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Cooking on a wood heat stove


SlingMama

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I know there is already information on cooking on a wood cook stove but I've been experimenting with cooking on my Vermont Castings. This one: http://www.vermontcastings.com/content/pro...ails.cfm?id=169

 

So here goes.

 

Yesterday it was finally cold enough to fire up the wood stove and I managed to light a fire all by myself; I'm getting better at it. Later I decided I would cook rice pudding. So I mixed up everything and brought it to a boil on my electric stove. Then I took the the pot and put it right on the top of the wood stove. The thermometer on the wood stove was about 375 degrees. Well, my son said he needed something, I walk into the kitchen and next thing I know the pot is boiling over. I run to remove the pot as fast as possible and get the mess cleaned up but it already baked onto the surface. Sigh. Someone had told me I should use a griddle on the top of the stove if I was going to cook on it but I didn't think the stove was hot enough to make the pot boil over.

 

So, griddle it is. I took my cast iron griddle and put it on top of the stove. Once it reached 200 degrees I put the rice pudding pot back on. Didn't boil over this time. Gradually the the griddle reached 300 degrees, which gave me a nice simmer.

 

What I learned:

1. Always use a griddle on top of the stove to catch spills.

2. A 350 - 400 degree stove equals a nice simmer - about medium- low.

3. I'm guessing a 600 degree stove would equal medium heat. Maybe medium-high??

4. Dripped some rice pudding on the griddle and it hissed. It sounded hot enough to cook pancakes.

5. Put my *Double Oven from WiseMen Trading www.wisementrading.com/outdoorcooking/outdoorbaking.htm on the stove and a 400 degree stove equaled 325 degrees of heat in the camp oven. So I should be able to bake on the wood stove.

(*Just wow! I looked up the link and the price on the oven has skyrocketed. I think the price I paid for the oven a few months ago was $45.)

6. Today I put my 9 quart dutch oven on top of the wood stove and placed an oven thermometer inside. The thermometer on the top of the wood stove was 275 degrees and inside the dutch oven 250 degrees. So better heat in the dutch oven than the Double Oven.

 

And just wanted to add that I've used the Double Oven on my electric stove to heat up leftovers and it worked fine. Problem is, the Double Oven only fits 8" or smaller pans so nothing I currently have except an 8" cake pan fits inside. On the other hand I can fit one big bread loaf 9 1/2" x 5 1/2" inside the dutch oven or 9" cake pan or ... The dutch oven is going to work better with the bakeware I currently have. But wow, that 9 quart is so, so heavy. If it was full of soup I don't think I could lift it. Wondering if that much weight would be bad of the top of the stove. Probably need to stick with my stainless steel pots for soup and such.

 

 

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I recently baked quick bread "inside" our small wood heating stove in the living room. I have a wood cook stove but it's not hooked up yet and DGS and I were doing history and he wanted to know about cooking in a fire.

 

I have a small footed Dutch that fit through the rather small door of the stove nicely and I have small bread pans that fit inside. We used rocks under the small pans as an extra insurance against burning the bottoms. I could have used a layer of corn meal as well but didn't want to waste the meal if it was too hot.

 

I didn't take the time to test the temp in the pan though I sure appreciated your temperature observations Sling Mama and wished I HAD done so. It was not difficult to get the pan through the door and into the coals using the log lifter but it WAS difficult getting the coals onto the lipped lid there being no space to use the shovel once the pot was in. As it was, I should have realized that no coals are necessary on the top of the pot simply because the stove is all inclosed and the heat was exactly like an oven where the heat source is on the bottom but the heat is spread through the whole area.

 

After burning the first small loaf because of the coals on top and not adjusting the time for the smaller loaf, the second and third loaves turned out perfectly with only six minutes of baking.

 

The one true difficulty was in getting the hot pot OUT of the stove. The bail handle is a bit tall and with it upright, being held by the wood lifter, I couldn't get the right angle for leverage and as you say, those pots, even though this was a small one, are heavy.

 

DGS (almost seven) loved doing it though and learned some valuable lessons along with his grandma LOL. I miss the Franklin type fireplace that we used to have for I am more skilled and knowledgable about cooking in a wood cookstove, a fireplace or in an open fire than in a small closed in stove but I am NOT too old to learn and enjoyed doing so.

 

I have cooked stews, rice, meat, and other foods that need to slow cook on the top of that stove though and have found that attention to stoking the fire must be watched if the product is not to either get too hot or worse yet, too cold to be within a safe cooking range. Safety of the food is always paramount in any food preparation.

 

Sling Mama, I really appreciate your taking time to post this, especially the attention to the temperature details. That really helps to give an idea of what the rest of us can do with our own wood stoves.

bighug

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Check out the Coleman Camp Oven. This is a nice unit that folds up to a 13" square about 2 1/2 - 3" thick.

 

At Wal-Mart they cost about $28. The oven is 13" square with one shelf. An 8 1/2" pane will make it through the door (a 9" MAY fit - I didn't have one to try). You will most likely have to order this online and have it delivered to your local WM store (I have never seen them in stock in the store)

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Originally Posted By: Campy
Check out the Coleman Camp Oven. This is a nice unit that folds up to a 13" square about 2 1/2 - 3" thick.

The oven is 13" square with one shelf. An 8 1/2" pane will make it through the door (a 9" MAY fit - I didn't have one to try).


I saw that one and I think it will fit slightly larger pans as well. But what I really want is the big oven from Lehman's http://www.lehmans.com/shopping/product/...;iProductID=110 Probably ain't gonna happen though frown But I can drool smile


And I have to tell you more about my latest cooking experiment. I'm really excited.
So tonight I decided to cook jasmine brown rice. Put the griddle on top of the wood stove to heat while I brought my rice to a boil on the electric stove.
Rice comes to a boil. Take it off the heat and let it sit for about a minute (don't want a repeat of the boiling over incident - even with the griddle on top of the stove).
Put pot on the griddle. Griddle is 200 degrees. Checked 15 minutes later and griddle is 300 degrees.
Let rice cook for about an hour. Lift lid and .... smilesmilesmile absolutely perfect, fluffy, tasty - oh my, the best brown rice I have ever made!!! Near as I can figure bathing the pot in wood stove heat, instead of just bottom heating on an electric stove, made all the difference.
But that is not all, oh no, that is not all. After I took the rice off the stove I took the griddle into the kitchen and used it as a hot plate for the rice and stir-fry.

Did I tell you how much I love our wood stove? Not only does it heat our home but it also cooks yummy food and saves on the electric bill. I mean, why run an electric burner and use up electricity when I have an even better stove in the living room.

Little happy dance dancing
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Wood stove cooking is different than cooking on a regular stove. It does take a "knack" to get it right, but once you do, the food definitely tastes better and in a lot of cases it even cooks faster. I believe the better taste and faster cooking is due to the cast iron utensils that are typically used on wood stoves.

 

Slingmamma, that oven from Lehmans is gorgeous, THEN I saw the price eek

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Originally Posted By: Campy
Slingmamma, that oven from Lehmans is gorgeous, THEN I saw the price eek


I know. Whimper, whimper. But maybe if I'm very, very, very good, keep the grocery expenditures down and use the wood stove a lot to keep the electric bill low then maybe, just maybe, I can talk Santa into a Christmas, birthday, anniversary present from Lehman's prettyplease


Oh, and speaking of Lehman's. Their catalog just arrived in the mail and they sell a book about wood stove cooking. The title is American Wood Heat Cookery. The book description states, "almost three hundred dishes you can make on your heating stove, from soups to sweets. Methods, cookware and utensils, stove care, wood tips and proper fire temperature." Anybody have this book? If so, is it helpful?
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Been experimenting some more with the wood stove. This morning I cooked granola in the Double Oven, later heated water to add some humidity to the air and for dinner cooked split pea soup. So, near as I can tell a wood stove temperature of:

 

300 degrees = low/simmer

400 degrees = medium/vigorous simmer

500 degrees = high/boil

 

This is for an altitude of about 7000 feet.

 

Using my Lodge cast iron griddle under the cooking pot decreases the temperature by about 100 degrees (probably due to the ridges on the under side of the griddle). For instance, tonight the wood stove was 400 degrees. This temperature was too hot for the split pea soup so I placed the pot on the griddle. Griddle temp reached a max 300 degrees; a perfect simmer.

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Oh I love that oven at Lehmans! Maybe just maybe I can talk my way into that one. That would be great for us. I want a wood cookstove but the price on those is wayyy higher and probably isn't going to happen for me. That oven could go over my woodburning stove in the house in the winter. Ohhh I want, I want!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I cook on our woodstove all the time and love it smile

 

I'm so glad to find other people who do too.

 

Ours is just a tiny 14 inch but it works very well for heating and cooking. I would like to have a similar one on the porch for summer cooking. A wood cook stove would be nice too smile

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  • 2 weeks later...

More wood stove cooking.

 

I recently bought a stove top popcorn popper, this one http://www.amazon.com/Back-Basics-Stove-Po...r/dp/B000068FH4 but no window in the lid. Tried it on the wood stove yesterday with a stove top temperature of about 475 degrees - no go. The stove wasn't hot enough so it took too long for the popcorn to pop and by then it was burnt.

Tried again today but this time with a stove top temperature of 550 degrees and this time the popper worked wonderfully smile Much better popcorn and more kernels popped than with my old air popper.

 

 

After popcorn success I was feeling ambitious and decided to try cooking whole wheat tortillas. The wood stove was a little over 500 degrees, which gave me a cast iron griddle temperature of 400 degrees. Turns out that is about perfect tortilla temperature grin so I cooked the entire double batch of tortillas on the wood stove.

 

 

So I'm really happy with my wood stove experiments but ... wow is it hot cooking right next to a wood stove! Turning the crank on the popcorn popper for 3-4 minutes and I thought I was going to faint of heat stroke. On baking day did those pioneer women wear just their underwear? Or would almost bare skin be even worse? Or maybe a wood cook stove doesn't put out so much heat as a heat stove shrug

 

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It really is hot cooking on any wood stove. The pioneer women, or should I say settlers for most pioneer didn't have a wood stove but a fire place instead, usually wore a long skirt and a long sleeved blouse if they were from a northern area. In the summer time the stoves were usually in another building near the house (the summer kitchen)but in the winter time I believe they were glad of the heat from the stove as that was normally the only heat source they had. (no furnaces then) In the south in the past the long sleeves were often replaced with shorter ones and most cooking was done in the summer kitchen or a separate portion of the house.

 

I have cooked for many years on a wood cook stove, both winter and summer,both in the house and in a summer kitchen, and found them hot no matter what the circumstances, especially canning. A cook stove though, does give more heat to the top compared to the front whereas a wood heating stove is meant to give heat off the front into the room. Try standing more to the side if possible.

 

They did have pop corn poppers in the past but they were usually long handled and were shaken over the fire from a distance and not cranked at close range. Utensils and even pans usually had longer handles also. Some of the pop corn poppers were a mesh, some a closed pan.

 

As for your pop corn popper....you might try heating the oil fairly hot before adding the popcorn. The corn will pop sooner and can be popped at a lower temp as well. Another trick might be to figure out an extension to place over the crank handles that would get you back a little. An invaluable aid for any wood cooking is a long cuffed welding glove. It is a bit awkward so be sure to get a size to fit your hand.

 

I have a long handled corn popper that is a square closed in box with a sliding screen top. It is meant for use with an open fire but I've used it on and in the wood stove both. It's also useful as a mini oven to bake small things or to put a smaller container inside the popper for heating up items. It can be used as a sandwhich maker in a pinch though I love my long handled pie irons for that. They are also meant for use over an open fire.

 

Can you open the doors on your wood stove and cook inside over the flames or in the coals? That would open up a whole new world of cooking for you.

 

bighug

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Originally Posted By: Mother

I have a long handled corn popper that is a square closed in box with a sliding screen top. It is meant for use with an open fire but I've used it on and in the wood stove both. It's also useful as a mini oven to bake small things or to put a smaller container inside the popper for heating up items. It can be used as a sandwhich maker in a pinch though I love my long handled pie irons for that. They are also meant for use over an open fire.


Oh, that sounds nice. Before I bought my crank model I looked around for a mesh box popper but couldn't find one - although honestly I didn't do much looking on the Internet. I did think that holding a box popper over a wood stove wouldn't work very well (not enough heat), which is why I bought the on the stove model. And I am finding that standing to the side of the stove is more comfortable - but still hot. Just have to get used to the heat I guess.


Originally Posted By: Mother
Can you open the doors on your wood stove and cook inside over the flames or in the coals? That would open up a whole new world of cooking for you.


I can open the doors although if I open the left door too much I get smoke puffing out. Don't know why it doesn't smoke out the right door shrug Anyway. Hadn't really thought of cooking in the coals. Oh my, that would be nice. Only then I need more cast iron pots. (Shhh, don't tell DH.)
I printed out your Cooking Over a Fire information but I think I need to pull it out and read it again because a whole new world of cooking sounds very, very nice.

Thanks for the info thanks and any more tips would be very welcome. I'm a bit new to this whole wood stove cooking thing blush
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Gosh you all make me miss my old Monarch. :sob:

Number on lesson learned with tit---let my DH split the wood. smile I used to tell him what I needed and he magically made the fire work just right. He cooked the bested ever apple pie for me! (The man can't make campbells soup on an electric range!!)

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Originally Posted By: ol'momma
I recommend getting a copy of the book "Woodstove Cookery-At Home on the Range" by Jane Cooper. You'll find it is full of useful information.


I'll have to check that out. Thanks for the tip.

Oh, and about the DHs taking care of the fire - yep. My DH is better at getting the fire going in the stove than I am. Although I'm learning smile
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Originally Posted By: DenimDaze
How do you tell what temperature the stove surface and inside the stove is? An oven thermometer?


We have a stove thermometer. Like this one: http://www.lehmans.com/shopping/product/...ord=thermometer that lives on top of the stove. Now how to tell the temperature inside the stove? I don't know. If it was just coals I guess you could use an oven thermometer inside shrug


But now I have a question. I was taking my griddle off the stove and just brushing my pot holder over the stove top burned the pot holder, plus it left a small mark of burnt fabric on the stove. So anyone know the best method to move my griddle? I looked a silicone pot holders but most are rated to only 500 degrees - although that might be adequate. Or maybe I could slide a wooden stick or spoon under the griddle? Might push the griddle right over the edge though. Any ideas?
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When it came to telling how hot my stove was, I guess I just kinda learned from experience. After a while You can just tell.

Hold your hand over it..say 3" over the cook top and you can gage pretty well how hot it is ...slow, med, or high. Same thing with the oven. Put your hand it and see how fast it gets toasty. The book I mentioned explains it.

 

Please remember that here in the frozen north we are burning pine and cotton wood (both soft woods) and they produce a different heat ratio then hard wood down south. Also how well dried your wood is makes a big difference in how much heat it puts out and how quickly it heats up, and how long it burns.

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cooking on the wood cookstove takes some time to learn and watch, today was making beef broth with a huge water bather kettle and had it full of bones and it was boiling in no time ...let it boil for over an hour.....cooked dinner of chili dogs on it at the same time......we cook with our stove year round takes less wood at this time of the year to get it hot and cook and keep the house warm....NO!!!!! do not have a small house it is 2500+ sf......and once the big heater has the living room warm and kitchen stove is going i let the living room stove go out and just keep kitchen wood cook stove going and cook dinner and do some of the canning on it.......have never used a griddle under my pots......just move them to the right side of stove where it is not as hot........take care and keep the faith

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Originally Posted By: motherearth
have never used a griddle under my pots......just move them to the right side of stove where it is not as hot.....


Well, my stove is a heat stove and not a cook stove so that presents some cooking challenges. To really heat our house, especially since we have really tall ceilings, we need to get the stove to 500 degrees or hotter. A stove top temperature of 500 or above gives me a boil, so if I want a simmer temperature I need to lower the heat by placing a griddle underneath the pot. (Need to get myself a cast iron trivet as well.) And I've checked the edges of the stove top and they are only about 25 - 50 degrees cooler than the middle - so that doesn't help much.
Now I don't need to take the griddle off the wood stove however, I like to take it off and put it in the kitchen to use as a warming plate - keeps the food toasty warm. Which brings me to the pot holder problem confused
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Originally Posted By: SlingMama
And I've checked the edges of the stove top and they are only about 25 - 50 degrees cooler than the middle - so that doesn't help much.


Typed before I tested blush I thought I'd checked the stove top edges before now - maybe different fire? But this morning I have 525 degrees on the center griddle and 425 degrees on the back corners. Still too hot to simmer but a fine temp for a medium heat.

Alright, anyone able to tell I'm obsessed with wood stove cooking rofl
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Find some welding gloves in your size for use around the fire. They can't be beat and won't leave a smudge, which, by the way is probably because the pot holders were partially synthetic. If you can't do the leather, find or make 100% cotton pot holders.

 

Removing that smudge might be difficult depending on the surface material.

 

As for heating the house with the stove, think fans. We use fans to move the heat from the area of the stove to where it's needed. We have low ceilings but slanted up over the heating stove in the living room. I don't have my wood cook stove in the kitchen yet so we use a very small fan that screws into a light ficture in the ceiling to bring the heat down and then a small corner door fan in the door way between rooms to move heat to a cooler area. Our stove is an older Country Comfort and it has a blower in the back that moves air through chanels above the firebox. That's good for moving heat but really cuts down on the cooking heat on the top. I can simmer and that's about it if the stove is going full force. The door is small so I can only use small Cast iron pots in the coals but my long handled things work fine with the door open.

 

I tell temps by holding my hand where I want cook. After years of practice I can pretty tell what is going to cook where but I DID use a thermometer to beging with to teach me what each temp felt like.

 

As for smoking with one door and not the other, is the damper closed in the chimney pipe when it does it? Sometimes opening the damper, if you have one, stops that. Does it smoke when both doors are open? I used to cook in our franklin stove all the time, using long legged trivets to hold pots above the coals or working to one side of the fire box using coals I put there with a small shovel. You can also cook in a double pot set up using hot coals in between the two or under and over the smaller pot inside the bigger one. Think moving coals instead of pots. Of course, that WOULD mean more cast iron pots but I won't tell grin (I have dozens of them in all sizes)

 

You are NOT obsessed....You are PREPARING!!!!!! rofl

bighug

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Mother you are a wealth of information thanks

 

Originally Posted By: Mother
Find some welding gloves in your size for use around the fire. They can't be beat and won't leave a smudge, which, by the way is probably because the pot holders were partially synthetic. If you can't do the leather, find or make 100% cotton pot holders.

Welding gloves it is. DH bought some leather fireplace gloves but they are too big for my hands - too cumbersome to use for anything more than dropping logs in the stove.

And I'm sure you are right about the pot holders being made from partially synthetic fabric because the spot that touched the stove melted more than burned. I just bought some new crocheted pot holders and I think they might be 100% cotton because they feel different than the other ones. Have to give them a delicate try.

 

 

 

Originally Posted By: Mother
As for heating the house with the stove, think fans. We use fans to move the heat from the area of the stove to where it's needed.

 

We have fans as well and the house had a wood stove chimney in it when we moved in so the fan placement is really almost perfect.

 

 

 

Originally Posted By: Mother
As for smoking with one door and not the other, is the damper closed in the chimney pipe when it does it? Sometimes opening the damper, if you have one, stops that. Does it smoke when both doors are open?

 

Damper is open. I think the smoking is generally due to the draft coming down the chimney and that depends on the strength of the wind outside. We have a really steep roof with a smaller, upper roof so we get some weird downdrafts on windy days. One solution to this problem would be to extend the chimney but I don't want to do that because then I couldn't send DH up to clean the chimney himself. With the way the economy is(n't) I'd rather battle with strange drafts than have to count on always being able to hire a chimney sweep.

 

 

 

Originally Posted By: Mother
I used to cook in our franklin stove all the time, using long legged trivets to hold pots above the coals or working to one side of the fire box using coals I put there with a small shovel. You can also cook in a double pot set up using hot coals in between the two or under and over the smaller pot inside the bigger one. Think moving coals instead of pots. Of course, that WOULD mean more cast iron pots but I won't tell grin (I have dozens of them in all sizes)

 

Cooking in hot coals ... hmmm. I think between my hot stove top and my little stove top oven there wouldn't be any need for me to cook in the coals however, also thinking that knowing how to cook over coals is a valuable skill. And come summer it is going to be too hot to cook in the wood stove... Ah shoot, now you have me wanting an outdoor fire pit grin Wonder if I can line the inside of the barbeque grill with something and put wood inside? Disconnecting the propane first, of course, so I don't blow up the back patio rofl Or get out the trusty pick ax and dig myself a fire pit - and then try not to burn up my desert back yard whistling

 

Originally Posted By: Mother
You are NOT obsessed....You are PREPARING!!!!!! rofl

 

How about preparing obsessed wink And do you think I can convince DH that cooking over the wood stove will cut the electric bill enough to justify more cast iron pots? yesno

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You are probably right about the smoke, SM, we have the same thing. I, too, am grateful that DH can clean our chimneys as he does it at least once a month depending on the usage. He just won't take any chances.

 

Let's see, justifying more cast iron pans. Hmmmm,,,yup, IF you look for them at flea markets, garage sales, and etc. There are still a lot out there to be found and they aren't that hard to refinish if needed. grin Besides, WHEN you get that outside "kitchen" area built, you will be able to use them all year. Have you thought of building a fire area ON TOP of the soil? Cement blocks will work though I've seen regular ones crack with the heat. We have a fire pit that I cook on, just a hole dug in the ground surrounded by rocks and etc but I have plans in my head for a whole outside kitchen complete with oven, cook top, and open fire area. (dream dream) I've had them at other homes in the past and loved them. smile

 

Knowing how to cook in the coals or in an open fire is a definite plus. And knowing how to do it with primative utensils (not cast iron) is even more so. We never know when that skill might be called for. Roasting over the coals using a primative spit, cooking bannock on a stick, building a ground oven, boiling in bark containers with hot rocks, etc., these are all skills that are better learned when they are not needed.

 

Besides, it's fun.....grin

 

bighug

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