I take waffles very seriously. I'm not kidding here. I ate waffles of the frozen variety every single weekday morning for breakfast before going to school for the entire duration of my pre-college school years, aka, 12 years. Or something like that. I don't exactly remember when the whole frozen-waffle-for-breakfast-craze actually started, but I do remember finishing off high school with it. Waffles and I go wayyy back.
It's a no-brainer that I love waffles, given that they were my breakfast item of choice for so long. I had this rule when eating waffles. I refused to eat the waffle until every square had a little bit of whatever topping I was using. It didn't matter if it was maple syrup, a fruit compote, or a fruit jam, every single square had to have the topping before I could even consider eating it. I don't know why really. It was just a thing of mine. The only exception I made to that rule centered around frozen banana waffles. Those I liked to eat plain for some reason...again, I don't really know why, I just did.
Once I got to college and my whole anti-breakfast regime started, waffles and I kinda started to grow apart...there was just never time to eat breakfast in the morning, the freezer in my mini-fridge couldn't really accomodate a package of frozen waffles, and the kitchen in my suite was well, less than ideal as far as cleanliness was concerned, so I didn't really want to go anywhere near it. Waffles then became my standard breakfast item of choice whenever I went to a diner (the Seinfeld diner, obviously), and every now and then, I'd run into the Wafels and Dinges food truck parked along Broadway and I'd get a nice afternoon snack.
These Belgian waffles that I present to you are super special. As much as I love frozen waffles for their incredibly easy and convenient preparation, and all that nostalgia that is associated with them, they do not compare in the slightest bit to that delicious crunch that comes with every bite of a light, tender, and fluffy Belgian waffle. What's the secret ingredient? Yeast. Yes, yeast is the essential ingredient in this recipe, and the inclusion of yeast in a waffle recipe is what makes a Belgian waffle a Belgian waffle. Adding yeast to the waffle batter provides a whole new depth of flavor that you just cannot achieve when making waffles by using merely baking soda and baking powder or whipping egg whites. The one thing you need to keep in mind when making yeasted waffles is that you need to prepare the batter the night before and let it rest so that the yeast can get busy and do its thing. This really isn't a big deal though. All you have to do is throw the ingredients together in a bowl and stir them up, and you've just given yourself an extra couple minutes of sleep in the morning AND an awesome breakfast. Now who wouldn't want that?!
recipe from Will Cook For Friends
1/2 cup water, warm (110-115 degrees F)
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons (1/2 a stick) butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
In a large bowl, add the warm water, and sprinkle in the yeast and sugar. Allow this mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the water has turned foamy. At this point, add the flour, whole milk, melted butter, salt, and vanilla extract, if using. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel, and let sit overnight at room temperature (if your kitchen is warm, the batter can be stored in the fridge as well.
The next day, preheat your waffle iron. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and the baking soda. Add the egg mixture to the batter, and whisk until completely smooth (the batter will deflate a little bit).
The waffle batter will be thin, so simply pour it into the center of the hot waffle iron, let it spread, and then cook according to the manufacturer's instructions. I found that 2/3 of a cup of waffle batter made a very nice, perfectly even waffle, but this of course may differ among waffle irons.
Transfer the finished waffles to an oven that has been preheated to 200 degrees F to keep them warm and crisp while you prepare the rest of the waffles (I got about 8 waffles; the last one turned out kind of small since I was running out of batter at that point!). Serve the waffles warm with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!