Aussies Living Simply

cooking on wood heaters

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    Sandra MSandra M

    hopefully someone can help me. I want to install a woodheater I can cook on.It seems madness to have a wood fire going and not cook on it. I have looked at Thermolux original gourmet cooker and the nectare bakers oven. My worry is that the oven will be too hot and to get it down to heat the fire will almost have to be out? If anyone has used one can they please let me know. Thanks.



    I have a Bakers Oven and yes, it takes a bit of twiddling to get the oven temperature right. So far I have only ventured to cook jacket-baked potatoes and a couple of roasts. My feeling is that with the Bakers Oven they are designed first as a wood-heater, then as a cooker. The good news is that the body of the heater builds up heat which means you can stop chucking wood at it and this, in turn, allows you to bring the oven temp down. The thermometer on the front takes the reading at the front of the oven so can be out by 20 degrees (according to the instructions that came with it). So you will need an oven thermometer you can pop on the rack if you want to do more temperature-sensitive foods.

    The other problem I have with it is that the top strip of insulation has been omitted on the fire-box door. This is to enhance air quality but it means you can not shut the thing right down and know you will have embers in the morning. I plan to do a little adaptation that will still permit some air flow but which will slow it down considerably. As I am burning dry hardwood I can’t see that will be a problem where I am. I certainly don’t want to wake up on a frosty Parattah morning and find ice inside my windows …

    GoodLifer has a Gourmet cooker. The oven is noticeably larger than mine and temperature regulation seems to be a bit easier too as there are more dampers and such to allow you better control. She was on line earlier so may want to add her own comments.


    We have a Nectre Bakers Oven and I can highly recommend them. Wood heater, oven and cooktop. Can also add a water jacket if it suits.




    Oh yes, thanks for reminding me Sonya. The waterjacket is available on either brand. I can only recommend you get one. My plumber who ambled onto the scene several months after I started trying to contact him, asked me why I had not got one (grrr). Since I had the entire fireplace rebuilt to suit the new heater, I could easily have left room for one but did not do so. Turns out they are wonderful to run water-based heating (hydronic heating) such as wall panel radiators. So if you are also thinking of getting central heating for winter, or even just supplementing your hot water, then it is a good idea to get one.

    Tassie TigerTassie Tiger

    Interesting thread. I am contemplating replacing my wood heater with one of these devices for next winter so I will be interested to hear more.


    I have a stanley waterford, with a water jacket. I’ve had it for 25 years. I have no other way of cooking, except for a toaster, electric frypan and a rice cooker. When I try to cook at friends places now, I always burn things.

    I LOVE my stanley.

    To maintain an oven temperature you need to produce a bed of coals, turn off the air supply coming in and reduce the air outlet to the minimum you can without it smoking.


    It’s the ‘turn off the air supply’ which is the problem with the Bakers Oven I am afraid. Completely shut down it is still blazing away merrily.


    I love my Nectre and burnt quite a few things until I got the hang of it – but in my first year with it I have done quite a few cakes, scones and ‘stuff’. Only thing I would recommend you check out is the size of the oven. If you are cooking for a large family you might find it a little limiting. Other than that, I love the Nectre and would have saved a lot on my energy bill through having the capacity to cook as a byproduct of home heating. I am looking for a decent trivet to reduce the stove top heat of it as the top does get very hot too. I bought a lovely Bodum kettle to sit on top so that we have hot water ready all day. I didn’t get the waterjacket as I have a heat pump and was worried about extra plumbing.


    Trivet-wise, I suggest you copy GL’s idea and get one of those cast iron grilles that are used to ventilate the underfloor of older houses. If you can’t find one second-hand, restoration shops sell them. I have one designed for a stone house as it has a good wide face on it. The ones for brick houses tend to be a bit narrow (brick-shaped)


    We use a trivet type thing for the kettle once it’s boiled, and for steaming vegetables, because it can get really hot on the top of the Bakers Oven at times! It was a cheap one from an asian grocery store, kinda looks like a cake rack but smaller. I’ve also used cake racks as extra trivets. 😉

    I’ve made bread, muffins, roasts and everything else we eat in the oven, and cooked meat and steamed veg on the top no worries. It’s our only oven at the moment, but not our only stove – we have a gas stove too.

    As HBG says, it does tend to burn happily even with the air all the way closed.. it’s not the easiest thing to control. Once it’s up to temperature, I can open the flue and it usually maintains a pretty good heat. It’s about timing for me. I put in all the small stuff first, bring it up to temperature, then put in bigger logs to maintain the temperature. (Maintenance logs we call them, but we’re just silly 😆 ) If it’s still getting too hot, I open the oven door just a hair to let out some of the heat. It can maintain a nice 180-200 even with the door open like that!

    I second the use of a oven thermomitor though. Very handy, especially with bread – ours needs to be at 200 for our bread or it’ll not come out right. Either burnt top with holey inside (too hot!) or undercooked / compacted (too cold). Although, most mistakes are still yummy! 😉

    I love it – in winter. 😉 It’s been wonderful. Only downside I can see is that we eat way more roast potatoes than usual just because it’s on! Mmmm.. roast potato.. *drools*


    They are wonderful in winter aren’t they!!! I have even run mine on low during warmer weather, just to bake my jacket potato for lunch, lol and keep the kettle hot so I can have a cuppa whenever I want.

    Not in the present heat though.


    Glad for this information, have sent for a brochure. I am going to sell my oil burning AGA:(:( (its been in the family since 1952) as drums of avgas oil are very hard for Hubby to get them in position now. Way to heavy for his heart. Figure getting wood around this area would be much easier.:D

    Good LiferGood Lifer

    I have the GourMet, and am very happy with it. I can close it down and it will burn overnight, and I just open it up again in the morning. Same for when I go to work, so it is pretty much continually burning in the dead of winter. I find it very economical on wood too, if you get decent wood. Heats my entire house (I have no other form of heating anywhere; the beauty of a wood fire is that the heat seems to travel into all the corners of the house) and takes 17 inch wood.

    Trivets, yes, I found the reproduction cast iron ventilator grates very useful, and at around $12, cheap! I also had an old cast iron trivet on which I sit the kettle, which I move on to the hob when I want a cuppa, but otherwise it sits on the stovetop on a trivet. On the other side (see pic) I keep an old chinese eathernware kettle in which I keep water to ensure that there is some moiture going into the air. (fires are very drying) Bonus is that, at times, I add a few drops of essential oil (ie. tea tree/eucalyptus + thyme + peppermint if I am having sinus trouble, etc.). I also found an old brass trivet (Victorian) in an antique shop for $20 which stands on 6 inch legs, so I now have a nice range of trivets of varying heights which is useful depending on how hot or not you want your simmer.

    Cooking … well, I discovered I am an intuitive wood fire cook, so I don’t even bother with the temp control guage. I load it up or down as required, open the oven door a tad if I want to cool it down a bit, shut it all up if I want a hot oven, etc. The only time I burn something is when I just plain forget that I have something in the oven, but you can’t blame the fire for that! :shy:


    We have (LPG) gas stove and LPG instant hot water but have always planned to get a Nectre Baker’s Oven for cooking (the gas stove is a single gas hob which is used mainly for summer and quick cooking). My question is mainly around the hot water jacket. We don’t have a water tank as we are doing instant hot water… so what sort of tank would we need if we do decide to get a water jacket? I don’t think we will but that’s only because I can’t think of how it would hook up to the water system.


    I wanted the bakers oven, but the seller advised us against it because the heating capacity is not as big (we’re in the upper mountains) as the usual wood heater. If the heater always runs fill blast then you need more wood. (at least that was what the seller told us)

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