To talk about Dutch oven we need to first know that there two types of this: (i) Cast iron and (ii) Cast aluminum. Basically, both of these are good but cast iron lasts a lifetime. Since cast iron is more widely used, I will talk about it and how effectively it can be cleaned and taken care of properly.This is our own personal Dutch Oven cleaning and care tips, hope you it will be useful.
The first thing that you need to keep in mind is that you need to season your cast iron. Why do you ask? Let me put it two simple words: (i) rust and (ii) taste. You need to season your Dutch oven in order to prevent it from rusting and also make your food taste better. One more reason is to make your life a bit easier while cleaning your pot.
1.Seasoning- (Dutch Oven Cleaning)
Seasoning is one of the important factors of Dutch Oven Cleaning.The procedure of seasoning your Dutch oven might take an hour or so. It is very important for you to season your brand new Dutch oven; by doing so you will be able to remove the contaminants and also make the coating of the Dutch oven stronger and also give your beloved oven a very nice look.
You have to keep in mind while Dutch Oven cleaning that is the first time you are seasoning your Dutch oven, it is basically to remove the waxy protective layer inside which is kept inside by the manufacturer in order to prevent rust while making the shipment. In many cases, the manufacturers season the cookware beforehand; so you might need to do it. Check it out if it has been done before or not.
If not then this is what you have to do:
Make sure that you do these things on a day when you can keep your windows open because these procedures make a lot of smoke. It is always better to these outside.
Then follow the manufacturer’s guide on how to remove the wax
on the Dutch oven.
If you don’t have the guide or you just tossed it out, then there is another way of doing it. Use soapy hot water. Mind you, this is the only time you will be using soap on your Dutch Oven. You should be using a scouring pad or steel wool to scrub away all the wax leaving behind only the metal of the cast iron. There are other ways of Dutch Oven cleaning though, such as vinegar, electrolysis bath and also oven cleaner.
After getting rid of the wax, you need dry your pot. Use lint-free clean rags. It is preferable to not use tissues as it can leave remnants inside.
If you are using a gas burner, then place your Dutch oven on it for a minute or two to dry the pot entirely. If you are using an electric range, then set it to warm and let it dry. Mind you, this should be done on both the sides of the pot and also on the lid.
Heat the grill or oven to 400-475 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rub Canola oil or any vegetable shortening on the inside and also the outside of the pot. Remember, you CANNOT use butter or any sort of flavored shortening. Carefully rub the shortening on all the edges and bumps on the pot.
After this rub off all the oil with a lint-free clean cloth. Rub it all off. (You might wonder why do this in the first place when I will be wiping it clean. But there are scientific reasons behind it. Let that be a story for another day)
Put the Dutch oven in the preheated oven or grill. Make sure that it is upside down. Close the lid of the grill or oven. (WARNING! If you are doing this inside the house then run. Open all the doors and windows. Shut down your fire alarm system as well. The oil will make a lot of smoke.So you have to keep this in mind while the Dutch Oven Cleaning)
Let the Dutch Oven bake for about 45-60 minutes.
Turn the oven or grill off and then wait for half an hour. Let the lid cool down and also the Dutch oven.
Allow the pot to cool until you can pick it up.
Repeat these procedures until you are satisfied with the texture and color of the pot. It will probably take more than 4 times to make it to your desired texture.
2.Periodic Seasoning- (Dutch Oven Cleaning)
It is needless to say that that is not the only time you are going to season your Dutch oven. Cooking anything with oil or fat might improve the protective layer of the Dutch oven, while acidic foods might thaw away the layers. So whenever you see that food is sticking too much to your pot, it is a wise idea to re-season it all over again. Periodic seasoning is just like the normal seasoning factor of Dutch Oven Cleaning except for the soap using part. If you see there is a rust forming on your pot then you might start with the initial seasoning. Otherwise, clean the pot normally except using the soap.
The texture should be dark. The darker the better. If it is sticky then there might be too much oil inside. You might try heating it to remove the extra oil from the pot. The pot should be greasy and shiny. The food should be easy to remove from the pot. If not then seasoning is needed again.
3.Cleaning- (Dutch Oven Cleaning)
The first thing you need to know is that you should not use aluminum in the Dutch oven. It does not help with uniform heating; the food gets stuck to the bottom of the pot and it is harder to get the food out and it will also have a reaction which might remove the seasoning of the pot.
The cleaning of the pot is a two-step process. Firstly, remove all the food from the cast iron. Then, when the pot is not too hot, use water for the Dutch oven cleaning. A few inches of water might suffice. After some time, remove it from heat and cool it down. When it is cool enough to work with, use a food scraper or sponge to remove every bit of the food inside it. Slowly pour out all the water and then rinse the pot with clean water. Check if you have removed all of the food; if not then repeat the whole thing all over again unless you are done.
To maintain the seasoning, you should thoroughly dry the oven and then hang it over or set it on the fire with the lid slightly askew. This will make the metal heat up and the let the moisture out of the pot through the slight opening. This process might take a little over 5 minutes.
After this apply unflavored oil on the pot with the help of a clean cloth. It should be applied on the inside and also on the outside of the Dutch oven. Remove any extra oil with a clean cloth so that there is only a thin film of oil in the pot for later use.
It is important to note that, the pot might need more care in humid places rather than drier places as it can form rust in more humid regions. There might be times when you make a cleaning disaster and then find out that there is a crust of rust sticking to your cookware. When this happens, you need to scrape out all of it and re-season it all over again. Yeah, we know this one is a long process Dutch Oven Cleaning procedure but there are steps in order to restore your beloved cookware.
Restoring your rusty Dutch Oven
You need to take extreme precaution while performing these steps. It is recommended for people who has prior knowledge on how to handle metals. It is basically a two-step process:
- Heat your pot upside down until it is red hot. This helps to remove all bits of foods, grease and even bad layers of metal which may remove rust as well. It is important to remember that any sort of moisture will result in immediate rusting, so take extreme precaution. Since it will be extremely hot, please be very careful while handling it and remember that sudden change in temperature can crack the pot as well.
- After heating it, you need to use steel wool, a wire brush or a drill with a cup of base steel brush. Immediately start seasoning the pot right after removing all the rust.
Importance things to remember
The maintenance of the Dutch oven cleaning and care may not seem easy but we all know how tasty the food is when we use it to cook our meal. The important thing is that we need to maintain it for it to last a lifetime.
- We should keep it coated with a thin film of oil at all times. Excess oil might result in a foul smell. So keep it to a minimum but always do keep it coated.
- Try to keep it as dry as possible. Moisture is the real enemy of a Dutch oven. It will make it rust and make you work hard to restore it all over again.
- Let it breathe. It is important to keep the air moving. Roll a paper towel and place one end of it inside the bottom of the pot. This will leave a small opening when the lid is closed. A little air will pass inside the pot and the paper towel will absorb any moisture as well.Hope this article helped you what you are looking for. Also check out our Dutch Oven Reviews