Having quality cookware in your commercial kitchen is essential to a smooth-running dinner service. Many commercial cookware products will need to be seasoned before you use them. If you're new to the restaurant industry and just setting up your first commercial kitchen, it's important to understand the benefits of the seasoning process as well as how to season and care for those brand new pans. Here are some tips to help you preserve that cookware you've just invested in.
Why Season the Pans?
Seasoning is an important part of your cookware prep, because it helps to protect against sticking. This allows you to cook foods without needing an excess of added oil, butter or other fat. Since the seasoning protects against sticking, it also makes it easier for you to clean your pans after a service.
How Do You Prepare Pans to Be Seasoned?
Before seasoning your pans, start with a thorough washing. This is essential, because it removes the protective coating that's applied by the manufacturer before they're shipped. Use hot water and a commercial dish detergent to clean them, then rinse them thoroughly. Dry the pans with a lint-free cloth, then place them into an oven that's been preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave them in the oven for ten minutes or so, just until they're completely dry.
How Do You Season the Pans?
The seasoning process is going to depend on the type of pan that you're using in your kitchen. You have probably ordered a combination of pan types in the interest of having different things for different purposes. The two most common types of pans that you'll need to season are stainless steel and cast iron.
Seasoning Stainless Steel Pans – Wipe down the inside and outside of the pan with vegetable shortening or lard. Coat every surface other than the handle. Put a parchment-lined baking sheet on the lower rack of a 350-degree oven, then place the pan on the rack directly above it. Leave the pan in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. When you remove it from the oven, wipe it down with a soft, lint-free cloth. Place it on a cooling rack for a few minutes until it cools off.
Seasoning Cast Iron Pans – Apply a thin layer of shortening or lard to both the inside and outside of the cooking area of the pan. Don't treat the handle, though, because that will make it slippery and hard to hold. As with the aluminum pan, place a parchment-lined baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven, then preheat it to 350 degrees. Put the pan upside-down on the rack above the pan and leave it in the oven for about an hour. After an hour, turn the oven off. Leave the pan in the oven for a few minutes to cool down, then remove it from the oven carefully. Wipe it down with a soft cloth, then place it on a rack to cool the rest of the way.
How Do You Care for the Pans Once They're Seasoned?
Once the pans are seasoned, they're easy to keep clean. While the pan is warm, put some hot water in it. Wipe the cooking surface with a sponge while the water is in it. This will clean the pan without damaging the existing seasoning. Then, once the pan is clean and dry, you can apply a thin layer of oil or shortening to the cooking surface. If you accidentally use soap or damage the seasoning, you can easily restore the condition of the pans by repeating the seasoning process.
With these tips, you'll be able to prepare your new pans for service with ease. Once your pans have been properly treated, your line cooks will be able to turn out great meals each and every time! For more information about caring for your pots and pans, you may want to talk with a local restaurant equipment supplier like Louis Wohl & Sons Inc.