Thursday, March 10, 2016

Cabin Cooking: Reseasoning a Cast Iron Dutch Oven

I wanted to use my cast iron Dutch oven to bake bread, but when I got it out winter moisture had given it a coat of rust. I knew it was time to reseason.

I found The Irreplaceable Cast Iron Pans. This website has excellent recommendations for seasoning and using cast iron pots and pans.

Instead of steel wool, I used SOS pads. They're made from steel wool and soap.

Hot water and strong scrubbing came next. The outside of the pot was the worst. Fortunately, the inside wasn't affected. All it needed was a gentle cleaning. When the SOS pads didn't remove all of the rust, I went to wet fine grit sandpaper.

When the rust was removed, I washed the pot and lid with warm sudsy water and dried it thoroughly in the oven under pilot heat.

The next step was to lightly oil the pot and lid inside and out. I used Canola oil. They then went onto separate racks in a 450 degree oven for thirty minutes. After cooling in the oven, I repeated the oiling and baking process.

You can use aluminum foil to protect you oven (I didn't need any) and expect some smoking and odour during heating.

Reseasoned cast iron Dutch oven ready for baking bread.

Now I have a clean, well seasoned cast iron Dutch oven ready for baking. I'll use it more and keep a better eye on it in the future.

Do you have cast iron pots and pans?  What are your favourite uses? -- Margy

14 comments:

  1. I never thought of sandpaper! I've scrubbed cast iron with SOS and heavy-duty steel wool until my wrists gave out and I gave up. Next time, I'll break out the sandpaper first.

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    1. I only had the SOS pads at the cabin and no regular steel wool, so I just had to grab what was on hand. - Margy

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  2. You are such a busy woman! Good for you!

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    1. Just sounds that way, I send a lot of time reading too. - Margy

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  3. Thanks for the tip to use sandpaper.

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    1. It just seemed logical. This was the first time I tried it, and it helped get that heavy rust off. - Margy

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  4. Hi Margy, any chance of you finishing this story and telling how you use the dutch oven for bread making. I have one and know how to use it over an open fire and it cooks really well there but I have never used it inside. Do you use it on the stove top or right in your oven? btw out here in Aus. they are called "camp ovens" and not "Dutch ovens"

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    1. I can see why they would be called camp ovens, especially if used over coals. Because I live in a float cabin, having fire on the deck is hazardous, so I use my indoors. It is a flat bottom model so you couldn't put coals under it easily, but it does have a lid that could accept coals if that was possible for me to do (not). I've used in on top of the woodstove (check out Woodstove Cooking in the sidebar), on top of my propane kitchen stove and in the oven. I've only used it for baking cakes and breads so far. Come back next Thursday and I'll have the recipe for the no-knead sourdough bread that I made in the Dutch oven after it got reseasoned. Thanks for asking for more. - Margy

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  5. I was about to ask the same as Mick, so I will look forward to your recipe especially as my hands aren't not any good for kneading these days xxx

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    1. I'm not the world's best bread maker (yet), but I have to say this recipe was very easy (but took a long time for the sourdough to work) and created the best tasting and moist/airy bread I've ever made. I just hope the next loaf comes out the same. Consistency is on of my problems. - Margy

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  6. Margy once published on her sour dough yeast she'd made. I would search for it and use it. I did and my sour dough bread comes out real great. Plus you have all the fun making your own yeast.

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    1. Can you share your recipe? I love trying new ones to get better results. - Margy

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    3. My sourdough bread recipe is almost exactly the same as the one you wrote in this article.

      Where we might also differ is I just make a single bread/yeast recipe over and over again. I do a one-time kneading rather than a no-knead approach. Its an obsessive trait I don't like to admit to, but like you I am trying to get better consistency/repeatability without using any more aides. Now after 3 years I'm getting good. I just have to protect the cup I use to measure everything and don't vary the flour I use (mine comes from a miller in Maastricht, is stone ground wheat flour).

      On yeast I just do what almost everyone does, fermented cups of flour and water. Regular feeding and a day before bread making pep it to get it nice and active. Tons of recipes on the internet and almost all basically the same. I just chose the most old-fashioned one I could find. One so simple I don't need a recipe to guide me.

      Where you and I might yeast-differ is I think you'd said you use boiled potato water (more starch, nice potato-y flavour) whilst I just use tap water.

      Where I might also have a bias is not to use any bought yeast. Nothing wrong at all with purchased yeast and indeed it will probably be far superior to your own-made yeast. But I've had endless fun trying this and that growing yeast. Because its a long-term day-by-day process I've had fun coaxing it all along to be the best rising agent I could make.

      Its not all positive however; people will move away from you if you talk about yeast making at parties.

      But by far the best I ever made was arm-pit yeast with my grandchildren. Didn't rise much but talk about giggle extracting the yeast enzymes......

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