Monday, November 5, 2012

Baking in a Wood Cookstove

After a chilly day, what better than to curl up in front of a wood burning stove?  I'll tell you what's better ... brownies baked in said stove.

Yep, fire just couldn't satisfy that chocolate craving.  And what goes good with brownies?  If you said wine you are right but that's not what I was thinking of.

A cookstove tour!

My cat and dog know whats up!

When we first fired up the stove I couldn't help but feel nervous about a thousand some degree fire in the middle of my kitchen.  Who wouldn't be nervous?  I just didn't feel comfortable having the fire going without my husband there.  Finally I had to put on my big girl panties and get over it.  Thousands of people safely heat their homes with fire.  Our chimney is clean and with proper care and maintenance we too can warm our home without burning it to the ground.

So I am now over (or constructively dealing with) my fear of the wood stove, and am free to cook and bake as much as my little heart desires. I have learned the sounds my stove makes and I know without even walking into the room how fast it's heating up, if it's cooling down, or even if I need to add more logs.  Each stove has it's own personality and it's important to know what yours is saying to you.

With lots of practice, trial and error;  I have become fairly good at controlling the temperature.

The direct draw allows air to enter the firebox and smoke to leave.  Whenever I am starting a fire I open this to help warm up the chimney and let out the extra smoke that I always have from my kindling.  Once the stove pipe reaches 250 degrees I close this so the chimney doesn't get too hot.

To control the temperature I use the spin drafts.  These spin open or closed allowing me to adjust how much oxygen the fire receives, therefore controlling the intensity of the fire.  If my house is already warmed and I just need a fire to maintain that heat, I usually keep them open only slightly.  When I want a hot fire to bake or cook with, I open them up and let it burn.  It usually takes about 5-10 minutes for the fire to do what I want after adjusting the drafts, so I have gotten pretty good about timing when my pot will need a cooler temperature or my oven hotter.  I am even able to put out a fire with these drafts.

When I first started lighting fires in the stove, I had a horrible time getting one to start and stay lit.  I have since discovered that opening the ash clean-out door lets in enough air to get a nice fire going quickly.  If we want a really hot fire, I leave these open.  This is the quickest way to heat up the chimney and warm the house.

When I bake in the stove, I use my normal bake ware with exception of glass.  I have heard that glass lets things burn too easily, and it's just as easy for me to use something else.

In this particular stove, as it is in most wood cook stoves, food is heated from the top, down.  Baking things evenly can be tricky.  You can't just stick a cake in the oven and forget about it till the timer goes off.  I rotated my brownies about every 5 minutes.  How often you turn your dish depends on what you are baking.  For example, I would turn a roast probably about every 15 to 20 minutes.

Some people will even set their dish on the stove top for a few minutes before they put it in the oven, so the bottom has a chance to bake since the top will get done faster.  If you are making bread you would want to cover the top with aluminum foil just before it's done to prevent it from burning.

Even when you can control the temperature of the fire, adjusting the temperature in the oven may require some additional tools.  When I feel that the temperature is too hot and I need to lower it quickly, I use my handy dandy temperature control device.  I would like to say that this is the only reason we buy pop but I would be lying.  I will admit that while I try really hard to eat organic or natural, I do have one weakness.  I guess it's better than smoking or drinking.

While this process involved a little more work, the outcome is most delicious.  Behold the cookstove brownie!  My day is now complete.

UpdateSeveral people have asked where I purchased my stove.  We went through Stoves and More.  I highly recommend them.  Their prices were the best I found and their customer service went above and beyond.

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  1. Hi Christina, I’m Anne from Life on the Funny Farm (, and I’m visiting from Farmgirl Friday.

    Pretty cool! Looks complicated, but it looks like you've got it pretty well fiured out. Love the way you write with such humor! Brought a smile to my face.

    Anyway, thanks for posting this. I hope you can pop by my blog sometime to say hi…

  2. Oh this excites me as I really want a wood burning stove!!

  3. Power Outage across the south in 1993 (not sure if that was the year or not) we took the top off our Ashley wood stove (heater) and cooked in the box. I loved it and so now am going to talk to hubby about the 'real' thing.
    Thank you for the post, it brought back great memories.

  4. Wow I love this and didn't know these were still available. Where did you buy yours and what was the round about damage?? Would love this for our future homestead.

  5. Hello from a fellow Margin stove owner! We have a Margin Gem. It sounds like our two stoves are quite different to operate. I have a blog dedicated to cooking on woodburning cookstoves. Please stop by for a visit and feel free to comment from a Flameview owner's point of view.

  6. Good work! I always like to leave comments whenever I see something unusual or impressive. I think we must appreciate those who do something especial. Keep it up, thanks


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