I love these pans… I have the 32 cm and 24 cm and they are quite simply two of my favourite things. Since leaving home, I had like many others around the world I’m sure, followed ‘commes de mouton’ (like sheep) the advice that ‘non-stick’ was the best choice for a frying pan. I guess people are deterred by the over-exaggerated level of care required to own and use a steel pan but I’ve found that the little bit of extra care and diligence is well worth it. Using a ‘proper’ frying pan and learning how to use it properly has improved my cooking ten fold. In fact I’ve found a new love for cooking now that my attempts result in more successes than failures.
A steel pan requires ‘seasoning’, a process of coating and sealing the steel with oil which creates a natural non-stick surface and protects the pan against oxidation, stopping rust and damage to the cooking surface. To be clear, the oil polymerizes into a thin, solid, plastic-like film over the surface of the porous steel. When the pan is heated, the film remains in-tact and creates the lovely non-stick properties that you so often see on pans in the hands of celebrity chefs. The trick to using a well seasoned pan is ensuring that when ready to cook, you add oil and heat it until very hot, but not smoking, before adding your food.
Here is some information about seasoning and cleaning a steal pan:
To begin, clean the new pan, removing waxes or other packing or protective residues on the cooking surface. The De Buyer Mineral B pan is coated with bees wax and to remove this we heat it up; add boiling water, boil for a couple of minutes, empty the water; sponge it with dish washing liquid; wipe out with paper towel. Repeat if necessary.
Seasoning: Cover the bottom of the pan with a couple millimeters of oil and using you fingers run some of the oil around the sides of the pan up to the rim. We use sunflower oil for this but you can use any oil with a high smoke point. Peanut, canola, vegetable, they will all do the job. Heat the oil on high heat until the oil starts to smoke. Remove from heat, pour out excess oil and let it cool. When the pan is completely cool, wipe the pan evenly with paper towel and the seasoning process is complete.
Cleaning: The trick to cleaning is to add very hot water to the very hot pan after cooking, rest it for a few seconds, empty the water and then wipe with paper towel. You can clean the pan with a sponge and small amount of liquid soap but you must be careful not to scrub away the seasoning. Also, it is not a good idea to put your pan in the dishwasher or to leave the pan to soak in a sink. In both instances you will encourage rust and if done repeatedly over a long period of time it will create pits in the steel.
If I am not going to use the pan for two or more days, I give the pan a light coat in oil for storage, this gives it extra protection against rust.