This is actually based on an old Fannie Farmer cookbook recipe that my dad used to make. Now my dad does not experiment w/ recipes but luckily I do! The original turned out waffles that were buttery and tasted great but were somewhat flat and the texture seemed off. Tweaks here and there over the years now yield waffles that are more traditionally-tender belgian-style, but with a much more pronounced flavor than other recipes, especially if you go with the sourdough option (see note #4 below)
Couple of notes:
- Recipe can certainly be made with 100% all-purpose flour, just keep the overall amounts the same, but whole-wheat pastry flour brings a modicum of healthiness to the recipe as well as lower gluten amounts which means more tender waffles.
- This produces about 3 dozen waffles, so: a. plan to feed an army; b. have freezer space (they freeze and re-heat great); c. make a pig of yourself — we won’t judge; d. cut recipe in half and drop baking powder entirely
- Batter does require 8+ hours to develop yeasty-goodness. If you had to rush it, would certainly not go less than 6 hours and would not go longer than 10 hours.
- To use sourdough starter (if you have some on hand), replace
- 1 C water & 2 pkg dry active yeast; with
- 1 Cup active and recently fed starter and ¾ tsp dry active yeast
- 1 cup water
- 2 pkg (4 1/2 tsp.) dry active yeast (not bread machine or fast-acting)
- 4 cups whole milk (can be 2%, would not advise using skim)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp sugar (or 1 scant Tbsp maple syrup)
- 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (split into 1 1/2 cups and 2 cups)
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Microwave water for about 40 sec on high. Goal is ~110 and 115 degrees F. Mix yeast into water and let stand for at least 5 minutes.
Next step is warming milk and melting butter. You can microwave milk for ~3 minutes on high and then melt butter separately. To save dishes, I use 4-cup measuring cup, and measure 4 cups of milk and pour 1 cup into mixing bowl I’ll be using. Then I cut butter sticks into pieces into milk and microwave butter and milk together, stiring together at the end to complete melting of butter.
In large mixing bowl, mix proofed yeast, warm milk, and melted butter by hand with whisk. Once thoroughly combined, whisk in salt and sugar.
To add flour, slowly add in 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour and 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour while slowly stirring with whisk.
Once combined, cover bowl with clean towel or loose wax paper. (if worried about spills, go with wax paper – depending on yeast, environment, etc. – plan on batter possibly doubling in volume). Place bowl in draft-free environment for at least 8 hours. A cool oven works well, or depending on time of year, counter top is fine.
Morning (or 8+ hours later):
Get out 4 large eggs (want them to warm up a little bit before adding to batter). Remove covering from bowl and give batter a stir with whisk. Preheat waffle iron. Sift together 2 cups all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder. Add 4 eggs and vanilla to liquid mixture and stir, and then slowly stir in dry sifted ingredients. Mix by hand and don’t overmix – idea is to get flour incorporated without developing any addition gluten.
If you’ll be serving a group and want to stockpile waffles to serve all at once, heat oven now to 200-degrees. Put cookie sheet(s) in on bottom rack (to catch crumbs) and as waffles are done, put them straight on top oven rack. If more than 10 minutes, go ahead and turn oven off to prevent waffles from getting too dried out.
Note about waffle irons: Actually putting batter to waffle iron and knowing how long that will take some experiments. In me experience for these types of waffles, and if you have waffle iron w/ adjustable temperature, waffle iron should be set just below medium. But so much variability in waffle irons, you’ll need to find out what works best for you. As a good rule of thumb, poor just enough batter to cover waffle iron griddle and they should be done when amount of steam coming out is barely visible and are golden, brown, and delicious.
- For extra rich waffles, do 1 cup heavy whipping cream and 3 cups whole milk;
- for egg-free waffles, you can successfully substitute all four eggs with the additions, add in the morning:
- An extra ½ tsp baking powder, 2 very large bananas (pureed/very mashed) and 2 Tbsp. oil. Waffles will be a little sweeter and browner and will definitely taste of bananas, but a little maple syrup and toasted walnuts and that’s not a problem; or
- 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce, 2 Tbsp oil, ¼ Cup flax seed meal, 6 Tbsp water, and an extra ½ baking powder
- As you’ll notice above, when replacing this many eggs, it’s usually a good idea to combine common egg substitutes. Generally speaking, I’ve also noticed it helps if your waffle iron has a temperature control, it helps to knock it down a little bit when using any of the egg substitutes
- for pumpkin spice waffles, in the morning, add: 1 Cup pumpkin puree; 1 ½ tsp cinnamon; 1 ½ tsp allspice; ½ tsp clove; ½ tsp nutmeg© 2015 Jason Byrne, All Rights Reserved