Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wood Cookstove Maintenance

For the past month, I have been using our cookstove for ALL of my baking and cooking needs.  I have been wanting to become very competent using the wood cookstove so that in the event that I have no choice, it won't come as a shock to my system.  I have used my stove off and on for years, but when it came to doing certain things, it was easier to use my propane oven.  I could just set a timer and go on about my business.  With a wood cookstove, you have to be actively involved in your cooking or baking.  You have to rotate pans, adjust drafts, cover foods so that they don't get too dark and sometimes even prop the door open when the oven it too hot.

I've been noticing that I have been having a hard time getting the bottom of whatever I am baking done at the same time the top is done.  The other night I made pizza's that were perfect on the top and nothing but dough on the bottom!  (Now I think I will cook them in a cast iron skillet on the top of the cookstove first and then pop them in the oven to finish baking!)

I was explaining my dilemma to Sir Knight (O.K., so I might have been complaining!) and he said, "I probably need to clean the ash out from under the oven so that heat can get through".  Of course.  Why didn't I think of that?

This is what we found when Sir Knight commenced cleaning...

The ash clean-out under the oven

Putting the ash clean-out door back in place

Lo and behold - the bottom is cooking so much more evenly!  I guess that even my trusty wood cookstove needs maintenance from time to time!


  1. Those sturdy working man's hands look so competent and comforting. Isn't it nice to have an able man around the house?

  2. And what, if anything, do you do with the ashes? Use them to amend the soil? Use them in an outhouse to subdue the odor? Use them to suppress the weeds around the mailbox?

    Just curious. Waste not, want not - as my mom used to say.

    NoCal Gal

  3. Wood ashes can be leached to make lye, for soapmaking.