How to clean a professional cast iron plate
How to Clean a Cast Iron Plate
Hello, today I am going to talk to you about cast iron plates. They are porous which makes them quite tricky to clean. First I will show you how they get dirty, and then how to scrape them clean, and finally how to get the perfect plate for cooking. So here we have a plate that is a little bit rusty, you can see around the edges there is quite a lot of rust. It is repairable as it is totally smooth still, if on the other hand, your plate has hollow blisters from being attacked with products it may be irreparable.
Smoothing the Surface
Therefore, with these two very dirty plates I suggest four solutions to you. First, use a circular motion to clean the plate, then once it’s clean you can use a polishing tool to further cleanse the plates. This also allows you to correct the slightly more damaged one by smoothing over the blisters and bumps. To make the surface perfectly smooth I will use a vinegar solution to remove any remaining rust. This should also be sufficient to strip enough dirt that you bring back a slightly darker shade of gray on the iron.
You can also use a solution of citric acid. This is slightly more efficient than with white vinegar and I personally use it as it makes the plate a prettier light gray colour. This solution is great as it works much faster and also brings back a nicer colour. After you have used both solutions it is extremely important that you stabilise the plates with a mixture of water and bicarbonate of soda. This should neutralise the PH on the plates in order to prevent further rusting.
Remember that all of this should be done on a cold plate in order to avoid acid penetrating the surface. After you complete whichever cleaning method you choose, you should finish with a complete polish of the entire surface. I use a very fine brush to get the best possible finish.
Now that your cast iron plate is perfectly smooth and clean we will be able to waterproof it so that it is protected for longer. This should also make future cleaning easier.
So the idea here is that I will fill all of the gaps in the plates with fat in such a way that it creates a smooth film over the entire surface of the cast iron. I start by preheating my plate to the highest possible temperature; this is likely to be around 250 or 300 degrees depending on the brand and the plate model.
The oil should be completely burnt so it should enter all the gaps in your plate. I will then finish with a polish which will prevent any water from the meat products or any detergent entering any part of the plate. This should mean the plate is now completely protected.
To start I put some grease in the centre of the plate; I’m using grape seed oil, I will then distribute it over the entire surface with some cotton to keep the temperature even. I rub the grease all over the surface, but also down and along the edges of the plate as water can also drip down the sides when cooking. You should repeat this action 4-5 times leaving a few minutes in between each for the oil to be completely burnt and the smoke to disappear. You can then test the waterproofing by spraying a little water onto it. The droplets should sit on top of the plate instead of sinking into it now.