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Client Feeback - (bakeovens)

From: Bill Derrick
Alternate Energy Systems, Peru, NY

May 12, 1997

Some thoughts on bake ovens and heaters sans bake oven.

The aesthetics of our masonry heater in a new timber frame home precluded enough height to include a bake oven. That required omission has been a source of regret ever since. Therefore it is a policy to urge bakeovens to all masonry heater customers. The feedback of appreciation from heater users with a bake oven is so strong and varied that it seems a disservice not to urge new customers to include this important feature. Added cost be damned.

So what is to be done when aesthetics overpower the practical? At first we tried various procedures to use the heater firebox for cooking but with varying successes and disasters - most often having to do with overcookin/burning. Discussion with a local craftsperson resulted in his suggestion of a trivet for the firebox. Sounded like a good plan and one was developed to fit right in the firebox after the fire had burned down to a shallow bed of coals. Still we have a tendency for overcooking which was solved by using an 1.25 inch piece of soapstone on the trivet. Problem solved by the special characteristics of the soapstone.

Use of a thermometer allows pretty accurate assurance of a desired baking environment. One can alter the conditions in the firebox by closing the damper to retain the needed heat level. Likewise, the termperature can be lowered by various settings on the damper and altering the incoming air. We don't yet make claims to mastering bread and pastry baking, but for slow cooking and meat roasting we have it quite under control. It has also served nicely as a grill by simply heating the soapstone and placing meats directly on the stone. The success of using the firebox for cooking didn't sink in till late spring as we were beginning to have once a day firings and skipping a day now and then. Suddenly one afternoon on non-burn day, my wife Ginny exlaimed, "Where will I cook and bake during the summer when the masonry heater isn't fired?"


Derrick custom masonry heater


Derrick custom masonry heater

Complete system includes a Rosin open fireplace and a Tulikivi soapstone cookstove with a custom built heated bench

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