:
And this is what it looked like during the process:
And here is my end result:
It occured to me as I was seasoning the oven and thinking about writing this blog post that one of the reasons why the oven needs more seasoning is because of the way that I put my ovens away. I've heard of a lot of different ways of cleaning and storing the dutch ovens.
My method is to scrape out the food (not too difficult, since it's so non-stick), then spray it off with very hot water. I'll sometimes scrub with a plastic-bristle brush. I'll wipe it off with paper towels. Then, while it's still somewhat hot, I'll spread a ery vthin layer of oil (usually canola), over the whole surface, and put it away.
I've heard of ovens going rancid with the oil, but then that's usually because of longer term storage, and I'm using these things like every other week, some of them weekly or even twice a week.
I've heard of people cleaning them out and then reheating them. I even saw one friend of mine scrub his out with salt granules. I was amazed to see that it worked really well!
What do you do? How do you clean and put away your ovens? Help me out, here...