It’s a cold winter day, much like the recent ones we have had in Central PA. Snow is falling, but you are warm and cozy inside with your cup of coffee in front of the wood stove.
Did you know that you could have heated water for tea or even brewed a cup of coffee on that wood stove? You probably already have a teapot for water to add humidity to the dry air, so why can’t you cook something there, too? Think a nice stew, a few dippy eggs, or baked bread! Even if your stove isn’t specifically designed for cooking (not many are these days), you can do a few things on the top with a little patience and by following some of these tips.
According to Theresa from Our Tiny Homestead, you can cook anything on top of a wood-burning stove as you would an electric or gas stove; you just can’t turn a knob and adjust the temperature in the same way. You need to get to know your wood-burning stove a little better and take a few extra steps to set it up.
Find the hottest spot
First, you want to find the “sweet spot”, the hottest part on the top, so you know where food will cook the quickest. This might take some time to figure out, but don’t be discouraged. If you want something to boil and fry while using your stove, that’s the place to be.
If you rather have something slow-cook, then you can pick a spot away from your “sweet spot” but that will still get the job done, just in a longer duration.
It’s important to preheat your pants to make sure your food cooks quicker. To do this, just place your pans on an empty spot on the stove. You can use any type of pots and pans. Cast iron is traditional, but you can use enamel and stainless steel. Be aware that thinner-walled pots and pans will heat quicker (and cook food faster).
Use a lid
This seems obvious, but it’s worth noting. Use a tight-fitting lid to trap heat and help the food cook.
It is possible that food could heat unevenly, and that all depends on a few things, such as how close you are to the sweet spot, how big that sweet spot is, and how big your stove is. Make sure to stir your pot a few more times or turn the pan periodically to get an even cooking.
We mentioned this a few times, but timing will definitely be different for a wood-burning stove than what is printed in a recipe, which goes off of a traditional electric or gas stove and oven. For a wood-burning stove, food will cook faster depending on how hot the fire is, the size of your sweet spot, and what you are cooking. It may take longer, or you could actually burn something faster if the fire is hotter than you can judge. You might know your electric or gas stove well and how long things will cook, but when you first start cooking on your wood-burning stove, keep a closer eye on your dish.
Want to add a wood-burning stove to your home? Contact AES Hearth and Patio if you live in Camp Hill, Carlisle & Central PA.