Sunday, March 4, 2012

Belgian-style Yeast Waffles

Happy Sunday!  Ross was fortunate enough to have another Sunday morning at home, so thus the waffle tradition continues.  I have tried quite a few varieties of waffles to date, but none of the traditional TRUE Belgian-style waffles using yeast. Our puppy was kind enough to wake me up a good two hours before Ross this morning so I was able to get the batter fermenting early enough that he wasn't teased with the thought waffles before they were ready to cook.  AND I got to crawl back into bed for a while. If you'd rather have waffle batter ready to pour and go, the batter can be made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight.  I'd love to try both time frames to see how the flavor truly develops...

adapted from King Arther Flour

Yields 4 Belgian-style waffles (dependent on the waffle iron)

The Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk, divided
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
6 Tbsp butter, melted
2 to 3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature, separated
2 cups all purpose flour

The Process:
In a small bowl or measuring cup, dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup warm milk. Set aside for 10 minutes, or until the yeast begins to foam.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the warm milk and the melted butter. Stir in the yeast mixture, sugar, salt and vanilla. Blend in the remaining milk alternately with the flour, ending with the flour. 

In a separate mixing bowl with an electric beater, or by hand with a strong wrist action, whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks.  Fold the whites gently into the waffle batter, until just combined.  Do not over mix!  The batter should retain as much air as possible from the whites.

Cover and allow to rest for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.  The batter may also be prepared the night before and refrigerated at this point.

Preheat oven to 250 and warm up the waffle iron.

Brush or mist the waffle iron lightly with oil and spoon batter into waffle iron, spreading quickly with a spatula to cover the entire griddle surface (amount varies depending on waffle iron, due to the amount of air in the batter, mine iron used about 1  cup, instead of the usual 1/2 cup). Cook according to iron manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer waffles to rack in oven to keep warm and crisp. Make more waffles in same manner.

Serve warm, garnished with fruit and whipped cream, dusted with powder sugar, or simply with butter and syrup.

The Review:
Uncovering the bowl of batter and ladling it into the iron was like walking into the front dough of a bakery.  That welcoming, yeasty aroma filled the kitchen and helped coax Ross out of bed.  These waffles were unlike any of the others I've tried to date.  The exterior was much crisper than the non-yeast varieties.  And that crispness held up better to the barrage of syrup and butter.  Yet the waffle still yielded and sopped up all of the sweet goodness drizzled on top.

These waffles are not sweet.  They were not reminiscent of funnel cakes like so many previous waffles had been.  The flavor was deeper, richer...and...well...yeastier.  The yeast was subtle, at least to me.  Those not fond of the flavor may find it more overbearing than I did.  The yeast lent a wonderful depth and complexity, almost a tartness, to the waffles.  The interiors were lighter than air, but not in the least bit fluffy.  Almost creamy...

With the deeper yeast flavor and more substantial body, I think I have discovered my go-to waffle for the next beer and waffle gathering.  The #8 Belgian style ale we brewed is about ready to crack open...

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