To be completely honest from the outset, we do not make toast very often on our wood cookstove. Our early 1950s Toastmaster toaster is just too convenient. However, I know that many of the people who read this blog are interested in homesteading, preparedness, or increased self-sufficiency. Furthermore, many people who cook on woodburning cookstoves live an off-grid lifestyle, and a conventional toaster can be quite a drag on alternate power sources. Thus, it seems pertinent to include information about toasting on a cookstove here.
One can make toast on a wood cookstove in five different ways. I think some are better than others, though, so I'll warn you right now that I will be editorializing along the way. You're not a bit surprised, are you?
To make an accurate comparison of the toasting methods, I used purchased bread so that each slice would be as nearly uniform in size and composition as possible. No matter how I slice homemade bread, I cannot get it to be perfectly even, and I didn't want the bread to be a variable which affected the results of my experiments.
Method 1: Using a stovetop--or "camp"--toaster. These can be purchased all over the internet in the style you see below or in what is sometimes called the pyramid style, where a louvered pyramid directs the heat of the stove toward the toast that is resting parallel to the sides of the pyramid. Mine happens to have been purchased from Lehman Hardware, but I do not know whether they still carry it.
A lady who lives in our small town and is a friend of my mother's once told me that the only toast that she ever had growing up was made this way. She shared this memory because for some reason she and my mom were talking about burnt toast and how it can be salvaged by scraping the burnt parts with a table knife until all of the blackened crumbs have been scraped off. She grew up thinking that scraping the burnt part was just a necessary step in the way everyone made toast, so you can see that this method can easily result in burning your bread rather than toasting it.
The aspect of method two that I don't much care for is that the toast always leaves its autograph on the stovetop. If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you've seen picture proof that I'm not as fussy about the look of my stovetop as I probably should be, but still.
Method 3: Toasting bread on aluminum foil on the cooktop. I didn't think of this one myself. I found this one online here at this "toast post" on the Paratus Familia Blog.
Method 4: (my preferred method) Toasting on a cast iron griddle. I asked for this 11 1/4" breakfast griddle as a Christmas gift when I was in either junior high or early high school. It is extremely well seasoned from frying pancakes and French toast, so things don't stick to it. I put it over the hottest part of the stove and lay the bread on it.
Watch carefully and turn the bread when it is toasted according to your preferences.
|Bread toasted using my preferred method of using the |
cast iron griddle. You'd think that I could at least keep
the camera strap out of the picture, wouldn't you?
|The toasted buttered side.|
|The toasted un-buttered side.|
|Toast made with Method 5 and spread with Nancy's grandma's|
recipe for pineapple-rhubarb jam. Yum!
As with any cooking done on a wood cookstove, there are as many methods as there are cooks. Please utilize the comments section below to share yours!