What is Carbon Steel?
Similar to its popular cousin cast iron, carbon steel cookware requires special care. Where cast iron cookware is very porous, carbon steel is not. The seasoning on carbon steel is superficial and is easier to achieve. Learn more about both cast iron and carbon steel in our post Which Cookware is the Best.
Just like any other new cookware piece, you have to wash your carbon steel French-style pan to remove any debris it may have. Simply wash it with hot water, a mild dish soap, and bristle brush. Dry the pan immediately and coat the entire fry pan with vegetable oil. The pan shouldn’t be dripping with oil but it should be completely coated with a thin layer of oil. Preheat your oven to 350 ͒ F and place the oiled carbon steel fry pan inside and bake it for one hour. After an hour, turn the oven off and let the pan cool. Once the pan has cooled you can remove it from the oven and wipe it down with a paper towel. Either store the pan away or get cookin’.
Refrain from using soap when cleaning your carbon steel skillet, it will remove the precious seasoning you created. Either wipe the pan clean or rinse it with water, towel dry it, set it on a warm burner to dry it thoroughly, and coat it with vegetable oil afterward.
As you cook with your carbon steel fry pan you will see that it changes from a shiny silver to a blotchy brown or black color. That simply means that the pan is developing a slippery patina, which is a natural nonstick surface. The more you cook with the carbon steel pan the more uniform the coloring will become.