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Author Topic: What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?  (Read 11358 times)

Offline Geezer

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« on: 09/09/2010 19:07:32 »
Why is it that a cast iron frying pan sticks to food when it's clean, but hardly sticks at all when it's got a layer of bacon grease burned on it?


 

Offline tommya300

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #1 on: 10/09/2010 04:04:12 »
Cast iron is a very porous material, permitting anything to fill in the voids.
New cast iron pans, as you all ready know, needs the voids to be sealed to prevent anything to fill them and avoid oxidation.
Rusty eggs taste yucky ducky.
Lard or bacon fats are used to fill these voids and are burned in to make a natural carbon seal, almost permanent, depending how they are cared for in future uses. The more the seasoning process the thicker the better the seal. Now there is no voids for anything to stick to. 
Vegetable oils are not recommended because they leave a sticky or tacky residue

Unseasoned pan
.


.
Seasoned Pan
.

« Last Edit: 10/09/2010 04:18:29 by tommya300 »
 

Offline DoryT

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #2 on: 10/09/2010 05:50:28 »
Excellent explanation, Tommy, I'll make myself an omelet proud of my new knowledge.
 

Offline Geezer

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #3 on: 10/09/2010 06:10:15 »
Thanks Tommy. The carbon doesn't form any sort of alloy with the iron on the surface then?
 

Offline lightarrow

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #4 on: 10/09/2010 10:49:39 »
Thanks Tommy. The carbon doesn't form any sort of alloy with the iron on the surface then?
The temperature should be very high for this to happen, but certainly a bit of diffusion of the carbon into the iron, helps to stick the two, I presume.
 

Offline tommya300

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #5 on: 10/09/2010 13:19:41 »
.
Thanks Tommy. The carbon doesn't form any sort of alloy with the iron on the surface then?

Geezer, I am not a metallurgist, but I think to make an alloy two metals or a metal and another element needs to blend and fuse together.  I think that is temperature dependent, bringing the temperature of the metal up to sort of red to white hot. I do not believe this can be done in the kitchen.
 The local horse shoe Black Smith can forge you a pan, using different elements and compounds, but that would not be casTed iron.

 Seasoning cast iron pan, the recommended temperature is about 500 deg F.
That is the preheat temperature of a kitchen oven or a good outdoor grill.
I do not think the cooking fire is hot enough to fuse metal to make an alloy, at least cast iron.

Otherwise, after substantial seasoning, the cast iron pan would be dishwasher safe, and never need to be reasoning ever after, which we know that is not so.
That would be the big selling point, or maybe this would be done from the factory. 

I wonder why Teflon was never introduced on cast iron cookware??? ???

Better they didn't all natural, nothing like a freshly fried peppers, onions, provolone and hot Italian sausage on a long fresh toasted French bread stick. Done on seasoned cast iron.
 

Offline tommya300

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #6 on: 10/09/2010 13:34:21 »
Thanks Tommy. The carbon doesn't form any sort of alloy with the iron on the surface then?
The temperature should be very high for this to happen, but certainly a bit of diffusion of the carbon into the iron, helps to stick the two, I presume.

Well, think of it as being similar to but not exactly as;  baked enamel coating, baked ceramic coating, or baked powder coating. Adhering to the metal like an exclusive paint job.

If you believe this is anywhere close to a diffusion finish, see the criterial for it.

http://www.engineershandbook.com/MfgMethods/diffusioncoating.htm

That is hot! Well above cabonization of animal fat.
« Last Edit: 10/09/2010 13:45:30 by tommya300 »
 

Offline lightarrow

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #7 on: 10/09/2010 14:42:42 »
Probably I didn't express myself well: I'm talking of diffusion at atomic, microscopic level.
 

Offline tommya300

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #8 on: 10/09/2010 15:46:52 »
Probably I didn't express myself well: I'm talking of diffusion at atomic, microscopic level.
What else?
 

Offline tommya300

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #9 on: 10/09/2010 16:31:11 »
Excellent explanation, Tommy, I'll make myself an omelet proud of my new knowledge.
Excellent break l'egg, bono appatitto


.
http://www.planetizen.com/files/OMELETTE.jpg

 "Why cast iron?
A well-seasoned cast-iron pan is an excellent non-stick surface. Cast iron is known for its even heat-distribution and durability. In addition, cast iron is also especially complementary to eggs (which are a great source of iron) because a very small amount of iron leeches out of cast iron into the food cooked in it. The body uses iron to produce red-blood cells."

Quote
Block, copy, paste in address bar... Change the red Z in the url to an s for some unknown reason the site would not let me post the url with an s placed where the z is
it is only a reference to the quotation bars above...

http://hubpageZ.com/hub/Gourmet_Omelette_Recipe
« Last Edit: 10/09/2010 18:19:40 by tommya300 »
 

Offline tommya300

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #10 on: 10/09/2010 19:29:01 »
The ultimate use for cast iron cookery
A women's evening bed time serving, alleviating any immediate head ache, through diffusion or migration, being considerately silent enough not to disturb, to distribute the molecular structure evenly...
 Who said, "the only way to a bad boy's (man's)heart is through his stomach?"
 .


Men... Do you have anything in the house resembling that, in iron?
.

« Last Edit: 10/09/2010 22:31:40 by tommya300 »
 

Offline lightarrow

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #11 on: 10/09/2010 20:27:49 »
Probably I didn't express myself well: I'm talking of diffusion at atomic, microscopic level.
What else?
Exactly...
You have some diffusion. Not a macroscopic layer, that is, it will be confined in a very thin, atomic layer, but you will have it.
« Last Edit: 10/09/2010 20:29:34 by lightarrow »
 

Offline tommya300

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #12 on: 10/09/2010 20:41:30 »
Probably I didn't express myself well: I'm talking of diffusion at atomic, microscopic level.
What else?
Exactly...
You have some diffusion. Not a macroscopic layer, that is, it will be confined in a very thin, atomic layer, but you will have it.
If so it is to small to contribute to the bonding property at this level.
I can not dispute anything here since I can not find any support to that statement either way.
Is there any 3rd party writeup of creditable evidence, to support this. 


.
Thanks Tommy. The carbon doesn't form any sort of alloy with the iron on the surface then?
The temperature should be very high for this to happen, but certainly a bit of diffusion of the carbon into the iron, helps to stick the two, I presume.
I did find this...
http://library.thinkquest.org/27819/ch2_10.shtml

Unfortunately it does not relate to the cooking surface. Presumption is just that.
I did not give up on this still looking
 
« Last Edit: 10/09/2010 22:18:54 by tommya300 »
 

Offline lightarrow

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #13 on: 11/09/2010 13:07:42 »
Exactly...
You have some diffusion. Not a macroscopic layer, that is, it will be confined in a very thin, atomic layer, but you will have it.
If so it is to small to contribute to the bonding property at this level.
I can not dispute anything here since I can not find any support to that statement either way.
It is certainly very small, but it's possible that after a lot of use, that contribute is not negligible, who knows? I have a personal saying: "time is a very good catalyst"   ;)
 

Offline Geezer

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #14 on: 11/09/2010 19:17:28 »
Thanks all for answers!

I'm a recent convert to cooking on cast iron. One trick I've learned that seems to work is never to use soap or detergent to clean them. Really hot water and a scrubbing brush seems to work without destroying the anti-stick qualities of the carbon.

I bought a rectangular grilling plate a year or so ago. It only cost a few dollars. One side is flat and the other side is ribbed. I find it's great for cooking stuff on the outdoor grill.

Everybody that saw it wanted to get one too, so I went back to the store get more to give to friends and family. They don't sell them any more!  :(
 

Offline tommya300

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #15 on: 12/09/2010 02:37:26 »
Thanks all for answers!

I'm a recent convert to cooking on cast iron. One trick I've learned that seems to work is never to use soap or detergent to clean them. Really hot water and a scrubbing brush seems to work without destroying the anti-stick qualities of the carbon.

I bought a rectangular grilling plate a year or so ago. It only cost a few dollars. One side is flat and the other side is ribbed. I find it's great for cooking stuff on the outdoor grill.

Everybody that saw it wanted to get one too, so I went back to the store get more to give to friends and family. They don't sell them any more!  :(
.
I seen  the  cast iron combo grill and griddle located in WalMart they were in the pan section and I think they were 12 or 14 inch sq.
If not there look in the Sporting Goods, they even have Dutch ovens.
You know this thread got me resurrecting 18 inch Cast Iron skillet and I did some hot peppers whole in mix of olive and canola oil.
10 cloves of garlic and sliced bells and onion. Tomorrow I will do Hot  Italian rope sausage, wish  could have granma's homemade.

Way I have cleaned the skillet is with salt for an abrasive, it also is a good natural cleaning agent and hot water. Then after I learning to immediately pad dry and sit it on the gas stove flame until it is dry and flip it over to make sure it is all dry.
No soap! The carbon is still porous to the dish detergents an will break the bonds of the carbon to the iron making the carbon flake off.
.
 
« Last Edit: 12/09/2010 03:33:35 by tommya300 »
 

Offline Geezer

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #16 on: 12/09/2010 03:47:52 »
Ah! The one I have is from Harbor Freight. I think it cost me about four bucks! I should have bought a bunch of them at the time, but I didn't know if it would work well or not.

BTW - Walmart does sell really good cast iron frying pans. Amazingly, they are actually made in the USA.
 

Offline tommya300

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #17 on: 12/09/2010 09:36:43 »
$4.00 ???? what decade  was that?
If it is cast iron, you can't go wrong, with proper care, the best characteristics of a good cooking surface is even heat and low heat loss.
 Especially deep fryed chicken, best done outdoors
Does this look like your cookware?
             Oh, for 4 dollars you must have the model A. hahahohohehe.

http://images.harborfreight.com/manuals/44000-44999/44704.PDF

Ironic to have assembly instructions with a single part item. Haha
I do not agree with the seasoning instructions in the PDF
« Last Edit: 12/09/2010 09:38:51 by tommya300 »
 

Offline Geezer

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #18 on: 12/09/2010 17:48:39 »
Yep. That's the one.

It was only a couple of years ago. The main reason I bought it was because it was so cheap! They were probably just trying to unload them.
 

Offline tommya300

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #19 on: 16/09/2010 14:30:24 »
Non stick surface on cast iron, it is not correct. My frst post was partially wrong sorry Geezer...
The carbon is just to seal the surface to minimize oxidation and leaching into the food.
If you taste rust it the cookings, it it time to reseason.

What prevents sticking is the heat the pan lub the surface and then stike the meat in.
Otherwise any food put into a cold Cast iron pan prior to raising the temprature to the cooking temperature, will stick.
« Last Edit: 16/09/2010 14:34:32 by tommya300 »
 

Offline Geezer

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #20 on: 16/09/2010 18:13:20 »
Thanks Tommy. That's interesting.

I wonder if it's possible to put a carbon coating on other metals, like Al for example, to get the same effect. Maybe the carbon won't adhere the way it does with iron.
 

Offline tommya300

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #21 on: 16/09/2010 22:51:21 »
Thanks Tommy. That's interesting.

I wonder if it's possible to put a carbon coating on other metals, like Al for example, to get the same effect. Maybe the carbon won't adhere the way it does with iron.

You are welcome.
I see your point there, I have not seen any homestyle homemade coating process for aluminum cookware, like cast iron.
Since aluminum reacts to acidic foods, that would change the taste of the homemade tomato sauce, so I only boil water with it.
Anodized or teflon coated, even carbon steel has their place for certain cooking but the best, for what we are looking at, is the cast iron.
I sure like to see an egg "jurk pan flipped", like you see on the cooking shows, but in a cast iron skillet, single handed by a woman.
I bet from doing that, she can do more than just cook.
Toss bails of hey 30 feet in the air or be someones body guard or something.
« Last Edit: 16/09/2010 22:53:46 by tommya300 »
 

Offline yor_on

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
« Reply #22 on: 17/09/2010 11:11:55 »
It tastes better somehow when using a iron pan too, as well as you probably get some added iron in your food, which as we all know, is a good thing. Never liked Teflon, it gets scraped of and in the food, also it's no real feeling to those 'tools'.
 

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What makes a cast iron pan "non-stick"?
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