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Wood burning stove cooking

 
Posts: 19
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Is there such a thing as a recipe book for cooking on an old wood burning stove?
(Photo similar to what I have)
old-wood-stove.jpg
[Thumbnail for old-wood-stove.jpg]
 
rocket scientist
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Hi Charlette;
Nothing special about cooking on a wood stove.
No special cookbook required.
Hardest thing is controlling the heat.
The stove in your picture  would be quite hard to use as it is not very wide.
Once it got hot enough to really cook on... you would be trying to move your pan to a cooler spot.
You certainly can do so in a pinch.
The old wood cooking stoves had a large top to allow moving pans to a proper heat zone.

Use cast iron frypans and dutch ovens when wood cooking , they will maintain heat well.


20210525_111543.jpg
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Location: Virginia, USA
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Charlotte Boord wrote:Is there such a thing as a recipe book for cooking on an old wood burning stove?
(Photo similar to what I have)



Charlotte, I think there are books out there, but a stove like that is pretty simple.  You can boil things or fry things.  If the stove is blazing hot you can make tea.  If it is cooler you can simmer a stew.  Bacon is easy--no hot spots!

You do have to keep an eye on the heat  though, and know when the food is done.  Good luck!
 
pollinator
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If the stove is too hot you can use a "spacer" under your pan/pot to elevate it off the stove's top. A steel trivet or a gas stove burner top works really well for this. I've cooked lots of stuff including canning on a stove of this size/type, including baking in a dutch oven or covered griddle. You will quickly learn to adapt to this heat source, no special recipe book required.
 
master pollinator
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Charlotte Boord wrote:Is there such a thing as a recipe book for cooking on an old wood burning stove?



Why yes, there is!

A Year in the Off-Grid Kitchen. It's written by a Permie no less! I have a conventional kitchen, but she wrote it in a way it can be used on or off the grid. I have the book, and it is really good.
 
steward
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I honestly like cooking on my woodstove better than my electric stove. It has far more even heat and things just don't seem to stick to the pans as much.

Advantages:

~ Even heat. It heats the whole bottom of my pan, rather than just a ring like my electric stove. My food cooks so much nicer!

~ It heats my house at the same time!

~ Doesn't cost any electricity

~ You get used to the hot/warmer areas pretty quickly. I find the front middle of my stove is the hottest, and the back and  left sides are a bit cooler. So I could get something to a boil in the front, then move it to the back while I sizzle something else on the front. If something gets to hot, I can put it on the soapstone on the right of my stove, or put it on a trivet on the stove.

~ I found that 400F is about the same as medium-low ("3 or 4") on my electric stove. I think 650F is about the same as high ("9") on my electric stove. If I'm making pancakes, I like to have it around 450F, I think.

~ It works even when the power is out! Since this happens at least once, if not thrice, a year, I am grateful for my woodstove.

woodstove with soapstone for added mass
My wood stove. I have a brick tower to the left of it that has a soapstone slab on it. This a great place to put spatuals, batter, etc, while cooking. Once it gets warm, it's also a great warming spot for things!


Disadvantages:

~ It heats the house (obviously, I don't want to cook on it when it's summer!)

~ I have to bring in firewood and make a fire. Right now both my husband and I are injured, and getting firewood is hard. So we've been cooking on the electric stove.

~ It can get toasty cooking for a long time on the wood stove. I love scrambling eggs or heating soup or steaming veggies or other things that are either really quick, or that I can just put on there and forget about. I don't really like making waffles or pancakes for the whole family on there!

~ My stove is pretty small, and a lot of my wood has low BTU, and so doesn't burn very hot. This means I have to plan ahead if I want to boil water, make coffee, etc, because usually the stove top isn't over 450F.
 
pollinator
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I'll second the thought that if you don't want something to burn on the bottom of the pot
you can put something under it.
Like a piece of grill from a BBQ or I found some cast metal pieces that look like a leaf and have 3 short stubs to hold it off the surface.
I can have a hot fire and a slow cook.

If you put a big aluminum pot of cold water on a hot stove
you can warp the stove so the BBQ grill spacer protects the stove too.
 
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a great tip from teri over at homestead honey is that lots of flame is great for cooking things that need a lot of heat, lots of ember for slow cooking, and inside the stove, a side fire (shuffle hot coals over when it’s lower and cook beside it)

i made a little film that uses the wood stove to illustrate stacking functions, it has a fair bit of cooking in it. i made the trivet with a blacksmith a few years ago and it is gold for keeping things warm. nicole i like your extra cooking space additions!

we don’t oven need big hot fires all day on the southern pacific coast of canada so my cooking needs to be well planned.

the film is here: wood stove cookery, continuous improvement + permaculture in episode 1 of the journal of small work*
 
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Nicole covered it nicely above, but I can add a few points:

-Use a heavy apron (or two light ones) to protect your front/lower body from the heat. Sometimes I wrap a towel around my hips, double-folded in front.

-Smaller splits of wood are good for quick bursts of heat if you need it (our stove is large so getting it hot enough for the fancy flippy waffle iron can be difficult). Doesn't have to be precise: once a week I bungee several birch logs together and whack at them with a maul for five minutes, then one-arm the whole bungeed mass inside to the kindling box.

-Keep a pizza stone in the oven -- it makes a good surface for cooking, can be placed on the top of the stove to avoid overheating, and just generally holds heat well.

-Keep a stock pot or two of water going on top for heat retention, humidity, and just to have clean near-boiling water available always (so convenient). Put it aside if you need the surface.

-Entertain the kids with roasted marshmallows as special treats. Burn down to coals and crack the firebox door just enough to slide in a skewer. (I pull it back when browned on top, slide the marshmallow off with a fork, reverse it, and re-roast to perfectness. Try that on a bonfire.)

 
Posts: 71
Location: Meriden, NH
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I like cooking on a wood stove.  best camping trip ever! We arrived at a cabin in the Adirondacs, and your (picture) stove was it for cooking on and heat, and it rained the whole time.  I luckily brought a wok with lid, and we removed the stove insert.  It was great for making popcorn, as well as the usual stir fry and in a pinch makes donuts as a deep fryer.  It'll boil water quickly too.  So slow cooking is possible, but so is high fast heating.  Not so different than pre-woodstove era, when you simply raised up or lowered down the right kind of pot above or into the fire/coals.  Like all other forms of cooking it takes practice, and willingness to eat a bit of burnt-edged food.
 
gardener
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I have the cookbook mentioned above: a year in an off grid kitchen. Some thing I learned in there is how to keep an even heat. She explains better than I can that if you wait for everything to burn down before you add more wood all that cold wood cools things off and so she recommends that you feed the fire frequently even when there is plenty of fuel. I really recommend you get the book if you can.  

I guess you have to search the web for it. I do have an extra copy I got for someone who then didn’t want it. It is looking for a good home.
 
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Your pic looks like grandma's old "monster" Boiling, simmering is easy. Front may be little cooler. Trivit's of different heights let you adjust. Watched a video of baking bread in dutch oven on top by heating up the cover hot to brown and trivets under. (She used canning jar lids)
 
pollinator
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Anyone have a problem with rust while cooking? I'm not allowed to put anything on the wood stove now as the stove was rusting so easily.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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I got a strange product at the hardware store….  Stove black…. I have no idea what it’s made of, could be toxic gick….  But it did help with  the surface of woodstove…. Which I used to pour water on when I wanted more heat….  getting steam in addition to the radiant heat.  Never rusted after the stove black.
 
master gardener
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The version of stove black I have claims to be wax based.  This still leaves the question as to what the “wax” is made of.   After that, there is the matter of the pigments.  In it most innocent form it would be bee’s wax and carbon.  But I am sure there are more questionable concoctions.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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John F Dean wrote:The version of stove black I have claims to be wax based.  This still leaves the question as to what the “wax” is made of.   After that, there is the matter of the pigments.  In it most innocent form it would be bee’s wax and carbon.  But I am sure there are more questionable concoctions.



And a person could try melting beeswax and adding soot….
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
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Interesting. THanks guys!
 
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