Operations – Seasoning Pizza Pans

by Tom Lehmann, Dough Doctor

Seasoning a pan allows you to cook a great-tasting pizza without having to coat the bottom with excess oil, butter or fat.  Seasoning a pan not only gives your pans/screens a non-stick resistant surface, but allows for easy cleanup and will keep it from rusting quickly – ensuring that your pan has a longer life.

First, make sure the pan you are trying to season has a bright, shiny appearance.  If it has any other appearance, it might be coated with some type of non-stick material, thus reducing the adhesion properties of the seasoning.  To properly season a pan, first wash it thoroughly, then dry it and pass it through the oven to heat the pan and make sure it is thoroughly dry.

Now you can coat the pan with salad oil and pass it through the oven at about 425 F for 20 minutes.  The pan should have a slight golden tint to it at this point.  Do not wash a seasoned pan ever!  To use the newly seasoned pan, oil it again before placing the dough in the pan and bake as you normally would.  Do this for the next several bakes and you should see the color of the seasoning getting darker.  When the color reaches a muddy brown, the seasoning process is complete.  To clean your seasoned pans, just pass them through the oven to heat them and then wipe them out with a clean towel and out them away for the next use.  If your health department wants you to wash the pans, you will need to change over to a dark color anodized finish pan.

Some oils are much better than others at resisting polymerization – or, to put it another way, gunking things up.  We’ve all seen an old bottle of oil that has developed a sticky film on the outside of the bottle.  This is polymerization, where the oil actually begins to oxidize and form something akin to varnish.  The best oils to use for seasoning a pan, screen or disk are corn oil, soybean oil or possibly canola oil.  The worst choice would be to use one developed specifically as a pan release oil such as Pam or Whirl.  This is because these formulated products are designed specifically to resist or show resistance to polymerization.

Even with proper seasoning, pans and screens should be replaced when they begin to show signs or cracking (especially in the screen area), become bent, crimped beyond straightening; or the screen becomes clogged with baked on debris that is not easily removed.  Although proper seasoning can extend the life of your equipment, these items do break.

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