Cooking with wood - using your stove to maximum
It has probably crossed your mind that the heat emanating from your wood burning stove could be used for other things, along with heating your home. Cooking on top of your burner is a definite possibility if the appliance is suitable. Going even further, you may find yourself exploring the wide variety of range cookers available. The difference between the two approaches really comes down to how serious you are about cooking with solid fuels.
How can I cook on top of my wood burning stove?
Many models have a flat surface or circular plate on the top that allows for a kettle or pot to sit and absorb heat from the fire below. This can be a satisfying way to utilise the heat that is available for an additional purpose. Stove top users say that each stove is different and therefore it will take some time to learn how your particular model heats items placed on top of it. Regular users often find that they eventually progress from just boiling water to heating a pot of soup, and gradually worked their way up to more complicated cuisine, such as slow-cooked meat dishes.
What do I need to know about cooking on a wood stove?
Many recommend cast iron pots for use on top of the stove, with the traditional Dutch oven being highly regarded as a great way to hold heat for long periods of time. Methods to control the heat include the use of cast iron or metal trivets between the pot and the stove top. These will range in thickness, to diminish harsher burning heat and allow for air flow. The area closest to the flue, in the centre, will usually be the hottest. Temperatures will decrease as you move the pot outwards. It is suggested that you experiment with water to see which part of the stove is hotter, and go from there.
Should I buy a solid-fuel range cooker?
Range cookers can be powered by electricity, gas, coal, oil, pellets, wood, or a multi-fuel combination of the above. If you are using wood we recommend kiln dried logs for the best heat output. There are models that also include boilers for supplying hot water to the household. This is a far bigger commitment in terms of initial cost and set up. However, given the life of these built-to-last ovens, it could be an investment that pays off over the many years to follow.
Converts swear by their range cookers for consistently producing delicious food that retains its moisture, and most importantly, flavour. The well-known Aga cookers are perennial favourites – the quality of these cookers is what sets them apart, along with their unique design and iconic hot plate lids. Like all range cookers, they work by gently radiating heat throughout the oven. Then, once the oven is up to the desired temperature, the heat is steadily and consistently transferred to the food, which makes for great results.
The downside to having a solid fuel powered cooker is that in summer, they can overheat the room unwantedly. New technology has assisted with temperature control somewhat but for many, cooking on a wood stove way is reserved for the winter months, and you may need a standard electric cooker for the remaining parts of the year.