Baking in a Dutch Oven on your wood burning stove is a great way to use your ‘free’ source of heat and make some delicious food while you are at it! You can use a Dutch oven to make a wide range of baked goods in your oven, on a wood stove, or on a campfire. It does take a little getting used to, so try this when you have some time to experiment.
If you have an old fashioned wood cook stove with an oven built in, I’m jealous! We didn’t have room for one of these. So our wood stove was selected for size, clearance, and ability to heat our home.
Check out my post on How to Cook with a Wood Stove.
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One of my goals this year is to increase my self reliance skills. Learning how to bake with my wood burning stove was high on the list. For the month of January I am taking part in a self reliance challenge with a group of other bloggers who write about homesteading and self reliance topics. You can find links to their websites here.
Cooking in a Dutch Oven
Cooking in a Dutch oven is usually a method I use when we have a campfire in our backyard. A nice bed of coals is necessary to get the best results. Put your food in the Dutch oven, place it on the coals, and pile hot coals on top to bake your food evenly.
Although you may use the Dutch oven in your range, I haven’t tried this method. It takes some time to heat the cast iron through to cook in it, and usually I’m opting for energy efficiency and easy prep when I use my range.
Since we heat the house with wood in the winter, I’ve been wanting to learn to bake bread and other goodies on the wood stove. It seems like a waste to turn the electric oven on when we have the wood stove cranked up! I looked into a special oven that you put on top of your wood stove and they look like a nice thing to have. However, none of them will fit on the top of our wood stove…they are too large. In addition, they are a bit pricey and I’ve already got a Dutch oven.
Baking in the Dutch Oven
I’ve used the Dutch oven for some of my baking adventures on top of the wood stove. Most of my experiments came out pretty well, but it has been a learning experience. I’ve learned quite a bit along the way. Here are some things that are helpful if you are baking on top of a wood stove, using a Dutch oven.
Tips For Baking In A Dutch Oven On The Wood Stove
- Preheat the Dutch oven on top of the wood stove
- Set the lid next to the Dutch oven on the wood stove to preheat
- Use a trivet under the Dutch oven, unless it has feet
- Make sure your pan will fit inside the Dutch oven, if you are using one
- Keep the wood stove burning evenly, a good bed of hot coals works well
- Use an oven thermometer (if you have one) to test the temp in the Dutch oven before adding food
- Stay close to the stove in case food starts to burn
- Keep oven mitts handy
- For moist foods, leave lid slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape
Preheat the Dutch oven and lid separately. Set the lid on the top of the wood stove, next to the Dutch oven so that it heats up as much as the bottom. Place an oven thermometer inside of the Dutch oven prior to adding the food to check the temperature. Place the preheated lid on top and wait a few minutes, then check the thermometer to make sure the temp is about right.
If your Dutch oven doesn’t have feet, use a stable trivet or an air bake cookie sheet under it to prevent burnt bottoms!
Don’t stoke up the wood stove too hot or let it die down as you are baking. It is best if you have a nice bed of hot coals in the stove. Add small amounts of wood at a time, as needed.
Start Out With An Easy Recipe
For your first attempt at baking in a Dutch oven on your wood stove, try something fairly easy. I did a batch of Cinnamon Raisin Granola and did not use a lid so the moisture would escape from the granola.Granola requires an occasional stirring to prevent it from burning.
It came out quite well and I didn’t have to use any electricity. I made a half batch of granola, since the Dutch oven is smaller than the pans I usually use in the oven. But since the wood stove is going every day in the winter it is easy to stir up a batch of granola and bake it every week or so.
Next, Try An Intermediate Recipe
My second baking experience with the Dutch oven on top of my wood stove was a batch of cornbread. The first batch got a bit scorched on the bottom. For that batch, I poured the batter directly into the Dutch oven. I tried again a few days later, using a pan placed inside of the Dutch oven. I also used an air bake cookie sheet under the Dutch oven as an added measure to prevent scorching. The combination worked well.
To bake cornbread, I used my favorite recipe and poured the batter into a well greased 9″ round cake pan. The round pan fits better in the Dutch oven. Always check first to be sure the pan will fit! I carefully lowered the pan of batter into the preheated Dutch oven with an air bake cookie sheet underneath it. Next, I set the timer according to the recipe directions.
The cornbread was rather sticky on top and there was a lot of moisture inside the oven. To avoid this problem, I set the lid slightly askew to allow moisture to escape.
More Advanced Baking Adventures Planned!
My next loaf of whole wheat bread will be baked in the Dutch oven on the wood stove. I’m looking forward to sharing the results! Normally I would use the bread maker so I can get other chores done. But I do enjoy making bread by hand and I think the Dutch oven will do a nice job.
Maybe someday I will invest in one of the camp ovens, like the Butterfly Camping Oven, if it fits on top of my wood stove. I’d like to try a pan of muffins or a rectangular cake tin. Have you ever used one of these ovens on your wood stove? I’d be interested in hearing about your experience in the comments!
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Shared on the Simple Homestead Hop
In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org.
The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.