Why season matte enamel?
January 24, 2009 11:46 PM   Subscribe

Why does my Ikea SENIOR casserole, which has a "matte enamel interior", come with instructions for seasoning?

It was my understanding that seasoning cast iron cookware was only relevant when the iron was bare. It seems pointless if it's just going over enamel...

The seasoning instructions are in a little booklet with care instructions for the SENIOR line. I thought it might be that, say, the frying pan was bare cast iron, but according to the website, they all have the matte enamel interior.

(It seemed, from look/feel, entirely plausible to me that the interior could be bare iron. However, I'm not terribly familiar with cast iron cookware.)
posted by Kemayo to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Seasoning is not going to hurt it too much, either way. In my experience, the worst-case scenario is that it will be a little oily next time you use it, in which case you can either roll with it or lightly wash it out with some soap and water.

Is the inside super smooth, sort of like porcelain? If so, it's more like the Le Creuset casseroles (or their imitators -- I just got a Martha Stewart LC-type dutch oven that is awesome). If not, then it's probably some sort of unfinished cast iron that will benefit from a bit of seasoning.
posted by rossination at 1:05 AM on January 25, 2009

Response by poster: It's a fairly rough-feeling interior. Until I saw the blurb on their website mention that it was apparently enameled, I thought it was just raw iron. (But, like I said, I have approximately zero experience with cast iron cookware.)
posted by Kemayo at 1:13 AM on January 25, 2009

Best answer: Yeah, in that case I would definitely follow the directions re: seasoning.

Once you season it in the oven the first time (or whatever they tell you to do), get in the habit of "re-seasoning" every week or so: dry it out, set it over medium heat and wipe it out completely with a paper towel. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe with an oiled paper towel, then let it sit over the heat for a few more minutes. Then just turn the burner off, let it cool, and put it away.

Enjoy your new pan! Cast iron is wonderful for so many things. I use my cast iron skillet and dutch ovens for 90% of my cooking.

(another hot tip: use your new pan to make Jim Lahey's No-Knead Bread. Google it!)
posted by rossination at 1:40 AM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

The website says it has a matte-enameled interior and doesn't have to be oiled. Can you take a photo of it? Oiling won't hurt it, but it seems a little silly; warming it after washing helps to ensure it doesn't rust.

And here is the no-knead bread 2.0 version: it subs out some of the water for vinegar and beer. They both add a bit of sourness and fermentation - the result is bread with more taste and depth.
posted by barnone at 8:38 AM on January 25, 2009

Best answer: The website says it has a matte-enameled interior and doesn't have to be oiled

Yeah but apparently the unseasoned matte enamel is somewhat porous. The problem here is not rust: A new unseasoned pan (or a hot-soap-water-washed one) sticks like hell. Okay, it is not such a huge problem in a casserole as it would be in a frying pan, and cooking will eventually create an oil layer anyway (my frying pans have become almost like non-stick over the years), but why not speed up the works?
posted by Namlit at 9:25 AM on January 25, 2009

Well if it's porous enamel (needing oiling), then isn't it still a good idea to dry it out on the stove after washing?
posted by barnone at 10:50 AM on January 28, 2009

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