View Full Version : The old wood stove

June Pelo
07-06-05, 20:53
My Grandmother taught me a bit about a wood cook stove. The old fashioned way that is: I sat quietly and watched as she scratch built some bread. No measuring devices other than her hands and a piece of brown paper bag. The hands measured the flour and other ingredients and the bread was 'felt' to achieve the proper consistency.

The fire had been previously set and lit. It was coming up to temperature as the bread was ready to rise for the first time. She placed a small portion of the brown bag paper inside the stove. She watched through the isinglass (mica) opening. When the paper started to curl it was a good 'warm' oven. The bread was set beside it to rise while she cooked something else under the warm oven. The bread rose, was punched back down. Rose again, and punched back down. Then the bread was formed into loaves for the bread pans. More wood was placed into the fire to heat it a bit more. She put another piece of paper into the stove. She watched through the isinglass window once again. When it charred the oven was a good 'hot' one ready for bread baking. In went the bread and minutes later we were suffering from fresh bread baking smells throughout the house. So she sat down at the organ and played while grandpa got out the mouth organ and played along. His harmonica was something to behold. Over a foot long with many notes. He was a master. She was no slouch either and sang while she pumped the organ. Soon the bread was ready and we got a little honey from our bees and butter from the churn. That bread was wonderful!!!!

Hope this helps with gauging your cook stove heat. Grandma has been gone since 1961 and grandpa a few years later. Their knowledge lingers like the smell of her fresh bread.

(This was sent to me - author unknown)

Karen Norwillo
07-06-05, 21:28
June, What a great story. My Mom always made bread from "scratch" when I was a girl in Crystal Falls. We, too had a wood stove. Oh, that wonderful smell! My Dad played the harmonica also. He was quite good, taught himself, probably when he worked in the lumber camps. Karen