Waffles didn’t used to be a food that excited me. They just seemed a little blah compared to their pancake and French toast cousins. But then I discovered the Belgian waffle. Of course I had heard of Belgian waffles before, and it’s rather ironic I hadn’t had one given my 50 percent Belgian ancestry, but for some reason they had never made it onto my plate.
My interest grew after seeing a New York Times Food recipe for yeasted waffles. Certainly yeast would automatically take them out of the blah zone. And the Belgian waffle seemed to be thicker and lighter than the more conventional round variety. Then I saw a recommendation for the All-Clad Belgian Waffle Maker on Heidi Swanson’s website 101 Cookbooks, and I plunged into the waffle world.
From Amazon (it was the cheapest), I ordered the smaller two-square version of the four-square model Heidi swore by and lo and behold, I received the four-square one. I looked back at my order to check and it clearly showed the two-square listed and the two-square price, so I had somehow been blessed by the waffle gods with a bonus. It was around $150, which may seem pricy for a kitchen gadget with only one use, but it’s substantial, easy to use, and should last for many years.
My parents coming to visit for the weekend was the perfect time for a first foray into the yeasted Belgian waffle-making ranks. It’s nice you can mix the batter the night before, cover the mixing bowl, and put it in the fridge until you’re ready to go the next morning. Just whisk in the eggs and baking soda.
Served with warm, pure maple syrup, fresh raspberries and Field Roast Grain Meat Company’s Smoked Apple Sage Sausage (my favorite veggie sausage with breakfast), this was a truly scrumptious family meal. Everyone had seconds on the waffles and I think Pete may have even had thirds.
If you have leftover waffles, which we did, just toss them in a zip-lock bag and freeze. Warm them in your toaster and they are damn close to freshly made. My Belgian waffle breakfast sandwich was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had, leftover waffles, homemade buttermilk ranch dressing, sliced tomato, an egg over-easy then topped with a sprinkling of fresh parsley. I’m craving this again as I type and I can truly now say Belgian waffles excite me. Enjoy!
Yeasted Belgian Waffles
1 ¼ cups milk (I used skim)
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus more for the waffle iron
1 tablespoon organic sugar (15 grams)
1 teaspoon sea salt (5 grams)
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 cups all-purpose flour (240 grams)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (90 grams)
2 large eggs
¼ teaspoon baking soda
In a small pot over medium heat, combine milk, buttermilk and butter until melted and hot but not simmering. Stir in sugar and salt; remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm.
In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup warm water and yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Add warm milk mixture to yeast and stir. Whisk in flours. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand until doubled in volume, 2 to 3 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
Heat waffle iron. Whisk eggs and baking soda into waffle batter. Using a pastry brush or paper towel, lightly coat iron with melted butter.
Cook waffles (using about 1/2 cup batter per waffle, or per manufacturer’s instructions) until golden and crisp. Butter the iron in between batches, as needed. Serve waffles immediately as they are ready, or keep them warm in a 200-degree oven until ready to serve (on a wire rack set on a baking sheet). Makes about 12-16 waffles.