I got the best present for Christmas. Something I’d been wanting for years thinking if I had one, my life would be complete. It was like looking for The One, Mr. Right, my appliance-soul-mate. Looking online, lusting over American versions (oh All Clad!) and looking forlornly at Gelare’s gorgeous cast irons, after six years of whinging – I finally got a waffle iron. And to be absolutely honest (and seriously tragic) I actually sleep better at night knowing we have one.
It’s a badass waffle iron, with deep pockets and tall walls, all the better for catching blueberries, bacon and maple syrup. Basically, all good things in life.
But the recipe… In that honeymoon period with the waffle iron, I tried several and I don’t think we’ve ever eaten so many waffles. What became glaringly apparent were batters risen with baking powder just don’t cut the mustard. They don’t have the power to rise and stay that way; instead they become stodgy, soggy, soft.
Yeast is the way to go. Like all good things it takes time, but an overnight rest does wonders. We get tall, fluffy, crispy, tall-dark-and-handsome waffles out of this batter. Which is pretty good considering the batter is as easy to put together as pancake batter. Just make sure you pick a bowl large enough for the batter to double in size, just in case.
Belgian Yeast Risen Waffles
Adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe
Overnight fermentation does make the batter taste mildly yeasty (don’t go nuts with the yeast, we once got waffles that tasted like beer) but it’s a flavour I find delicious. If you don’t like the yeasty flavour, use immediately after the first rest. If you can find it, use cake flour – it makes a really light waffle.
Makes about 4 Belgian sized waffles
40g caster sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
241g cake flour (can be substituted with all purpose flour)
2 tbsp cornflour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
340g lukewarm milk
85g butter, melted
1 tsp baking powder
Put all the dry ingredients except the baking powder into a large bowl. Form a well in the middle and pour in the eggs, vanilla extract, milk and melted butter. Whisk to a smooth batter. Cover with cling film and leave for an hour to rise. If it’s a really hot day, let it rise for only 30 minutes.
The batter should be slightly risen with a few bubbles peeping out. Refrigerate overnight or use straightaway.
Take the batter out of the fridge, it should have almost doubled in size. At this stage I knock it back by sprinkling over the baking powder and stirring it. Heat the waffle iron. When it’s ready, pour in the batter – it will rather satisfyingly rise and bubble from the hot iron. Cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions – in mine it takes two and a half minutes to get a golden crust.
Flip out of the iron and enjoy!
To my surprise I have not tinkered with this recipe just yet. But I’d imagine it’d be excellent with bacon bits, cheddar and spring onions stirred through just before cooking. Other ideas for the batter are cocoa and choc chips (for a really dark waffle with melty pools of chocolate); coconut spiked with rum; or ricotta and blueberries.