A lot of people love cast iron skillets because they know that they will last. They are also an easy to use tool that can make any meal or task more enjoyable. While most people agree that cast iron is great, some may not feel that it is your average skillet.
Some say that cast iron burn too hot which makes cooking with it difficult. Others worry about burning things like potatoes or pasta in the pan when using it at its hottest setting. Some believe that cast iron gets too hot very quickly which would be frustrating if you were trying to cook something really fresh.
Many people do not know what temperature their favorite cast iron pan actually cooks foods at! This could either mean that they find that it does not heat up enough for whatever they are making or it over heats so much that their food is burnt. If this sounds like you then it is time to research your favorite pan and learn how to use it.
There are many different types of cast iron pans out there- from sizzlers to oven-roasters to grillers. No matter what kind you have already it is important to know how to take care of it. Because cast iron loves to hold onto moisture, leaving the handle dry can cause the surface to rust and stick. Make sure to always wash and clean your pan properly!
This article will talk about one of our favorites–the 10 inch wide ribbed bakeware frypan.
Why are cast iron pans so popular?
There is a reason that most of us have a few good pieces in our cooking arsenal that we keep close at hand – they work! That includes cookware, like skillets and grill/sear plates. The quality of steel used to make this pan food grade means it will not break down or burn easily.
Cast iron also conducts heat well and retains its temperature very efficiently, which is why many people use them for baking as well. This versatility is what makes these tools so powerful!
There are some drawbacks to using a cast iron skillet though. Since they take longer to warm up than other materials, they may require repeated efforts to get hot enough for your culinary needs.
That’s why it’s important to let any cold cast iron sit out while warming up. Once it gets warm, you can roll it around in some olive oil to help create more traction and facilitate faster heating.
Pros and cons of cast iron pans
While some may think that stockpiled iron is only for grill masters, there are actually many great uses for them! Having a variety of cookware in various thicknesses allows you to make sure your food gets cooked thoroughly and tastes as good as possible.
Cast iron is not totally without risk when used correctly, but being a seasoned material, it’s very sturdy and can help ensure the best quality cooking every time. When buying a new pan, be careful not to go too thin or thick with each side (a half-inch gap is ideal) and check that it seems solid and tight.
As with any type of heavy pottery, remember to use care when washing and drying. Never scratch or scrape the surface, as this could cause permanent damage to the metal. Also, never dry heat a newly washed pan as this could result in rusting or burning.
How to properly heat a cast iron pan
When heating a cast iron cookware item in the oven, there is an important thing to know!
The temperature of the pan can become very hot. Very hot enough that it may actually burn your food or even hurt you slightly if you touch the metal surface.
So how hot is too hot? We cannot tell you that for sure because we are not professional bakers or cooks. What we can say though is that any color changes you notice when baking with the cookware should be considered changing texture and therefore price-worthy.
As you probably already know, browned bits left in the cooked foods taste good and give some flavor to what you’re eating! If you have to take extra time to make the baked goods soft and fluffy due to a charred crust, then they will likely not get eaten all of them.
There are three main ways to bake with a cast iron skillet: broil mode, toast mode, and dry fry. It is best to learn which one is appropriate for what kind of recipes before experimenting.
When should I oil my pan?
Oiling your cast iron skillet is an easy way to keep it in great condition. However, there are some rules about when you need to do this!
It is best to only use hot water as the cooking medium unless the pan already has some natural oils in it. If that is not the case then using melted butter or vegetable oil will also work.
Regularly rubbing leftover bits of food into the pan can cause the oils to seep out and burn off. This would potentially leave your cookware very thin which may result in burnt edges or even chunks of metal coming away.
So, make sure to scrape all of the ingredients together properly and don’t overdo it! Only add enough so that it mixes with the pan slightly and does not run down onto another surface.
Once everything is used up, rinse the pan under cold running water and let air dry completely before storing or reusing.
How to care for a cast iron pan
When baking with a new cast iron skillet, make sure you have adequate cooking utensils! You will need a good quality frying pan like a grill or nonstick fryer that is sturdy enough to take full use of all your cookware.
Another important piece is a metal spatula, which can be used in several ways. For example, it can be used to scrape cooked food off the pan, spread butter or other toppings onto the newly made toast, or even turn the bread into sandwiches!
Never wash a cast iron pan using water. Only use soapy water or melted fat to clean it. If there are burnt bits in the pan, add some soft oil and heat until the oil bubbles slightly before rubbing in the acid-safe cleaning solution.
How to bake in a cast iron pan
When baking with a new cookware item, it is important to know how to use your cookware properly! Baking with an iron skillet comes with its own set of rules that differ slightly from other types of skillets.
Most importantly, make sure to never put your pan in the oven hot! This could cause burning or even shattering of the pan. To ensure good baked goods, wait until the temperature of the pan drops to warm before putting the dough into the fryer or stove top burner area.
When bringing your iron pan out of the refrigerator, leave it there for at least one hour so it can fully heat up and reach its optimal cooking temperature.
Once it has cooled down enough to handle, wash and dry your pan thoroughly! Don’t forget to scrape off any dried batter, melted chocolate, or butter that may have stuck onto the pan.
Tips for cooking in a cast iron pan
When baking, roasting or toasting foods in a cast iron skillet, how hot your pan gets depends mostly on two things: how long you cook it and what kind of food you are making.
The temperature of the pan has little to do with how warm or cool you can make the cooked food once it is done! That is determined by the heat source you use to bake, roast or toast the food-the oven, burners or toaster.
If you like browned, crispier chips or fries, then higher temperatures are better because they promote this texture. For recipes that ask for softer, warmer baked goods, lower temperatures are needed so the dough does not get overbaked and dry.
Cast iron also acts as its own cooling system when heated, which means it will naturally continue to retain warmth even after being transferred to another surface. This is an important factor if you want to keep the pan for later uses or transfer the finished product to another vessel.
Cast iron pans are expensive
A very heavy pan is your most important cooking tool. If you don’t believe me, try to make breakfast in the morning without a good quality skillet! Luckily, there are some pretty cheap cast iron skillets out there that can be replaced if they break.
Most people agree that Lodge or Taylor-made skillets are the best budget buy as far as overall performance goes. They are both manufactured with durable, cookware friendly materials.
A few extra dollars more will get you an extremely high quality handle made of leather which feels sturdy and long lasting. These types of handles can sometimes cost over $20 USD per piece!
But really, what does it matter how well insulated the pan is if you cannot use all of the heat it contains? A higher priced pan may look cool, but it won’t help you achieve great results.