As a culture we may be a bit preoccupied with waffles. And I’m thankful for it. Though I personally speak to the Canadian aspect where anything that acts as a vehicle for maple syrup is a thing worthy of obsession, I know our neighbours to the south also share our obsession.
Growing up it was never homemade waffles but from-frozen Eggos, waffle cones and special trips that included hotel breakfasts and diners where the waffles share little resemblance to a balanced breakfast, topped with billowing whipped cream, drenched in dessert sauce. Later, in University I discovered how well waffles worked in savory preparations. It was a valuable lesson in keeping an open mind to all things edible.
At the Starving Artist in Toronto, a restaurant with a waffle-heavy menu I had my first chicken and waffle BLT. That sandwich, which left my hands smelling like sweet waffles when I was finished, opened up the gateway to a waffle addiction that until then was completely under control. Waffles started replacing Sunday morning pancakes – the loud waffle iron alarm sounding off another batch of golden-crisp waffles became part of our breakfast soundtrack.
That is what brought me to this recipe. Making waffles at home creates a challenge not uncommon to most mass breakfast productions. By the time the last batch of waffles has sounded, the first batch, that’s been kept warm in the oven, has lost much of it’s crispness. This recipe for waffles produces what I expect to receive in a diner. A batter that’s old fashioned, tried and true. The recipe, which has been highly publicized around the Internet comes from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. The reason it works so well at home is because the batter cooks at a very high heat in the waffle iron, something many other batters can’t withstand, producing a waffle with a crispness that lasts until the last batch is finished.
The flavour of this batter is also something special. Some batters taste as though they’re just pancakes that have been poured into a waffle iron. This one tastes faintly of yeast, which is what gives it that old fashioned charm. Though there’s not much to be improved upon in this recipe, I sometimes like to replace the sugar for maple sugar to give it a boost of maple flavour before I drench them in dark maple syrup.
Adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham, Fannie Farmer Cookbook Corporation, Archibald Candy Corporation, and Lauren Jarrett
1 x 8g package active dry yeast
125ml lukewarm water
500ml lukewarm whole milk (3.25% M.F.)
90g salted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons maple sugar or granulated sugar
355g all-purpose unbleached flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
In a bowl large enough to hold everything double (these will rise), dissolve the yeast into the water. Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar, and flour and whisk together until evenly incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest overnight at room temperature.
The following morning whisk in the eggs and baking soda until thoroughly combined. Preheat your waffle iron to its hottest setting (temperatures will vary) and pour in the batter being careful not to overfill the iron. Cook until the waffles are golden brown. Serve as you like, but preferably with maple syrup and butter.