Saturday, January 24, 2015

Yeast Waffles

I came upon this recipe on the Ben & Birdy blog a couple of weeks ago, and was so intrigued that I made the batter that night so we could have waffles the next morning.  They were so good that we had waffles again this morning, too!
This is a very old recipe and was first published in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook in 1896.  This is an amazing cook book (read more about it here), and I've actually owned it since I was a teenager, but hadn't made these waffles until now!  What makes this recipe unique is that the batter has yeast in it.  You mix most of the ingredients up the night before (very quick and simple), cover it, let it sit out all night, then just stir in a couple more ingredients in the morning and get waffling.  What's even better is that you can keep the batter in the fridge for several days.  I haven't tried this yet and have cooked all of the batter each time (the leftovers are great heated in the toaster), but definitely will at some point.  These will probably become a Christmas morning tradition because the prep time in the morning is so minimal, and the waffles themselves are amazing!
I had what I considered to be the best waffle recipe before, but plan to only make raised waffles from now on unless we're suddenly facing a waffle craving and don't have time to let the batter rise.  The other waffle recipe is very good, but this one undoubtedly blows it out of the water.  It's even dethroned pancakes as my favorite breakfast food.  These waffles have a thin, crisp crust that softens very quickly.  My husband prefers his waffles very anemic and floppy, but likes the delicate crust on these.  Inside, they are very light, airy, and soft, not unlike the inside of a really fluffy, fresh from the oven roll.  The smell while they cook is incredible if you're a fan of yeast breads, and the waffles themselves have a bit of a yeast flavor.  The waffles actually remind us a tiny bit of french toast.  If you're at all fond of waffles and have a waffle iron, you really should try this recipe once!
This recipe is very slightly changed from the original, in that 1/4 C butter is used instead of 1/2 C.  That's how it's written on the Ben & Birdy blog, and we have absolutely no complaints about it this way.  I'll probably try the full amount of butter at some point, just because.  Also, when I made the waffles this time, I waited to add the salt with the eggs and baking soda because salt kills yeast.  There was no noticeable difference in the outcome, so I didn't change the recipe.
Quick Note:  I used a regular waffle iron for this, not a Belgian waffle iron.  No promises on how the recipe turns out with a Belgian iron!  Also, because the waffles lose their crisp exterior very quickly, I suggest putting the waffle iron right on the breakfast table and serving the waffles as they come out of the iron.  You can also add a little (1/2-1 tsp) cinnamon to the batter if you want something extra special.
 It's a miracle, I managed to take a non-disgusting photo!  Thanks, natural light!
Yeast Waffles

1/2 C warm water
1 packet yeast
2 C warm milk
1/4 C butter, melted
2 C flour
1 t sugar
3/4 t salt
2 eggs
1/4 t baking soda
In a very large bowl (must be large so the batter doesn't overflow as it rises!), dissolve the yeast in the warm water.  Stir in the warm milk and melted butter, making sure they aren't hot enough to kill the yeast.  Add the flour, sugar, and salt, and whisk until well combined.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature over night.

In the morning, preheat your waffle iron.  Whisk the eggs and baking soda into batter, until smooth.  Grease waffle iron and pour on batter.  The amount will entirely depend on your waffle iron, best to start out with just a little batter so it doesn't overflow!  Close waffle iron and cook until waffle is golden.  Repeat with remaining batter.
Yield: About 6 full size waffles (so 24 small ones when torn apart), or enough to feed about 4 people.

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