Wood Burning Cook Stoves
Wood burning cook stoves are great for getting two tasks done at the same time - a warm home and a full belly.
Originally developed in the 1800's, cast iron cook stoves quickly become a staple in many homes for their ability to warm the house and bake a loaf of bread. It's easy to see why these stoves become so popular.
You are most likely to run across them in antique shops or yard sales, but there are actually still some companies that produce these stoves. The newer cookstoves are usually replicas of the original models with some modern improvements.
Parts of the Wood Burning Cook Stove
Cook stoves came in many different shapes, sizes and varieties. Some were simply wood stoves with a flat top designed for cooking. Others had many features including a warming oven.
Here are the features that would be included in a larger range:
Hot Water Reservoir
Warming Oven (perfect for rising breads)
Air Controls to adjust burning
Wood Burning Cook Stove Tips
Here are a couple of tips for using these stoves:
Mastering the temperature of a wood cook stove takes time and experience. If you use it enough, you'll learn exactly how much wood to burn to get a desired temperature. It is especially tricky when cooking with the oven. My advice is to get a stand-alone thermometer that sits inside the oven and realize that you should try to keep an acceptable temperature range(plus or minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit).
Start the fire before you need to cook
Cook stoves take time to heat up to the proper temperature. This is especially important because you want a decent bed of coals to ensure a more consistent temperature. Keep this in mind and get the stove going an hour or so before you plan on making your meal.
Pros and Cons of the Wood Cook Stove
Like everything else the wood cook stove has its advantages and disadvantages.
The best and most obvious advantage is the ability to kill two birds with one stone. You get the heating value of a normal wood stove with the added functionality of a kitchen range.
The rustic look and feel of these stoves can really add charm to your home. Especially if you have a rustic home or log cabin, these stoves look great.
It is cheaper to heat with wood than propane, natural gas or electicity. This is especially true when you cut your own firewood.
Summertime heat. These stoves aren't exactly great for cooking when it is 90 degrees outside. You'll find yourself wanting a more modern solution when the mercury starts rising.
Cooking is more tricky. As I mentioned above, you need to learn how to use one of these stoves. Even after you have gotten the hang of the temperature, it can still be tough when cooking delicate foods in comparison to using a more modern appliance.
If you are looking for a way to add some old fashioned charm to your house, look into buying one of these stoves. Not only do they look nice, they also serve two functions. Just be weary about having one as your only option for cooking. Once the temperature rises, baking in a wood burning cook stove becomes a less attractive option.
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