Get a Little Fancy with Your Basic Waffle Batter
Waffle batter and pancake batter are just about the same thing. Same ingredients, same method, but with a teensy bit more liquid and eggs. If you can make pancake batter, which is pouring, stirring, and stopping, you can make waffles. Pour it into the waffle iron, follow the manufacturer's directions, and you can breathe easy. Maybe you knew that already. Maybe you’re ready to show your family how you’re a sophisticated so-and-so who likes her or his martinis dry, steaks rare, and waffles European. Well, I can help you with that. Grab your favorite waffle recipes, and prepare to make brunch your plaything.
This is exactly like making regular waffle batter (get the dry together, mix with a whisk, blend the wet ingredients together, pour in while stirring, stop the second it’s combined) but with two extra steps. First, you’re going to separate the eggs, setting aside the whites and using the yolks for the batter. Then you whip up the whites into tall, soft peaks and gently fold them into the batter to make it fluffy like a delectable poodle.
This is complete next level stuff that takes a little bit of planning, but once you try it, you’ll find it hard to go back. Same basic ingredients and method but with, obviously, yeast. Some yeasted waffle recipes say you should let it rest for only an hour, but trust: let it sit overnight to unleash the yeasty beast.
Now things are starting to get challenging. Liege waffles are crisper and heavier, and could be considered even more as a dessert than a large piece of griddled cake batter with many divots to act as depositories for butter and syrup. Leiges haven’t been a thing here long enough for us to fully apply our American logic to them.
Liege waffles require yeast, time, and a special ingredient called “pearl sugar,” which are little orbs of solid sweetness you can find in specialty stores or on the internet. They don’t require a mixer, but they are much easier to make if you have one.
First step: put yeast, sugar and lukewarm water into your mixer bowl, and let it stand for at least 5 minutes until it gets good and bubbly. Add in flour and salt, mix it up until it looks like dough, and don’t forget to stop it a few times to scrape up whatever is on the sides and bottom. We’re putting effort into this, so there’s no time for stupid mistakes.
Next go the eggs: One. At. A. Time. You have to give each one a bit of time to get comfortable in there and when it disappears, the next one gets to go in. Once that’s done, give the bowl another scrape, turn the mixer back on, and slowly stream in melted butter and keep mixing until everything looks like dough.
Cover with plastic and let it rise in a warm place. An off oven with the light turned on works very well for this. It should take about two hours to double, after which you stir it up nice and good to deflate it, then pop it into the fridge overnight.
Next morning your dough is going to be firm and pliable. Lightly flour a board or counter, throw down your dough, and use your palms to flatten it out until about an inch thick. Spread the pearl sugar on top, pressing it down to stick, then fold the dough into quarters and press down again. Keep doing that until the sugar is all up in that business, then cut it up into small pieces like your recipe suggests and cook, again, to the instructions your waffle iron manufacturer suggested.
What to do if you lose the instructions your manufacturer suggested
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