I’m a pretty serious waffle eater.
I chowed my way through a year living in Belgium, demonstrating a hearty appreciation of the chocolate, the beer, the cheese and the fine nuances between two Belgian classics – the Liege and the Brussels waffles.
The former is dense and doughy – in the most delicious way – with deep, crispy pockets and nubs of caramelized pearl sugar. The latter is airy and yeasted, with whipped egg whites folded in, yielding a cloud-like texture – almost as light as the powdered sugar showered over top. You could easily put away a half dozen (whereas a single Liege waffle is a meal).
Both are a far cry from what we dub “Belgian waffles” in North America (typically quite heavy, and risen with baking powder).
These particular waffles are not Belgian by either North American or Belgian standards… but they sure are yummy!
They’re yeast-leavened, barely sweetened, with crisp edges and a chewy, slightly eggy thing going on – reminiscent of crepes. You don’t need to proof the yeast, so they couldn’t be easier – simply whir everything together and stick the batter in the fridge.
Ideally with yeasted waffles, you want to use a waffle maker with shallow pockets rather than the heavy cast-iron beast I use and love. The reason is that they tend to stick a bit in the deep pockets.
Hard-core waffler I may be, but I’m not going to buy more than one waffle-producing appliance. I found that two tricks helped – lots of butter and lots of batter.
Grease the iron well by scooping some soft butter onto a pastry brush and brushing it into all the pockets (note that butter worked much better than oil for me, to produce browning and avoid sticking), and spoon a generous amount (about 3/4-cup for my 8 1/2″ square iron) of batter right in the centre of the iron.
Don’t try to spread the batter to the edges, as the thinner areas are the trouble-spots. And when it’s done, open the iron only slightly at first – jiggle the waffle out bit by bit with a fork as you open it further.
(If you just yank it open, you’ll probably split your waffle. If this happens, though, don’t cry – it will still be delicious).
An investment of five minutes with your stand mixer before you go to bed on Saturday night, and Sunday morning, you can enjoy crisp, chewy-tender waffles before you’re even fully awake!
Leftover waffles may be frozen in a single layer then packed into freezer bags. Reheat in the toaster without thawing first. They are killer-delicious hot and crispy from the toaster, with Nutella melting into the pockets. Or they’re equally delicious with a slice of Canadian bacon and a poached egg on top, hollandaise optional.
- 2⅔ cups (12 oz/340 grams) all purpose flour
- 2¼ tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ cup butter, melted (plus additional softened butter for cooking)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 eggs
- Place flour, yeast, salt and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Turn on low speed to combine.
- Add butter, milk and eggs; increase speed to medium until smooth, about 30 seconds. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- The next morning, preheat your waffle iron (on medium heat stovetop) or electric waffle maker. Use a pastry brush (or a wadded up piece of paper towel) to scoop up about a teaspoon of soft butter; spread into all the pockets of the waffle maker.
- Add about ¾ cup of batter to the centre of the iron and immediately flip it over, if using stove-top. Cook until brown on both sides (about 5 minutes per side for stove-top – but check frequently – variable time with electric machines, follow your waffle maker’s instructions).