I am on a mission to build up a good layer of cast iron seasoning from scratch, but it is not working.
I have a pan I had to sandpaper down to the metal and I have tried multiple times since then to build a strong even coat of seasoning on the pan, but to no avail. Anytime I get a base layer built up, it ends up flaking off as soon as I cook meat in it. Bacon even ruins it (which really frustrates me when I see the rest of the world just says 'cook some bacon in it to build up the seasoning'). Any type of fond on the pan will pull the seasoning off with it when cleaned.
I do not clean with soaps or metal objects. All cleaning is done with salt and paper towel and water as needed.
The only thing I can think I am possibly doing wrong is maybe the seasoning is too fresh to use for normal cooking. With this in mind, since the last time I have sanded down my pan I have only used it on below medium heat. This helped ensure food wouldn't stick to it as much and fond wouldn't build up. However, after multiple layers of seasoning and only using it on lower than medium heat the seasoning flaked off again the other night when I cooked spam in it.
The attached image shows a current picture of my pan. Last time I sanded it down I only sanded the inside bottom of the pan. That is why the sides are blacker. This is a 12" pan, which is larger than my burner, that is why the inner portion of the bottom is black and the outer area is brown. However, you will notice that even in the black center of the pan there is a lot of metal showing through where the seasoning has worn off.
What can I do to make my seasoning resilient enough that I can cook bacon in it like normal people!
Additional info: To start a base seasoning layer I lightly coat the pan with Canola oil and bake in the oven for an hour at 450 degrees (slowly coming up to temp). I then let it cool and I repeat this process a few times before I ever cook in it.