I have a cast iron dutch oven which I have tried twice now to restore/reseason. Following directions I found posted here at Chowhound, I soaked the cast iron dutch oven in a lye bath for several days. Then I scrubed off the resulting goo, used steel wool to scour off the rest, getting nicely down to bare metal.
I used naval jelly to get rid of the bit of rust that developed on the surface of the cast iron, rinsed the dutch oven well and immediately began the reseaoning process.
I slightly heated the dutch oven and coated all the surfaces evenly with Crisco. The first time I put the dutch oven in the oven for about 3 hours at 500F. Afterwards, I let the dutch oven cool and repeated the process the next three days, for a total of 4 coats.
Everything looked beautiful -- a smooth, shiny black surface covered the dutch oven. But the first time I used the dutch oven, for braised collard greens, the seasoning came off whereever the braising liquid had touched the metal, including the domed lid (from condensation). My best guess was that the acidity of the braising liquid, which was a combination of wine and wine vinegar, had taken the seasoning off the metal.
I also wondered if my oven wasn't hot enough or if I hadn't baked the cookware long enough. So after soaking the dutch oven in lye once again to get all surfaces down to bare metal, I repeated the process. This time, the temp was verified by an oven thermoment -- a bit over 500F -- and I left the cookware in the oven for a full five hours. I also let the cookware cool in the oven without opening the door. After four coats of seasoning, I waited three days before I used the dutch oven. The first three times I used it, I used it for nothing more than cooking bacon. After each use, I wiped down the inside with a paper towel, used a bit of soap and water to clean the bacon grease off the surface, gave it a light coat of olive oil and heated it on the stove just to the smoking point. After the three uses for cooking bacon, it looked even better than when it was first finished.
So I used it to cook corned beef and cabbage the other night. Nothing more than the corned beef, water and cabbage was put into the pot. And when the cooking was finished, the seasoning was once again off the inside of the dutch oven.
So what am I doing wrong?
Could it be that there is some residue from the lye cleaning bath that is inhibiting the bonding of the seasoning layer to the cast iron? Or is there something else going on here?
Help is desperately needed.