If you’ve been along with me for a little while you’ll remember the new wood cook stove that we got not too long ago. I’d mentioned that these old stoves were bad about having faulty temperature gauges, so it was hard to tell exactly how hot your oven was. Well, imagine my delight when I came across this wonderful article by Granny Miller (link removed because site is unavailable) which explains several methods for testing the temperature of a wood cook stove.
Here’s an excerpt from her site:
“Great-grandma used a used a few different methods to judge her oven temperature and I thought I’d share the ones I know about with you.
To check an oven for a good baking temperature place a tablespoon of flour into a piece of oven proof crockery or glass.
If the flour turns brown in 1 minute the oven is a perfect temperature for baking – between 325ºF and 350ºF.
My personal old time favorite is the bare hand into the oven for a count of 20.
If great-grandma could stand to have her bare hand inserted into the oven for a count to 20, the oven was hot enough to bake a cake or slow roast meat – about 350º.
If she could only take the heat to a count of 5 or 6 the oven was very hot oven – well over 475º.
Another way to check oven temperature without toasting your hand is to put a piece of white paper into the the oven for 5 minutes.
If the paper turns a golden brown the oven heat is medium. If the piece of paper turns a dark brown the oven is hot.
Here’s some general guidelines for oven temperatures in case you do run into an older recipe but don’t want to fiddle with flour, paper or the flesh on your hand.
A Slow Oven: 250ºF. to 300ºF.
A Moderate Oven: 350ºF. to 400ºF.
Hot Oven: 400ºF. to 450ºF.
Very Hot Oven: 450º F.to 550ºF.”
I thought these tips were SO great!! I contacted Granny Miller to get her permission to share this info with you. I also mentioned to her that I’d heard that corn cobs were good for heating a cook stove with in the summertime as they don’t burn as hot as wood. She commented back that they are good for a quick fire, but won’t hold heat. She added that they are often soaked in kerosene, and then dried and used as a fire starter.
I am so excited about using these methods for testing the temperature of my new stove!!
For some more really great tips on using a wood cook stove, check out Granny Miller’s article Cook Stove Basics (link removed because site is unavailable). Tons of great info!!