When I want a waffle, I want the real thing. Very crispy on the outside and very light (as in texture, not calories). Not many get there, and I have tried recipe after recipe over the years. Notes in the margins of my cookbooks span a good twenty years as I tested all sorts: buttermilk waffles, yogurt waffles, “Belgian” waffles, waffle waffles, “special waffles”, cornmeal waffles, semolina waffles, and lemon waffles with blackberries. My comments range from “not great” to “eew” and “thick, almost biscuit-like”, which means: not worth the trouble.
One recipe I do return to is Marion Cunningham’s “Raised Waffles” from her Fannie Farmer Cookbook, a Christmas present from 1992, when I was a single girl, fairly fresh out of college. Back then I didn’t appreciate the value in making recipes in advance, but now days, I’m looking for strategic shortcuts: night before, whisk together the yeast and everything except the eggs and baking soda. In the morning, heat up the waffle iron, remember to add the eggs and baking soda , and you’re ready to go. The yeast develops a complex flavor you’re probably going to love. Go ahead, treat yourself. And pass the real maple syrup.
- ½ cup warm water
- 1 package dry yeast
- 2 cups warm milk (yes, whole)
- ½ cup melted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- Night before: in a large mixing bowl (batter will rise to double its original volume) add the water and sprinkle the yeast over. Let stand to dissolve for 5 minutes. Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar, and flour and mix until blended. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.
- Morning: mix in the eggs and add the baking soda. The batter will be very thin.
- Pour about ½ cup batter into a very hot waffle iron. Cook until waffles are golden and crisp.
Amy’s Kitchen Coach Tips:
- This batter keeps for several days in the refrigerator (after you add the eggs).
- There is one other waffle I can recommend. And this one uses half the butter: Alison’s browned-butter buckwheat orange waffles. Yes, a bit lighter, as in calories, but it is great not because of this, but because it is delicious!
- If you don’t like playing short-order cook, make each waffle and transfer it immediately to a cookie rack set in a sheet pan. This pan stays in a warm oven (300 degrees F) and you keep waffling and piling them up until you have enough for everybody. Breakfast is served when you say so.