Cast iron pans – discover the benefits and the best brands

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Cast iron pans are becoming increasingly popular and more and more people have a cast iron roasting or grilling pan on the stove. This huge growth in popularity is certainly not surprising, because using a cast iron pan comes with many advantages. Are you looking for a cast iron pan, but would you like to know more about it first? Then read on!

What is a cast iron pan?

A cast-iron pan is a very strong pan made primarily of iron, silicon, and carbon. The pan consists of one part rather than several parts made together. Thus, a cast iron pan is cast from a single part.

This type of pan is often a lot heavier than normal pans. The strong material makes the pan almost indestructible. This makes a cast iron pan a very durable purchase!

Different types of cast iron pans and suitable for all heat sources

There are several types of cast iron pans. These include pressure cookers, roasting pans, frying pans, skillets, grill pans, and casseroles. In addition, specific pans are also available, such as cast iron pancake- or paella pan.

In addition, cast iron pans are suitable for various types of heat sources. For example, you can use the pan on gas, electric, induction, and ceramic stove. Furthermore, you can use the cast iron pan in the oven, on the barbecue, and even on an open fire.

Best cast iron pan brands

You can buy a cast iron pan from many different brands. The range of choices is vast. Below are some of the best brands for a cast iron pan:

BK

BK has the right BK cast iron pan for all cooking moments of the day. With an eye for detail and the latest trends, the designers design stylish pans that are ready to go on the table.

BK cast iron pans

For more than 150 years BK has been making cast iron pans and the brand is a true pioneer in the field of enameled pans. The cast-iron pans in the collection are available in various trendy colors. Choose from frying pans, pan sets, and grill pans.

Combekk

Combekk stands for sustainable baking and cooking products of high quality and unique design. All products in the range are made in the Combekk studio in the Netherlands with a great passion for cooking and a better world.

Combekk cast iron pans

Combekk is primarily known for the Original Dutch Oven made from recycled iron. Take your pick from a nice selection of cast iron skillets and frying pans.

Le Creuset

Le Creuset’s signature orange-red color may look familiar to you. This was the first color for the enamel layer by Aubecq and Desaegher, the founders of Le Creuset. This was inspired by the fiery color of the molten cast iron in the workshop’s molds.

Le creuset - cast iron pan and casserole

By now, the orange-red Le Creuset cast iron pan is a true classic. In addition to this cast iron skillet, Le Creuset also has many other cast iron pans in its assortment, such as a grill pan, frying pan, appetizer pan, skillet, saucepan, and even a paella pan.

Lodge

If you are looking for a cast iron pan brand with a lot of experience, then you have come to the right place with Lodge. Lodge is America’s oldest foundry and has been making cast iron pans since 1896.

Lodge cast-iron pans and casseroles

Lodge Logic pans are suitable for all heat sources, including gas, electric, and induction. Lodge has a wide range of cast iron pans, such as a frying pan, roasting pan, grill pan, baking pan, and snack pan. The Lodge pans are available in various diameters between 13 and 43 centimeters.

One of Lodge’s most popular cast iron pans is the Lodge Dutch Oven. This is a cast-iron mini oven with a lid. In these pans, you can prepare dishes the traditional way, which you would normally bake in an oven.

Staub

Staub strives to unite people with great food. The brand is originally French and brings French gastronomy to every kitchen in the world. Staub is primarily known for the craftsmanship of Staub cast iron pan cocottes.

Staub cast-iron pan

The brand has a wide range of cast iron skillets, casseroles, teapots, frying pans, cocottes, and grill pans.

Price of a cast iron pan

A cast-iron pan is a lot more expensive than a regular pan. Therefore, the price may seem a bit on the high side. It is important to keep in mind the enormous longevity of a cast iron pan. This is because the pan is cast from a single piece, which makes it extremely strong. Cast iron pans can last up to 100 years.

With an ordinary pan, the non-stick coating disappears after long use. The natural non-stick coating of a cast iron pan becomes stronger the more often you use it. A cast-iron pan may be more expensive to buy, but it is a very durable purchase because of its long life!

Two different types of protective layers

A cast-iron pan does not have a protective coating like a regular pan has a non-stick coating. The cast iron must, of course, be protected from rust. For cast iron pans, you can use two different types of protective layers: an enamel or a vegetable oil protective layer, which is also called seasoning.

Enamel

The first way to protect the cast iron pan from rusting and burning is enamel. Enamel is molten glass. Enameling pans is a specialized technique that can only be done by experts. There are several brands that offer an enameled cast iron pan in the range. This type of pan requires less maintenance.

Cast iron pan seasoning

You can also create the protective layer of the cast iron pan yourself. To burn in a cast iron pan, you burn the iron of the pan with vegetable oil. The oil is absorbed through the pores of the material.

Then you have to heat the pan in the oven. During this heating, the oil forms a bond with the iron. This bond is also called a polymer. In the pan, a shiny layer is created which is also called “seasoning”.

This prevents the pan from rusting and it forms a 100% natural non-stick coating. You can grease the pan with different types of vegetable oils, such as linseed oil or olive oil.

Creating a non-stick surface

A cast-iron pan does not have a non-stick coating like many other pans have. You have to create this non-stick coating yourself by burning the cast iron pan in the oven. There are several ways to do this, but the most popular way is to grease the pan and put it in the oven. Below is a handy step-by-step plan:

  1. After purchase, it is very important to clean the cast iron pan thoroughly with water and detergent.
  2. Dry the pan thoroughly with a tea towel.
  3. Grease the cast iron pan with a tablespoon of flaxseed oil or olive oil. You can use a piece of kitchen paper for this. It is important that you grease the entire surface of the pan, including the outside. Make sure there are no drips anywhere, but that there is a thin layer over the entire pan.
  4. Turn on the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Place aluminum foil over the oven plate and place the cast iron pan upside down on the grill plate above the oven plate. This allows the aluminum to catch the oil.
  5. Leave the cast iron pan in the oven for about an hour. After the hour, let the pan cool in the oven for a while.
  6. Your cast iron is now completely ready for use with the homemade non-stick coating.

Re-create a new non-stick coating

After a while, the natural non-stick coating of the cast iron pan can become damaged. Fortunately, you can also create a new layer yourself. This allows you to reset the pan, as it were. Use a steel sponge and scrub the pan thoroughly.

After scrubbing thoroughly, you can see the pure cast iron of the pan. Then rinse the pan well and dry it well with a tea towel. You can now re-create a non-stick coating with the previously mentioned step-by-step plan.

Cast iron pan in oven - maintance

Maintaining a cast iron pan

A cast-iron pan can last up to 100 years, but to achieve this longevity, proper maintenance cast iron pan is essential. One of the first things you need to know is that you should never put the pan away dry. This can cause the pan to rust.

After you have washed the pan, it is wise to put a drop of oil in the pan. Then spread this oil well over the entire surface. Do you have an enameled cast iron pan? Then you don’t need to grease it after drying.

Washing the cast iron pan

After use, it is best to wash the cast iron pan with some water and a soft sponge. Is the pan very dirty? Then use a little detergent. If you use a little soap, it is extra important that you rinse the pan thoroughly. It is advisable to use a natural detergent with as few aggressive chemicals as possible. This could damage the non-stick coating.

You can also wash the pan by heating the pan. If your pan is heated above 115 degrees Celsius, all bacteria will be killed and this means your pan is sterile. You can remove the food residue with a cloth after the pan has cooled.

Thoroughly cleaning cast iron pan

The big question: how should you clean a cast iron pan? Can the cast iron pan go into a dishwasher? No! A cast-iron pan should never go in the dishwasher, not even an enamel-coated cast iron pan.

If you want to clean the cast iron pan thoroughly, you can do this by heating some salt in the pan. Use large sea salt grains for this. Once the pan is hot, you can use a dish towel to scrub the pan clean with the sea salt. Remove the salt and wash the pan with water. After that, it is wise to put some oil in the pan and grease it well with a piece of paper towel.

Cast-iron pans and casseroles - advantages

Advantages cast iron pan

The popularity of the cast iron pan is growing rapidly. But why buy a cast iron pan? What is the advantage of a cast iron pan? There are several advantages to using a cast iron pan. You can read more about these advantages below:

  • For use on all heat sources

You can use a cast iron pan on any kind of heat source, such as gas, electric, induction, and ceramic stove. You can even use cast iron pans in the oven, on a grill, barbeque, and open campfire.

  • Long life span

The great advantage of cast iron pans is that with proper maintenance they last a lifetime. In fact, the pan cannot break down. A cast-iron pan can last up to 100 years and is often passed on from generation to generation. A super durable purchase, therefore.

  • Stays warm for a long time

It takes a while for a cast iron pan to get properly hot. But once the pan is hot, it stays that way. In addition, the material also provides very even heating. A cast-iron skillet is ideal for cooking food properly.

  • Versatile

A cast-iron pan is very versatile and you can use the pan for many different cooking and baking techniques. In the pan you can bake, broil, grill, stew, boil, sauté, poach, fry and roast.

  • Oven-Resistant 

A common question is: Can a cast iron pan go in the oven? Yes! A cast-iron pan is oven safe and you can use the pan for extensive cooking that requires a high temperature. So you can use the cast iron pan in the oven, but also on the barbeque or open fire.

  • Safe

‘Normal’ pans have a chemical non-stick coating. After long use, this coating often gets scratched and becomes damaged. Of course, you don’t want this in your food. With the cast iron pan, this is not the case. The natural or enameled protective layer is 100% safe and healthy!

Advantage cast-iron pan

Disadvantages cast iron pan

Using a cast-iron pan mainly takes advantages, but it’s important to name the few disadvantages as well. Then you’ll know exactly what to consider and look out for!

  • Heavy weight

One disadvantage of cast iron pans is that they are very heavy. This is not always comfortable while cooking, preparing and washing up.

  • No chemical non-stick coating

A cast-iron pan has no chemical non-stick coating. If you use the pan just after purchasing it, you will notice that you need a lot more oil when you grab it. Especially dishes with more protein are more difficult to fry because of this, as they tend to stick more.

  • Takes a long time before the pan is hot

No matter what heat source you use, it takes a while for a cast iron pan to get hot enough to use.

  • Requires thorough maintenance

A cast-iron pan needs much more proper maintenance than other ‘normal pans’. You can never put the pan away dry after use (unless you have one with enamel coating). To prevent this, it is wise to grease the pan with some oil.

  • Can break easily

When working with a cast iron pan, it is very important that you never drop the pan. The material of the pan is brittle and can break instantly if dropped. You also have to be careful with large differences in temperature. For example, have you fried something in red-hot oil in the pan? Then don’t immediately place the pan in cold water afterward. This can cause the cast iron pan to crack.

What should you look for when buying a cast iron pan?

Cast iron pots, pans, and cookware are no longer just the domain of professional chefs; many people at home are also embracing the many benefits of cooking with a cast iron pan. Are you looking for the best cast-iron pan or perhaps an entire cast iron pan set? There are a number of factors to consider when buying a cast iron pan:

Type of pan

One of the most important things to determine is what type of pan you would like. This is because there are many different types of pans, such as cast-iron frying pan, broil pan, bread pan, Dutch oven, grill pan, skillet, or a pancake pan. Many brands also offer complete pan sets. This way you have everything at home at once.

Size

Cast iron pans come in many different sizes. There are pans with a diameter of only 13 centimeters that are suitable for frying a small dish to large frying pans with a diameter of 35 centimeters that are suitable for preparing a delicious Christmas dinner.

Handle and shank

Cast iron pans often come with convenient handles. Cast iron pans are quite heavy, so choose a pan with comfortable handles so you can lift them safely. If you choose a cast-iron skillet, it’s important to pay attention to the size of the handle. Will you go for a long or a short handle? In addition, you can also choose a cast iron pan with a lid.

Non-stick

Most cast iron pans do not have a natural non-stick coating, so you will have to create that yourself through a special technique with oil and the oven. It is also possible to buy an enameled cast iron pan where this is not necessary. This pan already has a protective layer, which is somewhat easier to maintain.

Cooking and baking in an cast-iron pan

Tips for using a cast iron pan

  • Use cast iron pan only when the pan has a non-stick coating

Unless you have purchased an enameled pan, it is important that you only use the pan when you have created a non-stick surface. In addition, it may be smart to avoid acidic foods, such as tomatoes, at first. After all, your pan needs to have built up a good layer first. The acid can corrode the material of the pan.

  • Heat the pan slowly and on a moderate setting

Cast iron pans are best used for cooking food that needs to be cooked slowly on a moderate setting. This also prevents hot spots in the pan.

  • Wash the pan with detergent when it is new

If you bought the pan new, then it is wise to thoroughly polish the pan with dish soap. Generally, the use of dish soap is not recommended when washing a cast iron pan, but it is important to use it when you first use the cast iron pan. Use a detergent with natural agents and avoid harsh chemicals.

  • Never soak the cast iron pan in water

Cast iron is a porous material. This means that the material has small pores. It is therefore important that you never soak the pan in water. This allows the water to get into the pores, which can damage the pan.

Frequently asked questions about cast iron pans

Are cast iron pans healthy to cook in?

Yes, it is definitely healthy to cook in a cast iron pan! The pan has a natural non-stick coating, so you can even use less oil or butter to cook your food. In addition, cast iron pans are also ideal for healthier ways of cooking, such as steaming vegetables.

What are the advantages of using a cast iron pan?

Using a cast iron pan has many advantages. The pan provides even heating, lasts a long time, and can be used with any heat source. In addition, the pan can be used for many different preparations and has a natural non-stick coating which makes cooking and baking in a cast iron pan very fun and easy.

How is a cast iron pan made?

A cast-iron pan is made of iron and carbon. The production of cast iron pans originated in China and has probably changed very little over thousands of years. The molten cast iron is poured into a mold in sand at a temperature of about 1350 degrees Celsius. After it cools, the pan can be removed from the mold.

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