Monday, October 31, 2011

Off-grid cooking... It is done with wood and time...



Truth be told, while you are preparing tonight's supper, we are preparing tomorrow's...  In fact, I just started our morning coffee and it is about 4:30 pm here.  

Wood stove baking and cooking is really not that hard.  You'd be surprised how quickly you learn when it is your only option.  Kinda like the sink or swim theory!  You figure it out.

The first thing I learned was to plan way ahead, like 24 hours.  This way you are not nervous things will be cooked properly.  My confidence is better now but if company is coming I always cook ahead...

The second thing I learned very quickly is the hottest heat is at the top of the oven and can place cookie sheets and pans right on the bottom of the oven for more slow cooking.  

A 18x24 cake takes about 45 minutes when the oven is heated to the right temps...  How do I know the right temp?  The tinkering the stove makes, the pots boiling a certain way and more...  I can tell by the "sound" of the stove a room away what it's temperature is.

Honestly, I cannot explain it all.  I just know now.  I didn't always "know", but after 3 years, now I know...  It is one of life's daily chores that now seems to just "happen" naturally -like riding a bike, milking a cow or swimming -  you had to learn, it was hard- once you have got it, you've "got it"...

Another truth be told, while on vacation last year I almost burned the place down while cooking on the electric range.  For real...  

I truly now am a wood cook stove cooker and baker...  I am officially crossed over.  And any meal here wouldn't be complete without everyone pitching in, young or old, boy or girl...  Our 10 year old daughter can cook and bake on/in a wood fired cookstove like nobody's business...  People ask us how we teach the children these types of things?  Another truth, we engage them down to the youngest (safety first of course) in age to start helping so this all seems natural to them when the time is right...  

Here is our 4 year old carving out squash for tomorrow's supper.

You must know that things were not always this way.  3 1/2 years ago it was much different in our kitchen.  But, I do not miss my Bosch electric range...  Ok, maybe a tad in the heat of summer.  But more on that later...

(Pictured, garden squash -we will eat 6 whole!- and tomorrow morning's coffee)


11 comments:

loves2spin said...

I have not had to cook on a wood range, but I do understand what you mean be getting the feel, sound, and smell of things when they are working right and when they are ready and done. I can cook very nicely over an open fire and that is a friendly and comforting challenge. Good for you! I am anxious to hear how you do deal with the heat of cooking in the summertime.

Ann at eightacresofeden said...

I truly do admire you Ang. I actually did bake in my woodstove over winter - one lot of roast potatoes and one loaf of bread on the day when I managed to really get it up to temperature for baking. Such a feeble effort! Even though it was winter this is Australia and we nearly roasted on that day! Most days it just ticked over at a comfortable but cozy temperature and that was sufficient to heat our water, keep our home warm and dry clothes inside on the ladder rack on rainy days. As soon as spring arrived I knew we would have to discontinue using it. You don't miss your modern stove at all? Not even a teensy little bit? I love my modern stove - an Ilve because it bakes to perfection and I love to bake but I also love my Stanley because those potatoes tasted amazing. I also will be interested to know how you manage in a hot summer!

Julia said...

I loved this post! So fun to hear how you live day to day:).

~Julia

Linn said...

Hi Ang,

I love to cook on my wood stove but it has taken me two winters to get the hang of it. I bake everything in it now but only from late autumn to early spring...it just gets too hot then. How do you manage it in summer?

pilgrimscottage said...

Your children will learn more living off grid in their growing years than children on grid will (maybe even) in their lifetime.

Happy Days said...

I think it's amazing what all you do, but also agree, that after doing it for so many years you'd become a pro!! I really enjoyed seeing you all on TV! Great Show!...debbie

~from my front porch in the mountains~ said...

I love this post Thank you!!
Although I look forward to the small pictures you show, I miss the good posts! This was wonderful today :)
Take care!

Anne Marie said...

give me a wood stove and I'm right there with ya......

Renata said...

You do so well Ang ~ I admire you! We have an old wood stove that Dave is doing up for me ( definitely one of the most romantic presents he's given me ) & I look forward to the challenges of cooking on it in winter ( of course I have my other oven to fall back on). Love the tips & love seeing a family working together!
Blessings
Renata:)

Nancy said...

Really enjoyed this post! We bought a used wood cook stove last winter from an Amish family whose store we shop at (they got a new one). It is still stored in the brooder house becuase we live in a modular and I can't wait to use it! It has been a desire of mine for a long long time. We were hoping to build a summer kitchen or attach a room by now but we may be moving. In the meantime, I like to get all of the tips that I can for using one. Thanks!

Nate Barker said...

What is it like to cook with this stove in the summer? We live in Northern NY, so we don't have super hot summers, but still wondering how much this would heat the house up in August doing canning and such.

Also, I am very curious how exactly you start the coffee the night before?

Thanks for your blog.

Denise

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