When you're working in a commercial restaurant environment, you'll need cookware that can stand up to the demand. With meal services keeping those pans in use for hours at a time every day, you need to have the pans in the best possible condition. One of the most important things you can do for your pans is to keep them properly seasoned. If you're new to commercial kitchens, you may not understand this process. Here's a look at what you need to know about seasoning your pans to prolong their usable life.
Reasons For Seasoning
When you season cookware, it adds a protective barrier that prevents food from sticking. This also makes it easier to cook foods without using a lot of extra cooking fats, such as butter or oil. In addition, preventing sticking also makes it easier to clean the pans.
Pans must be thoroughly cleaned before they are seasoned. This removes any layer of protective material that the manufacturer may have coated the pan with before it was shipped. A hot water and commercial detergent wash is sufficient for this. Make sure you dry the pan completely with a lint-free cloth, too. Once towel-dried, put the pan into a preheated oven (any temperature is fine provided that the oven is hot) to dry the rest of the way for about ten minutes.
When you season your pans, the process will change based on the pan type. Since you've likely stocked your new kitchen with several different types of pans, it's in your best interest to understand the differences. Aluminum and cast iron are the most common pan types that need seasoning, so those are the ones addressed here.
To season your aluminum pans, you'll need to wipe down the entire inside surface with either vegetable shortening or lard. Preheat your oven to around 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment and put it on the bottom rack of your oven. Put the pan you're seasoning upside-down on an oven rack directly above that baking sheet. Leave the pan in the oven for about two hours, then let it cool in the oven. Wipe it down with a lint-free cloth and then store it.
The process is the same for cast iron, except that you'll want to put the pan into the oven and then heat it to about 400-450 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave it in the oven for about an hour. Once the hour is up, turn off the oven and leave the pan in there so that it can cool down gradually. When it's cool enough to handle, remove it from the oven, wipe down the inside with a lint-free cloth, and then repeat the process until it's gone through six baking cycles.
When the pans have been seasoned, it's important to maintain that protection. Proper cleaning is a key part of that process. Heat the pan so that it is warm but not hot. Add a small amount of hot water in it, then wipe the cooking surface down with a sponge while that water is in it. Don't use any detergent, though, because it will strip the seasoning off the pan. Dry the surface completely, then wipe a thin layer of cooking oil or shortening over the cooking surface with a paper towel or lint-free cloth. If the pan gets washed with soap accidentally, simply repeat the entire seasoning process to restore the cooking surface again.
When it comes to taking care of your new cookware in your commercial kitchen, seasoning is an important step. With these tips and the support of a restaurant supply and appliance company, you'll be able to not only choose the right cookware, but also keep it at its best for a long time to come.
For more information and maintenance tips, talk with the company that offers your restaurant equipment supplies.