The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Care of tinned steel

Janet Yang's picture
Janet Yang

Care of tinned steel

How do you prevent tinned steel from rusting? My tinned bakeware always develops spots of rust, despite fragile handling and thorough drying. Climate doesn't seem to matter.

Recently I bought two Italian pandoro tins and a madeleine pan. As long as they were in frequent use, I didn't wash them between bakings, just wiped the crumbs out with a soft cloth. After all the holiday baking was over, I washed them by hand, dried them with a towel, then put them in a 220° oven for a few minutes. 

I just examined them and found traces of rust in the pandoro pans. It wiped away easily enough and the surface is not rough, so I guess the tin layer is mostly intact and the rust sort of "bled" through to the surface. But it's the beginning of the end, isn't it, once rust shows up? :(

What is the best way to protect tinned bakeware?

Janet

baybakin's picture
baybakin

a thin rub-down with a drop of oil.  I would suggest an oil that does not go rancid easily (or a drying oil like flax), mineral oil is another solution, but I would still wipe the tins down again before using.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

When I wash them,I rrinse with very hot water and even oven dry them.When they are thoroughly dry I rub them with vegetable oil or lard. Heat them for a while in the oven,if you wish to create a brownish coating. Looks a bit unappetizing but prevents rusting.

Janet Yang's picture
Janet Yang

Doesn't the oil oxidize and get sticky?

Janet Yang's picture
Janet Yang

I decided to coat the pans with cocoa butter because it takes at least two years to oxidize and go rancid.

Janet Yang's picture
Janet Yang

The regimen of drying the baking pans in a 220° oven and coating them with cocoa butter is working. No sign of rust after four years, and the cocoa butter did not oxidize, drip, or get sticky the way a vegetable oil coating would. I don't bother removing the cocoa butter before using the pan; just butter it as usual.

I found organic cocoa butter at Whole Foods—in their sundries section, not in the food section. So I checked with the company and they said it is indeed food grade and safe to eat, but their company sells it as a body-care product.

albacore's picture
albacore

I love your conscientiousness, Janet - a great four year update. I'll have to check out your cocoa butter suggestion - I've never heard of it being used for this purpose before.

Lance

Redjacketswamp's picture
Redjacketswamp

J

Have you tried a high quality Ghee? (...not the cheep versions).   We also use this on our cast iron and it is magical.  

Janet Yang's picture
Janet Yang

I’m not sure what qualifies as high quality ghee. I once made ghee from a pound of Land O’Lakes butter—would that work for rust-proofing cast iron?

Redjacketswamp's picture
Redjacketswamp

Janet,

I find the better quality ghee the better the taste over time.    I have come across a number of cheeper ghees always leave a slight rancid taste.  Given we are taking about cooking even the slightest hint of rancid taste can transfer to some dishes.  

Basically we are trying to stop air, moisture and metal mixing (also best to ensure there is no rust to start with),  I like ghee for this as once warm it has such a low viscosity that it is easy to make super thin layer and reaches every crevice.

CAST IRON

The physical structure of cast iron is  different to tinned steel.   With cast iron we are looking to polymerise the oil...not leave it as oil.  I use ghee, but If you really want to do it correctly - here is the best link I know of.

http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/

Also, get yourself a chainmail scrubber.  You won't look back.

Justanoldguy's picture
Justanoldguy

I've got a lovely old #5 Wagner Ware skillet I prefer for grilled cheese. I make my own ghee, often with Land O'Lakes unsalted butter although I will use other butters, too. Grilled sandwiches always sizzle away in it on ghee and there's no blacker, shinier piece of cast iron in my inventory than that little Wagner Ware. For an initial seasoning I prefer good old fashioned lard in multiple thin coats. But  once seasoned, ghee will keep iron in top condition. I also use it as the fat in all the sandwich loaves I bake. I love the stuff and I always make my own. Some folks might reserve the term 'high quality' for expensive, imported ghee. If you start with a quality, unsalted butter and make it with care it will be 'high quality' in much the same way bread made with care and quality ingredients is 'high quality'. 

Redjacketswamp's picture
Redjacketswamp

@ Justanoldguy

 

You are correct.  "High Quality" does not mean "expensive".   It means made with care from good ingredients.   This is a much better way of explaining it than my wording.   (Sadly, I think many people have only experienced some of the lesser quality ghee that is availibie) 

Ghee on cast iron.  

The reason I like to use ghee on cast iron is ghee leaves very little carbon buildup.   Seasoned cast iron (non-stick) is about the polymerised oil within the micro structure of the iron.   It is not about a large carbon/oil buildup on top of that seasoning.   I find ghee is such a fine, low viscosity fat with very little contaminate to carbonise...it just doesn't get the same build up.   Just a light scrub keeps it perfect.