Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Best Waffles

I love making special treats for Sunday breakfast. With two young kids around the house, waking up early and giving us just as much work on weekends as during the week, I need the ritual of the special breakfast to make weekends feel different from week days.

Among these special breakfasts are pancakes, popovers, biscuits and waffles. Waffles are the most festive. In addition to being very tasty, they are prepared the night before and baked at the breakfast table, which is much more relaxing than pancakes. Popovers are lovely, requiring little preparation, and low in butter or sugar, but they need too long in the oven. Biscuits are good and quick to make, but somehow for all that butter I would prefer to eat waffles.

The best waffles are yeasted waffles. There's no two ways about it. Below is the recipe I've been making for many years. I once copied the recipe from a friend's coobook, so I'm not sure of the source. I believe it comes from a cookbook of America's Test Kitchen, or Cooks Illustrated, but looking up on their web-site I found a slightly different version of the yeasted waffle recipe. Which I might try as it suggests letting the dough rise in the fridge, with the eggs in it, which makes mornings even more relaxed.

Recipe: Overnight Waffles
Original source: Cooks Illustrated?

This is how the recipe described them, and I agree entirely: "super-crisp on the outside, light and tender inside, with complex flavor of yeast risen batter, these are the best waffles you can make."

- 1/2 tsp instant yeast
If your yeast packet has been open for more than a week, consider doubling the amount.
- 2 c flour
I often use up to 1/2 cup wholewheat flour for a healthier (!) nuttier waffle
- 1 tbspn sugar
- 1/2 tspn salt
- 2 cups milk
- 8 tbspn butter, melted & cooled
This is a lot of butter. I've made them with 6 tbpsns and they tasted yummy. I might try with even less.
- 1/2 tspn vanilla (optional. I don't bother)
- 2 eggs

Before going to bed, combine dry ingredients and stir in milk, butter and vanilla. Mixture will be loose. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside overnight at room temp. I usually put the bowl in the cold, turned off oven, and close the door.

In the morning the dough will have bubbled and risen, as shown here. Brush waffle iron lightly with oil & preheat. (Note: my waffle iron doesn't require any oiling so I don't do this.) Separate eggs and stir yolks into batter. Beat whites to soft peaks. Fold in gently.

Pour into hot waffle iron. The batter is a bit runny, so I often close the iron, flip the entire machine over to fill the top cavities as well, then flip it back to its normal position. Bake waffles until steam has subsided and waffles are golden brown (it's OK to peek). You may want to try different shades of brown to see which you like best: darker makes them very crunchy, lighter golden and they'll be very moist and tender inside.

This makes about 12 waffles, or enough for two (hungry) adults and two (very small) children.


tanya d said...

I love these yeasted waffles too! But I accidently killed my US waffle maker. I can't find any decent waffle makers here - they are all more like panini presses with a waffle attachment as an afterthought. Where did you get yours? It looks heavy duty. - Tanya

Astrid said...

Hi Tanya! My waffle iron was bought in France. It's a Krups. I'm not sure what kind of store it was bought in as it was a gift from my husband (not a birthday or anniversary gift, I hasten to reassure you. He knows better than to give me an appliance for those. Unless of course it's a Kitchenaid mixer, and in that case... we'll make an exception. HINT!)

Anonymous said...

Hint? What hint, I don't get it?


Anonymous said...

Your pictures are great and steadily improving. Can almost smell and taste the subjects. Won't let you return to Zurich without a few 3D demonstrations.

Anonymous said...

I bought mine at Williams Sonoma.
Just search under waffle maker ...

Anonymous said...

The quote about "Super-crisp outside, light and tender inside,..." I have in front of me from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, though he could have phrased it that way in the Times or another book of his.

Timcook said...

These are indeed the best waffles. Vanilla is NOT optional. Pure vanilla really enhances the flavor. If you have extra, go ahead and cook more waffles and freeze. Pop them in the toaster - they taste almost as good as fresh.

Anonymous said...

I found your site while searching for Belgian waffle recipes. They are indeed crisp and light but I ruined the whole batch by leaving them in the oven (195F) for too long as I made them ahead for brunch. They were so dry and crisp in the end that it hurts when biting down on them!

Astrid said...

Thanks for the comments. I still make these often, and keep meaning to try them with vanilla but always forget. So the source might be Bittman? Interesting, thanks!
As for the hard dry waffles, ugh. Even if you leave them too long in the waffle iron they hurt your mouth. I like them quite tender and moist inside, and my husband prefers them crunchy.

Magpie said...

I've always only heard of raised waffles from Marian Cunningham...

like posted here:

adrian said...

if you care I think these waffles come out better if you omit the yolk, whip the whites to firm peaks and fold them in them in.

Astrid said...

Adrian, thanks for the comments! Part of me wants to say: these waffles can't possibly be improved. But since I have loads of egg whites in my freezer, I'm intrigued, and will have to try your suggestion. Thanks!

Blogscab said...

Deborah Madison also has a yeasted waffle recipe using buckwheat that are amazing (and gluten free if that matters): here.

Barbie Chiu said...

The food looks delicious and attractive. You are so generous to share your recipe that is why I feel like trying to make it. I hope it will have a good result. Anyways, Thank you. If you have time please visit my site.