When looking for the best partner for your rustic baking life, you need something that has been in the industry for quite some time, and one of these is best Dutch ovens. These ovens are recommendable for everyone out there and this is because of how versatile they are in terms of usage. You can use these pots on stoves, campfires, ovens and even barbeque grills.
Cast iron isn’t naturally non-stick, and you have to make them so through seasoning, which is basically the process of layering the oven surface with oil. If you want to know about everything related to how to season cast iron Dutch oven, this article is here for your rescue.
When should you season cast iron Dutch oven?
Before looking at the step-step guide on how to season a cast iron Dutch oven, it’s equally important to first discuss how regular you should do that in the first place. The thing is, the number of times the oven needs that oil rub largely depends on how frequently you use it. Unlike popular belief, when cast iron is regularly used, it doesn’t need frequent seasoning because I believe that you’ll be using oil in the process, which alone already does that bit for you.
This is because the moment you season cast iron which is used daily, there are high chances of the oven developing certain sticky or gummy spots resulting from excess oil. However, this can be easily dealt with by heating it up for close to an hour, after which all the layers of oil will polymerize. On the other hand, it’s not ideal also to wait until your oven starts to get rusty to get the seasoning going. This is especially for those who tend to bake only once in a while.
The rule has always been to season cast iron before preheating when it’s time to use it, but at the same time, you can also do so before storage so that the oven remains in good shape. Away from all that, you should also consider seasoning a new cast iron Dutch oven before using it for the first time, in as much as we have some leading brands which usually come pre-seasoned by the manufacturer. Now let’s get the seasoning going, shall we?
Step-Step Guide on How to Season Cast Iron Dutch oven
- Get the area ready.
The best place to season your oven is outdoors because of the smoke which is usually produced in the process. On the other hand, you can still get it done indoors if the space is properly ventilated
- Clean the pot.
The aim is to ensure that the oven has no residues on it, so if you had previously cleaned yours, you can skip this step. When washing, you can also use steel wool and other power abrasives if the oven is in a bad shape, especially if you used yours on a fire.
- Let it dry.
To speed up the process, you can dry it out using a clean cloth or dry paper towels, but if it’s sooty, you can just turn it over until it’s completely dry.
- Seal a cookie sheet.
You’ll need this in order to protect your oven from oil drips, so what you need to do is warp it up with aluminium foil in a way that the foil overlaps on the cookie sheet.
- Grease the Dutch oven.
Using a paper towel or rag, generously layer the cast iron with food-grade oil ensuring that it’s fully covered on both its interior and exterior. Later in the article, we will see some of the best seasonings that you can use at this step. You can also add vegetable shortening before proceeding.
- Put the pot on the oven.
After preheating the oven to 350F, place the pot in the covered cookie sheet in an upside down position then put it on the oven. It’s this position that will give you evenly-coated surfaces because the oil used for seasoning will be falling out, and not settling at the bottom of the pot. You can leave the pot on the oven or whatever it is you’re using for about an hour, ensuring that you monitor the process for any issue that might need attention.
- Turn off the heating system.
After powering off, you should let the pot sit for about 25 minutes to give time for the oil to set in. At this point, the Dutch oven will probably be hot, so you should handle it with caution.
- Clean off the residues.
Once the cast iron is completely cool, wipe off any residues with dry paper towels to give the pot a beautiful shine especially on the interior. After this, you can proceed to keep your Dutch oven, or get the cooking started.
Tips on how to season cast iron oven
To begin with, not all the oils that work for your modern non-stick pots will work for cast iron, and that’s why you have to be vigilant when picking what to season with. Certain brands recommend specific oils for seasoning, but generally you can use anything with unsaturated fats because of how fast they form bonds. Here’s a list of some of the best examples that will get the job perfectly done for you:
- Avocado oil.
Vegetable oils have always remained to be a good choice and topping the list is avocado oil. It’s versatile and can still be used for cooking, other than just baking. This is all thanks to its high smoke point and the healthy omega 3’s component.
Most people today have resolved to this oil because of the polymerized layer it creates, making it ideal for seasoning. This can be quite costly, but it’s one of those products that you need to try.
If you’re into organic stuff, you can also try animal fats for a change. The only problem is that with such oils, you have to be careful with how long you plan to keep the oven unused after seasoning because it can go bad. However, if you use the oven regularly, this shouldn’t be a problem.
- Sunflower oil.
Here’s yet another handy unsaturated oil. The better part is that it’s usually available globally and also proves to be quite affordable.
Now, one thing I’ll emphasize about seasoning cast iron is that you can either do it to prevent the food from sticking on the surface or to make the oven more durable. No matter what your intentions are, the only important thing is to know how to do it correctly, and right now you’re safer with this guide on how to season cast iron Dutch oven. However, it’s also safer when you understand that sometimes food can stick on the oven surface when it’s too hot and so it might not even be something to do with seasoning.
Lastly,quality and durability usually go hand in hand, and that’s why if you don’t invest in a quality product, all that seasoning you do won’t bear any fruits. If you need value for money, you can always check out these examples to see which cast iron Dutch oven suits your baking and cooking needs.