Saturday, October 16, 2010

Belgian Waffles

In case you haven't figured it out yet, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I don't mind getting up a little early to make something special.

Waffle and pancake batters are not completely interchangeable, but they're fairly close. I like my waffle batter thin, so it makes especially crispy waffles. This makes it a poor choice for pancakes.

The difference between a regular and a Belgian waffle is the height. Belgian waffle makers produce higher waffles. That also tends to make them lighter and crisper. The downside to waffle-making is that you need specialized equipment. Fortunately, waffle irons aren't expensive and come with all sorts of features. The best feature to have is some kind of indicator when the iron has reached top temperature, like a little light that blinks on and off. Everything else is optional.

This is the Bible's waffle recipe, with the "sweet-milk" variation. I don't make buttermilk waffles or pancakes because then I'd just be stuck with leftover buttermilk. If you use it instead of regular milk, make the recipe with 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp baking soda.

One reason why they sell frozen waffles at the market is because waffles freeze well. It's getting them warm without becoming soggy that's hard. Defrost for 15 minutes, then warm them up in the toaster oven at 200º for about five minutes.

1-3/4 C flour
1 Tb baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 C milk
1/3 C oil (plus more for brushing)
2 eggs

1. Grease waffle iron with a small amount of oil on a pastry brush. Preheat waffle iron. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. Add milk, oil, and eggs to flour and beat until blended. A few small lumps are OK; they'll bake out.

3. Pour batter into the center of the bottom half of the iron until it spreads to about 1" from the edge. If you cover the entire surface of the iron, you used too much batter and it will drip onto your countertop.

4. Lower cover and bake as manufacturer suggests. DO NOT PEEK. My iron usually takes at least five minutes. I like mine extra crispy and let them go until no more steam rises, usually 10 minutes. Carefully remove waffle, re-oil iron, and let it reheat for a minute before pouring the next one.

note: If you are using a synthetic pastry brush, re-oiling the hot iron will melt the bristles. Learned that the hard way. I usually do the first oiling on the cold iron with a brush, to make sure I get all the edges, then do the re-oiling with a paper towel. Keep in mind, I am a baker and don't have many nerve endings left on my fingertips that feel heat. Normal people may singe themselves a little until they figure out how to hold the paper towel properly.

makes 5 waffles

Difficulty rating  π

As long as you're splurging on breakfast calories anyway, it's fun to go all-out. My favorite way of serving my waffle is with a sliced banana, maple syrup, and a dollop of whipped cream. I can always skip lunch.

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