It's a cold, wintry day and you are cosy indoors with your wood burning / multi fuel stove burning away.
Why not make the most of the heat and cook on it too ! Free heat without having to put the oven on....
There are lots of things you can cook on top of your wood burner (providing it has a solid top and does not have an internal water jacket / boiler). You may regularly boil a kettle of water for a cup of tea or perhaps cook a stew... but did you know you can cook baked potatoes or even a loaf of bread ?
Our cast iron baked potato cookers come in two sizes. The standard size (£23.50) is perfect for two fist sized (approx 275g) baking potatoes, whilst the large one can hold up to four. These are also perfect for cooking other things such as chestnuts, onions, bread - we even have a customer cooking partridges in little foil packets in his !
Our cast iron baked potato cookers are designed to sit on top of all cast iron wood burners and multi fuel stoves - and most steel stoves too (though not cool wall units or those with wraparound type back boilers) A hot plate on your stove is NOT required. The baked potato cooker / mini dutch oven simply sits on top of your stove.
Basically, it makes use of the surface heat, which in turn transfers to the cast iron pod. The pod gets hot and evenly cooks your jacket potatoes. Should you wish to do so, it;s very easy to open adn have a look at what is happening inside.
After all, if you already have your stove lit - why bother turning the oven on ?
It's not fast, but it's as green and energy efficient way of cooking you are ever likely to find.
The time taken to cook your potatoes is very variable as it depends on how hot your fire is burning. We generally put some on the showroom stoves around 9am and they are perfectly done by lunchtime. On the odd occasion when we've forgotten about them or been too busy to stop for lunch, the potatoes have been perfectly edible still and hour or two later.
The more space the potatoes have round them, the faster they cook. Ie three cook beautifully in the large cooker. Four cook just fine, but need a bit longer cooking time
Lightly oil a new pod with food grade vegetable or sunflower oil on some kitchen roll and leave empty, on top of the stove to bake on for a few hours before first use. Basically, it's seasoning the surface as you do with all cast iron cookware and woks
After that, just lightly oil your baked potato cooker / pod oven with a little oil on kitchen roll now and again. This prevents rust and builds up a natural non stick coating.
HOW TO COOK BREAD ON TOP OF A STOVE
The cooking times stated were with a large pod on top of our stove - with the stove temperature at approx 200deg c / 400deg F for the period of cooking
I make enough bread dough to bake TWO loaves. The unused half of the dough can be placed in a tupperware box in your fridge after the first rise and is perfect to use one or two days later. IF you only want to make one loaf, please half the recipe below
750g bread flour (alternatively, use 650g of bread flour and 100g oatmeal)
2 sachets of instant yeast
1 tsp of table salt
1 tbsp of sugar
400ml water or milk
50ml olive oil.
Add flour, sugar, yeast and salt to the bowl.
It is good practice not to let the salt and yeast come into contact until you add the liquids as this can inhibit the rise of the yeast (so add to different sides of the bowl)
Add water and oil and knead for approx 10 mins by hand or 5 mins with a mixer and dough hook.
Cover in bowl and leave to rise until doubled in size.
First of all, oil the inside of the pod and place OPEN on top of the stove so both sides get hot. Once the dough is doubled in size, knock back and divide into two equal pieces (the unused piece can go in a box or bag in the fridge)
Shape the dough and place into the large cast iron baked potato cooker on top of the stove. Leave alone until well risen and almost doubled in size a second time.
Close lid and cook for approx 1 hour. When you open the cooker, the top of the bread will be pale coloured and damp to the touch due to steam inside the cooker.
Take your bread out and turn it over so the pale side is down and crust is up.
Leave the cooker open on top of the stove with the pale side down for about 15 mins
After that, it's ready to enjoy. I like to cut this with the pale side up and the crust down as it's so easy to slice ! It makes a very pretty milk roll style loaf which is plenty for two very hungry people or to serve 4 alongside a meal