How to Arrange Your Kitchen Around a Wood-Burning Stove
When people think of wood-burning stoves, they envision old-style black stoves in the corner of a living room that heats a house during winters. It’s true that most stoves are installed with the sole purpose of heating a living area, but more home cooks are following the latest trend of installing wood-burning cooking stoves in their kitchens to hone their culinary skills.
Wood-burning kitchen stoves pose a unique challenge to avid cooks because of the skill required to maintain and operate them. They also are a great source of clean energy for a house that keeps energy bills down. However, there are special considerations to kitchen stove installation. With wood-burning stoves, the way a kitchen is arranged will have a huge impact on how easy it is to cook with and use for ambient heat. If you’re thinking about a remodel or installing a wood-burning kitchen stove, there are some things you should know first about how to get your kitchen ready.
Read along for some tips on how to best arrange your kitchen for a great wood-burning stove.
What is a Wood-Burning Kitchen Stove?
A wood-burning kitchen stove is just that, it uses actual firewood to heat the stove top and oven, and also gives off enough heat to keep a large area warm. In an average-sized home, the stove can keep the entire floor where it is located warm, even in the dead of winter.
People who walk into a kitchen can usually tell immediately that there’s something different about a wood-burning cooking stove. They’re often much larger than electric or gas ovens, with some standing higher than five feet tall. They can also be small enough to place in a corner to use for cooking small items. In the past, they were typically made from cast-iron, and sometimes trimmed with other metals like copper or nickel for style. These days they can be made from the same materials as a gas or electric range, but cast iron is still popular.
What is the allure of a wood-burning stove, some might ask? A lot of chefs and passionate home cooks love to use wood to cook because it makes the challenge of getting things just right more difficult. There’re no pushing buttons to set temperatures or timers. A lot more is done off feel and experience. Some people love the throwback experience of using a natural resource like wood to provide food and warmth. And finally, you’ve got some folks who love to do anything they can to save energy and keep home ownership costs as low as possible.
The main challenge of owning a wood-burning cooking stove is that there are unique issues involved in its installation. Homeowners need to be aware that extractor fans designed to pull smoke out of the kitchen can cause negative pressure, pushing smoke back into the room instead of up the chimney. In order resolve this issue, an additional air vent can be installed, or the stove can be fitted with an external air kit. Wood-burning stoves also can be quite messy because of all the ashes and wood moving around. Regularly feeding the fire is required in order to generate the large amount of heat necessary to cook in an oven. Heating an oven up can take well over an hour to get it in baking shape.
Kitchen Design is Key
How a kitchen is arranged plays a big part in how well a wood-burning stove works. As previously stated, maintaining a fire hot enough to cook with requires patience and a lot of wood. The stove needs to be in an open area that is easily accessed. It needs to have clear areas around it because there are requirements on how far a stove has to be from combustible walls and other flammable materials. If you have a family, you also need to think about how to place the stove, so kids don’t hurt themselves. The entire structure gets hot, unlike modern stoves.
You also don’t want the chimney to be an eyesore winding its way through the air towards your kitchen ceiling. Make sure when you’re planning you have the right amount of pipe exposed to create necessary draft but keep it as discreet as possible. The stove needs to be on a solid tile other non-combustible surface.
One thing to consider is to extend the tile flooring as far out from the stove as possible to make cleaning up dust and ash easier. Granite is the best material to use for your tiling around the stove, as it is heat resistant. Many designer kitchens build small cubby holes in cabinets adjacent to the stove to store wood to cut down on trips outside. If you can, extend some metal shelves out from the stove so you can place a coffee pot or casserole on to keep warm throughout the day.
Enjoy the Benefits of a Wood-Burning Kitchen Stove
Even though it takes more work, wood-burning stoves are a lot of fun and come with some great benefits. They’re environmentally friendly because they run on a sustainable resource that all but eliminates your cooking carbon footprint. They also help out with utility costs.
Electricity prices are going up around the country, so more people are turning to wood-burning stoves to keep costs low. Wood-burning stoves are still usable when the power goes out, and if disaster strikes. They can act as a heater for the home and cook food while you wait for things to come back online.
And don’t forget, the cooking on them is great. They have open flames that the family will love to roast marshmallows or make tin foil dinners in. For people looking to fine tune their culinary skills, the stoves take the challenge of making a great meal much more interesting. There’s something so primal about cooking with coals and fire. It connects people to being human more than pushing a touch screen ever will. They’re a romantic throwback to decades ago when things were more basic. It’s a way for people to disconnect from the stress of jobs, the flurry of social media and cable news. People with wood-burning kitchen stoves often say they love them because they take more work. You put your focus on the stove and get out what you put in.