After years of pancake devotion, we’ve converted to Wafflism.
I’ll be brief about it, but my educated and learned conclusion is that yeasted waffles are the most superior variety, and that King Arthur Flour’s “Belgian Yeast Waffle” is a good starting point. The batter can be mixed in its entirety¹ the night before, and I can find no fault with either flavor or texture. Ha-ha! I’m such a liar; I thought the batter had a lot of vanilla in it, but when cooked, the flavor was totally AWOL. If you like a birthday-cakey, vanilla-y waffle, you’ll want to at least double the vanilla.
But let’s say you want waffles RIGHT NOW and you did not have the foresight of preparing a yeasted batter. No fear! I agree with the rest of the internet when I point you toward the “Waffle of Insane Greatness“. It still begs a 30 minute rest before using, but is yeastless and has lots of buttermilk in it, which makes for a differently gnawesome waffle experience.
Of the two, the Viking and I prefer the yeasted waffle:
It’s just such a pretty waffle, on top of tasting so good. The exterior crust is thin and crispy, but the insides are nicely puffy and creamy. A solid player for very little effort.
Which brings me to the fabled Liège waffle. I can best describe a Lèige waffle as a “waffled cinnamon-roll”. The dough is yeasted and very buttery — nearly a brioche — and studded with crystals of pearl sugar. The exterior gets quite crispy, while the interior is decidedly bready in texture. Perhaps best of all, the sugar pieces melt and form molten, mouth-destroying globs of caramel. I’ve had Liège waffles prepared commercially, but until now I’d never tried to make them myself.
I started with Not Martha’s recipe, and will be making some alterations. Because I can’t leave well enough alone, of course, don’t be silly.
It’s hard to really put my finger on how this recipe missed the mark by a hair, but I think the major issue was the pearl sugar. I used small Swedish pearl sugar, whereas Not Martha uses Belgian style, which are much, much larger chunks. Another website suggested hand-crushing good ol’ American sugar cubes into smaller pieces, and that even seems an improvement over what I used.
Because though the waffles were cooked through and everything else seemed pretty much on target, the sugar didn’t melt. The pearls of sugar did what they are supposed to do on any other item, which is to remain intact during baking. But I want them to melt. I want them to blister my lips and elicit a string of profanities the likes of which no breakfast treat has ever heard before.
I also deviated from the recipe by kneading the dough in small quantity of flour, something that no one recommends doing but I figured was fine. Which it may have been, but also my waffles turned out a smidge dry and this could be from the minuscule amount of added flour. Though I doubt it. But still. Next time, I’ll suffer through a much wetter dough and see if they can’t loosen up a little.
I don’t mean to imply that anyone should avoid making these just because I found them slightly less than perfect. You should make them. They aren’t your sit-down-and-eat-a-bottle-of-maple-syrup variety waffles, they are standing around in the kitchen, drinking coffee and snatching bacon out of the pan, hand-snacking on some waffle waffles. They are complex and filling, wanting for only a bit of whipped cream or fresh sugared strawberries. And besides, you know, waffle experiment. Those two words are like auditory cocaine for me. EVERYONE OUT OF BED, IT’S WAFFLE EXPERIMENT TIME. I KNOW ITS 4AM, DID YOU NOT JUST HEAR THE WORDS “WAFFLE EXPERIMENT”?!
¹ I say this specifically because most overnight yeast batters call for egg and/or butter to be added the next day – which, if you’re sleepy is a pretty mean prank to play on yourself. My primary suggestion would be: let it sit for an hour at room temperature before refrigerating the night before, and before using the next day allow the batter to sit out for an additional 30 minutes. That’s 30 minutes for you to make coffee, remember where your pants are and try to get some of the mascara off your face.January 26th, 2011 | Food Rant