O.K., I'll admit it. I'm a little slow. For the past 15 years, I have been making toast in my wood cookstove oven. Well, it can't really be classified as toast - more like razor sharp slabs of bread - but I call it toast, nonetheless.
The thing with wood cookstove toast is that by the time it is nicely browned, it is dried out, hard and brittle. Eating wood cookstove toast is an explosive experience. By an explosive experience, I mean that when you take a bite, your toast explodes into a million microscopic crumbs. Due to the fact that I am an unapologetic toast lover, I overlooked the wood cookstove's toast deficit and assumed that I would eat dry, hard toast for the rest of my days.
And then I had a rather illuminating conversation with my mother. We were waxing eloquent about the charms of our cookstoves and how pleased we were that the weather had turned, allowing us to fire off our beloved stoves. We talked about all of the things we missed about our wood cookstoves during the hot summer months - things like putting food in the warming oven while we finished cooking so that everything was delivered to the table hot and always having warm plates (out of the warming oven) with which to set the table. And then my mom said something that caught my attention - she said she missed browning hamburger buns on the top of the cookstove. She opined that there was nothing as perfect as a bun, buttered and placed on a piece of aluminum foil to brown to perfection on her wood cookstove surface.
Really? She has been toasting hamburger buns to perfection on the top of her stove for all these years while I have been eating toast that is roughly the same consistency as croutons? Oh, the inhumanities!
Of course I had to put my new found knowledge to the test immediately! I placed a piece of tinfoil (I assume you could use a thin cookie sheet also) over the medium/high setting (almost over the wood box) on my cookstove, placed three slices of bread on the foil and let the stove do its magic. Almost immediately the toast began to brown. I moved it around a bit (to make sure the bread was evenly browned) and turned it over a couple of times. It only took a few minutes (rather than the 15 minutes, at least, that it takes in a hot oven) and, oh, my goodness, it was wonderful! No more hard, dry, crumbly toast for me! Now I can enjoy perfectly browned, yet tender, toast every morning with my tea, all because of my mothers Off-Grid Ingenuity!
|Slices of bread placed on tinfoil over the wood box|