Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Woodstove Cooking: Cornbread

Wayne and I were pure "cityfolk" when we discovered Powell River. We had to learn more self reliance, especially living in a float cabin on Powell Lake. We've had lots of help from our friend John, but in the kitchen, I've had to do my own experimenting.

We have a propane stove and refrigerator, but our KOZI wood stove is going all day and night during the winter. It provides us with heat, but I hate to see all that energy go to waste. So, I started experimenting with stovetop baking. I've tried several methods. The first successful one was using a frying pan and rocks.

I needed a heavy metal pan with a flat, recessed lid. I've become a second-hand store fanatic. My favorite in Powell River is the Hospital Auxilliary Economy Shop next to Scotiabank. One day I found this pan for only $4.00. I grabbed it quick. To keep things from burning on the bottom, I use a wire rack inside. Next I needed a small cake pan to fit inside. New ones have handles that make them too big. I went to another second-hand store and found the perfect 8" pan.

First, I heat the pan and smooth rocks I gathered from Sandy Beach near our cabin. I thought of using rocks as an extra heat source after reading dutch oven recipes. I can't use hot coals in the house, but hot rocks serve a similar purpose. I rotate heated rocks throughout baking to keep the temperature higher. The recessed lid keeps the hot rocks securely in place.

My first success was cornbread using the recipe from the cornmeal bag cut in half. My results vary based on the size of my fire. One drawback to stovetop baking is that you need a hot fire. We've been known to open the door to let some cool air in on baking day.

KOZI Stovetop Cornbread

1/2 cup cornmeal
2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons oil

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Beat together the milk, egg and oil. Add to the dry mixture and stir to combine. It will be thin. Pour into an 8" greased cake pan. Bake 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees in a conventional oven. In my frying pan on the stovetop, it takes about an hour. I leave it covered for the first 30 minutes. After that, I leave a crack in the lid to let the steam escape. This allows the top to brown more easily, but does extend the cooking time.

Sometimes it gets very crispy on the bottom (which we love) and not as cooked on the top. Lots of butter and honey make it good no matter what. -- Margy


  1. Anonymous10:14 PM

    This looks good. I've been looking for a good recipe for my son that I can make with out flour. Wonder if it will work with buckwheat?

    Why don't you use cast iron skillets?

  2. Hi byrningbunny - I'm not familiar with buckwheat, but if it is a flour I don't see why it wouldn't work along with the cornmeal. I don't have a cast iron skillet, so I used what I did have. I have been watching for a reasonably priced one, but haven't been lucky yet. But I do have a cast iron dutch oven now that I use now for my stovetop cornbread cooking. The down size is that the large space lets the steam build up and the top doesn't get as brown as it does in a fry pan. I just keep experimenting to see what I can do. Thanks for the comment. - Margy


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy