Seasoning cast iron or mineral pans
Yes, we did it and it works. It takes a lot of time and patience. We followed the Cooks Illustrated instructions after other methods had failed. However, we still don't use soap on the pan - no need, really. It is virtually non-stick at this point and I really don't want to have to re-season it again.
The CI instructions were based on this article:
"he seasoning on cast iron is formed by fat polymerization, fat polymerization is maximized with a drying oil, and flaxseed oil is the only drying oil that’s edible. From that I deduced that flaxseed oil would be the ideal oil for seasoning cast iron."
cowboyarde documented his experience using flaxseed oil seasoning:
< I recall reading that this works so well that you can actually use soap on the pan to clean it up after cooking. >
You can use soap on seasoned pan -- independent of linseed or not.
Food grade flaxseed (linseed) oil, 10 thin coats over about 30 mins on a rather hot grill, after that fry something hot and fatty in it (bacon, for instance) a couple times to cure out the oil well, and you'll have something as good as any non-stick pan out there IMO.
For me the 'fry something hot and fatty in it' rule is the important one. Either that or you can bake it in an oven for a couple hours at 350-400. If it is 'sticky' after seasoning it needs to be baked more (or you put your coats on too thick).
If it flakes off later in orangish flakes, your coats were too thick. The coats should be wiped on with an oil soaked rag, and almost immediately wiped off with a dry one, the coats must be THIN. ALso make sure you're using 100% flaxseed oil. A lot of the stuff in the heath food stores is not.
The 'no soap' rule is written by people who have never seasoned a pan properly.
P.S. When I say bacon I do not mean that thin sugar cured crap you get at most stores either. It needs to either be real, thick bacon, or else you need to deep fry something in there. At any rate you need to do something to cure the seasoning (cook with it using a lot of fat of SOME sort) or it will be a bit less than non-stick initially.