Cook Food Good

American Cooking and Technique for Beginners and Intermediates

Patina or Baking Soda?

Posted on | September 6, 2010 | No Comments Print This Post Print This Post

Some people seem to think it’s necessary to force a patina on carbon knifes.  As always, “it depends.”  A few carbon alloys are very reactive.  But most can be scoured and stabilized with baking soda.

In the old days we used to rub it on with a wine cork or a potato.  Now, a Scotch-Brite cloth seems like the best way to go.

Here’s a “before” picture of my go-to gyuto taken a couple of days ago:

IMG00074

When this picture as taken it had been about three months since the knife was scrubbed down with soda.  I let it go an extra month so a polished edge would contrast against the dark of the patinated blade.

You can see that the staining is about three-quarters of the way there to a really nice patina.  (More on that later.)

Here’s the “after” picture, taken tonight:

IMG00081 “After” means  less than five minutes with a new Scotch-Brite and some baking soda.  Note that the Scotch Brite must be new, or the treatment won’t work as well.

The knife doesn’t look exactly new.  It has the glow of a well maintained and well beloved tool.  Very attractive and appropriate, no?

Some people prefer a more antique looking patinas.  If you’re starting with a new knife and want the sort in the “before” picture, stabilize the knife by treating it with baking soda every day or every other day for a few weeks.  The baking soda will help prevent rust while your knife passivates.

After a while, switch to normal cleaning with soap, water, and a worn-down Scotch Brite – but no more baking soda.  In a few months, you’re knife will develop the same dark patina as my knife has in the “before picture.”

The kind of guy who is starting out in carbon knives, is frequently the kind of guy who has discovered Bar Keeper’s Friend and it’s myriad uses.  Word to the wise:  Baking soda is not Bar Keeper’s Friend.  Bar Keeper’s Friend is a good polisher, better than baking soda in many ways.  But it will leave an oxalic acid residue on the knife – which can accelerate a patina, but might also allow the knife to rust.  Better to keep the BKF away from your carbons.

As a rule, it’s better to either force a patina quickly, as with a soak in acidulated water, or diluted vinegar; or to use the slower, baking soda method, than choose a technique that’s neither here nor there.

BDL

Print Friendly

Comments

Leave a Reply





    WHO IS BDL, Boar D. Laze, or whatever the hell his name is?

    A Brief Biography:

    Ex-Navy Seal; Ex-Victoria’s Secret model; Turned down a three-way with Sophia Loren and the young Marlene Dietrich (as in the Blue Angel) because had other plans; Knows who killed everyone in The Big Sleep, and why; Chaired the work-group which invented Time, Space, Gravity, Fire and Holiday Sweaters; Prefers Dickel to Jack.

    What is Cook Food Good?

    What’s this site about? It’s about a lot of things
    Forcing myself to work out issues relating to writing a cookbook: COOK FOOD GOOD: American Cooking and Technique for Beginners and Intermediates.
    Getting feedback on my work from you.
    Discussions on basic and not-so-basic techniques. The recipes here are very technique driven. Similarly, the idea behind the book is to be far more about the how than the what – with the goal of teaching you to create your own recipes and tweak other people’s, confidently and successfully.
    How to cook better, as it relates to you (and me too). That is, taking a beginner or advanced beginner to good, restaurant quality. Mostly this will be (more or less) French technique and (more or less) American food. But only mostly, more or less.
    Recipes for this, that and the other.
    Knives and all about sharpening them (which have somehow become a subject on which I frequently get asked for advice): How to choose and how to use.
    The first Cook Food Good Blog was hosted by the website, Chef Talk. However, CT, removed its blog section. If you’re interested in bad writing, poor punctuation and ancient history, you’ll find the old CT posts archived here. One thing about posting on CT, was that it acted as a sort of language and attitude super-ego. Don’t count on it here. This is naked id.

    Subscribe to CookFoodGood

    Search

    Admin