Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Waffles

In addition to making way too much ice cream this summer, we've been experimenting with lots of different home made waffle recipes.

Many waffle recipes call for beating your egg whites separately and folding them into the waffle batter to get some loft. I've tried that before, and it is WAY too much work, especially in the morning when you're just getting up and the kids are hungry.

As a general rule, let's all agree that life is far too short to be separating eggs and beating the whites to a stiff peak at 7am before you've had your breakfast. In search of the perfect waffle recipe, any that required beating egg whites were struck from the list.

To get things started we purchased a wonderful new waffle iron from Villaware (model 2004). Heats incredibly quickly, no stickiness problems, nice even cooking, etc. Recommended

Our first try was Alton Brown's Basic Waffle recipe. I didn't want to have a whole lot of whole wheat flour sitting around, so I substituted all purpose flour for the whole wheat flour. These were nice, but fairly dry. If you lubed them up with butter and maple syrup, they were quite tasty (but then again, so would an old sock) (1 thumb down from our 5 year old).

Next up was Alton Brown's Chocolate Waffle recipe. Skipped the chocolate chips to try to keep them as a breakfast waffle rather than a dessert waffle. Again, remarkably dry. The chocolate also made it fairly bitter. Even lots of butter and maple syrup couldn't save these (2 thumbs down from our 5 year old)

In an effort to redeem myself with the kids, next were Aretha Frankenstein's Waffles of Insane Greatness recipe. Obviously, expectations were high (didn't help that for a couple days before hand I was saying "Frankenstein's waffles of INSANE GREATNESS" in my best movie voice).

These were outstanding. Large amounts of vegetable oil made them extremely crispy and borderline greasy (no butter needed), but the corn starch and relatively large amount of vanilla made an amazingly nice waffle (2 thumbs up from our 5 year old...she regularly asks for "Waffles of Insane Greatness" now in her movie voice). Only downside was needing to wait 30 minutes after you mix the batter up before you can start making waffles. Get the mix made before your start up your coffee machine.

Last up were Overnight Yeasted Waffles from America's Test Kitchen:
Overnight Yeasted Waffles (extracted/adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 stick (!) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (next time I'm going to try 2 teaspoons)

Heat milk to near scalding (almost to boil), then add butter to melt. Let cool until mixture gets to ~115 degrees (slightly warm...don't want to kill the yeast).

Separately, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt, then gradually whisk in the warm milk until the mixture is smooth.

Whisk in the eggs and vanilla until fully mixed.

Scrape down sides of bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours (up to 24). Batter will double in size.

Next morning, heat waffle iron. When hot, remove mixture from refrigerator and whisk to recombine and deflate (it will be more alive than you are at that time of the day).

Cook as you normally would on your waffle iron.

Note: these waffles are airy enough that I set my waffle iron to 3 1/2, as opposed to 6 or 7 for the other recipes on this page. Less mass so it cooks that much more quickly. The very large amount of butter means it crisps up quite nicely and that you don't need to grease the waffle iron.


These had the advantage of being made the night before (amazingly simple to mix together) and having the yeast rise in the refrigerator overnight. Definitely most convenient of the bunch on a groggy morning.

I found the tangy flavors of the scalded milk, yeast, and mellowing overnight to be very very nice. Lots of butter in the mix (again, none needed for cooking or after cooking), making them very rich and crispy. Extremely airy and light, so go easy on the maple syrup (it just soaks in like a sponge). Flavor actually reminded me of the crust on Gino's East pizza in Chicago (one of my favorites). I would make these my favorite, with perhaps more vanilla next time (1 thumb up from our 5 year old)

I would like to find a recipe that uses corn meal/polenta to accent the waffle. I think that would be a nice flavor combo. I may experiment a little and see how it turns out.

If you have a favorite waffle recipe, please pass along. Happy to put it through the Ghanbari Girls gauntlet and post the results.

As a tip for you waffle makers out there. Unless you have a large family (in numbers or girth), you will likely have extra. Turn down the heat on the iron about 20%, make slightly under done waffles with the rest of the batter, cool the waffles on a cooling rack, stick them in a plastic bag and freeze them. They actually survive quite well and toast/crisp up fine (no more Eggo's in our house).

Next up: Home made soft pretzels(!)

1 comment:

Mark K Mondol said...

Ray, Get a life, you have to beat the White'S (insert bad pun here) to get decent waffles.

Regards,

Mark K Mondol - lurking