Fry pans find a home in every kitchen operation from restaurants to cafeterias. Raw iron pans typically need to be adequately seasoned before cooking with them; otherwise, food can stick and, the pans can rust. Over the years there have been numerous methods used in terms of oils and techniques.
Vollrath’s Chef Rich knows the numerous ways out there, and most recently many foodservice operations are using flaxseed oil on a stovetop to season a carbon steel fry pan.
Why Flaxseed Oil?
Flaxseed oil is an excellent choice to season pans with because it is very high in Omega-3 fatty acids.
“The acid, when it reaches its smoke point change and polymerize and then further cross-link and bond to the surface of the pan,” Chef Rich said. “And that’s what begins to form our seasoned coating.”
It is essential not to rush the fry pan seasoning process. It requires the time and use of multiple coats of very thin oil, avoiding drips and runs.
The Coating Process
With the seasoning process being so crucial for fry pans, Vollrath’s “Fry Pan Seasoning” video can serve as a great tool to learn the dos and don’ts of seasoning. In this example, the pan is ready after the process has been completed 11 times, and creates a very hard, smooth and durable surface (photo below).
When the process is rushed, and too much oil is used, the pan will be splotchy and have a “gummy” feel, as Chef Rich explained. Rushing the seasoning process will make the fry pan less durable and sticky.
Cleaning and Maintaining Fry Pans
When cleaning and maintaining a seasoned fry pan, Chef Rich instructs to wash out in a pot/pan sink with some water.
“A little soap, nothing too abrasive and certainly not any scouring pads,” he said. “You want to keep that surface very smooth.”
If fry pans need to be seasoned again later down the road, they can be brought back to their original state by using a little bit of oven cleaner, scouring it clean, and repeating the seasoning process with light coats of oil.
Cody Bell is a content specialist with Central Restaurant Products. With over 7 years of experience in the foodservice industry, Cody has developed knowledge on topics from all aspects of commercial foodservice, from the front of the house to back of the house. He is a NAFEM Certified Foodservice Professional. In his free time, Cody likes to spend time with his wife and puppy.