The waffle is a childish thing, an ethereal dream that wins the race more often than it should when eating out. At home, as children, we bought them frozen, popped them in the toaster and soaked them in Log Cabin syrup and butter. I loved them anyway — at least the idea of them.
Later as a young adult I bought my first waffle iron, an Art Deco Arvin, at a tag sale and learned that making waffles at home was a very simple task — if you can measure a teaspoon of salt, you can make a waffle from scratch.
Eventually, I settled on recipe by Aretha Frankenstein, and made waffles more times than I should have, using buttermilk and cornstarch for a crisp bite with a light moist interior. The batter can be put together while drinking your first cup.
But what I didn’t realize, until recently, was that her recipe is basically just a shortcut simulating a Belgian yeast-risen waffle. Now, I make the batter the night before, and with yeast and a cool fermentation, my waffles have a great tang, and a light crisp on their own.
Overnight Yeast-risen Waffles
The night before
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active-dry yeast
- 1 ½ cups warm whole milk
- 1/2 cup melted butter and cooled slightly (1 stick)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
1. Combine warm water (about 110˚F) and yeast in a large bowl. The batter will double in size. Let stand for 5 minutes to dissolve.
2. Add the remaining ingredients, except for eggs and vanilla, and mix well to form a smooth batter — preferably with a food processor, or a stick blender for a quick blitz. Don’t overdo it or you risk developing the gluten and a tough waffle.
3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 8 hours (no more than 24).
The next morning
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
4. Preheat a waffle iron.
5. Shortly before cooking the waffles, whisk in the eggs and vanilla and stir until mixed well.
6. Cook according to your iron’s instructions, but roughly ½ cup per waffle. The batter is fairly thick, but it will spread.