The longer I have cooked on a wood cookstove the more I have come to realize the importance of a few good cooking utensils. I find that I turn to the same pans and skillets over and over because of their superior performance both on the stove top and in the oven. Using my stove has been an education, but the lessons I have learned are invaluable. It has afforded me the opportunity to refine my techniques while I gather appropriate tools - before I really NEED them. Here is a partial list of what I have learned.....
Cast Iron is your friend. The beauty of cast iron is that it durable and perfect for use both on the stovetop and in the oven. It cooks evenly and holds heat well - and after it has been properly seasoned, withstands the high heat of a wood cookstove remarkably well. I have a variety of cast iron in many shapes and sizes. Skillets by themselves are a workhorse, but coupled with a lid, they are indispensable. I use skillets for all manner of stovetop dishes, but I use them extensively in the oven as well. They are perfect for cooking a Frittata on the stovetop and finishing in the oven. When I make pizza in the cookstove, I always cook it on the stovetop first. Wood cookstoves are notorious for browning or even burning the tops of your baked goods while leaving the bottom white and gooey. The answer to this problem is cooking on the stovetop first and popping in the oven for the final cooking and browning. Cast iron is perfect for this. Not only does it perform well on the top of the stove, but equally well in the oven. In addition to numerous skillets, I have a cast iron Dutch Oven. The Sheepherders Bread recipe I have just fits into my Dutch Oven and cooks to golden perfection when covered with the lid.
Roasting pans. The wonderful thing about roasting pans is that they have lids. One thing that I quickly learned was that things brown long before they are cooked through. You either have to buy truckloads of tin foil, or you have pans that you can cover to slow the browning process. I generally bake until the top is golden brown and then cover with a lid. This allows whatever I am baking to cook all of the way through but not become a charred mess on top.
Cake pans with slide on covers. Just like roasting pans, they have a cover. One of the biggest challenges in wood cookstove cookery is keeping the tops of your foods from burning. Covers also keep moisture in casseroles and other dishes. Wood heat is very dry. Covering your dishes while they cook slows the evaporation.
Pie Shields. Just like cast iron lids, roasting pans and cake pans with covers, pie shields will keep your pies from becoming burnt offerings. It is amazing how a tiny, thin piece of metal protects your crusts from becoming inedible.
Tin Foil. O.K. I just had to say it. Some of your pans just don't come equipped with lids. As you can tell, my main concern while cooking on my cookstove, is keeping the tops of all my cakes, pies, breads and everything else from becoming blackened soot. A few rolls of tin foil are worth their weight in gold!
Wood Cookstove Cookery is an art and a science. It is a challenge that is well worth the effort. Having the proper cookware will be the difference between success and sheer frustration.