Seasoning your new commercial cookware will allow you to turn out well-cooked dishes without needing to use a large amount of butter, oil or other added fats. The seasoning layer provides you with some resistance to sticking as well, which not only makes cleaning easier, but helps you produce plates that look good, too. Here’s a look at what you need to know about seasoning your new pans for the best possible results in your kitchen.
Before you season any of your new pans, you need to wash all of them to remove the protective coating the manufacturer treated them with before shipping. Wash the pans thoroughly in hot water with your commercial-grade dish detergent. Then, rinse them completely and dry each one as thoroughly as you can. Place the pan into an oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for a couple of minutes to ensure that all of the moisture is gone.
Seasoning Different Pan Types
There are several different types of pans you may use in your commercial kitchen. Here’s a look at the basics for seasoning two common types of pans:
- Cast Iron – Spread a thin coat of either lard or vegetable shortening onto the inside as well as the outside of the cast iron pan’s cooking area. The only part of the pan you shouldn’t coat is the handle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put it on the bottom rack of a 400-degree oven. Put the seasoned pan on the middle rack. Let the pan sit in the oven for about an hour before turning the heat off. Remove the pan from the oven, use a soft cloth to wipe it dry, then set it somewhere safe to cool.
- Hard-Coat Aluminum – Coat the inside and outside of the cooking surface of the pan using lard or vegetable shortening. Just as with the cast iron, you want to coat every surface except for the pan’s handle. Place a baking sheet lined with parchment paper onto the bottom rack of your oven, which should be preheated to 400 degrees. Set the pan on the rack above the baking sheet for about 20 minutes. Then, wipe it dry with a clean, soft cloth and allow it to cool.
Caring for Seasoned Pans
Seasoned pans usually clean up easily. While the pan is still warm, add some hot water to it, then use a sponge to clean the cooking surface. This cleans it without removing the seasoning. Once clean and dry, apply a thin layer of oil or vegetable shortening to the cooking surface before you put the pan away.
If food starts sticking, or an overzealous dish washer uses a detergent or scouring pad on a seasoned pan, you’ll have to re-season it. Simply repeat the seasoning process and then put your pans away for the next service cycle. If you keep up with the seasoning and store your pans somewhere cool and dry when not in use, they’ll prove to be a great investment for your restaurant. Companies like Chef’s Warehouse are great resources for small wares like these types of pans.