Care & Use
Borough Furnace skillets are pre-seasoned with organic flax seed oil and are ready to cook on right out of the box. The first few times you use your skillet it may stick a bit more than is typical. Pre-heating your pan and warming your cooking oil before adding food will help to prevent this. Once you start cooking in your skillet more, you will begin to build up a better nonstick cooking surface from the oils and fats in your food—this is the "seasoning". Cast iron care is organized around protecting this seasoning and building it up over time.
Initially you may see some color changes in your seasoning as you begin cooking with it. This is a normal part of breaking in your cast iron and the color will darken over time with continued use. The deep glossy black color associated with cast iron comes from micro-layers of seasoning built up from cooking. If a deep black appearance is important to you, consider cooking with butter, ghee or lard to deepen the color more quickly.
For normal cleaning, brush the skillet out with a dish brush or scrubby sponge under a warm tap, but without using soap. Dry the skillet right away. We also like to rub a tiny amount of our cooking oil onto the pan surface afterwards to further protect the iron from moisture. If you need to scrape anything out of the skillet more intensely, you can either dry rub it with coarse salt or try a copper scrub pad under the tap. Copper is a softer metal than iron and will not scratch the iron surface of your skillet (though it may scratch the seasoning.)
The cooking surface on your skillet will become more and more nonstick as you use it over time. You never want your skillet to stay wet for a long time, as the iron can rust. If the skillet does accidentally get rusty, just scrub or sand the rust off and re-season the pan. Or - if you start to notice that your cooking surface is starting to stick more, you can also just re-season the skillet in the oven to get back on track - or just cook with a little bit more oil until the surface improves with use. Essentially, all skillet problems can be solved with re-seasoning, so don’t worry too much about it!
If your seasoning starts to degrade, you can re-season the skillet in the oven to get it back on track. Your skillet got four coats of seasoning using this method before it shipped out:
- Warm the skillet in the oven at 200 F for 10 minutes.
- Take the skillet out and rub oil onto the skillet – and then rub it almost all the way back off, leaving only a very thin layer. You don't want the oil to be drippy as it can flake off if too thick. We use organic flax seed oil (available in the refrigerated health food section at most grocery stores), but you can use lard or other cooking oils. Olive oil, however, is not good for oven seasoning.
- Put the skillet back into the oven, placed upside-down, at 500 F (for flax seed oil, 400 F for vegetable oil) for an hour. After the time is up, leave the skillet in the oven until it is cool enough to touch. It should not be sticky. If it is sticky, it needs more oven time.
- While the skillet is still warm, repeat steps two and three up to four times.
The real benefit of seasoning comes from cooking on the skillet, but this base layer of flax seasoning will seal the iron and get you started. Unlike cookware with artificial coatings that degrade over time, your skillet will only improve with use.
Enameled Cast Iron
The porcelain enamel finish on our Dutch oven is a hard clay and glass coating that has been bonded to a cast iron core. Though the finish is durable, common sense handling for any glass or ceramic cooking tool applies:
- Heat slowly and do not plunge a hot pot into water to avoid thermal shock, which can cause the porcelain enamel to crack.
- Temperature safe to any oven temperature. Cooking over a live fire is not recommended due to fluctuating temperature and possible spikes in heat.
- Porcelain enamel is not non-stick. Cook with oil or cooking spray as needed.
- Use with wooden, silicone or plastic utensils is preferred to avoid scratching the finish.
- Hand washing is preferred. Detergents may degrade the gloss on the porcelain over time.
- If scrubbing is needed, avoid the use of steel wool.
The lips of the pot and lid have a seasoned finish, eliminating the possibility of chipping the enamel at these contact points and increasing the longevity of the product. The seasoned lip needs very little maintenance:
- Do not submerge these areas in water at length and dry them thoroughly after washing.
- If a small area of rust forms on the lip, wipe it off and rub a small amount of cooking oil on the area to seal it from moisture. The cooking oil will naturally bake into the rim as you cook with your Dutch oven.
- Heating the Dutch oven above 600° for long periods may cause the seasoning on the rim to burn off. If this happens, you may have to do a proper re-seasoning restore the finish.