Tuesday, 24 June 2014
I used to have two problems with making waffles.
First, by the time I'd got up, mixed the batter, left it to rise and then actually made the waffles, I was ravenous. I don't like waiting around for my breakfast. Second, I didn't like the way that they a/ went limp quickly and b/ had to be served as each one was ready to avoid a/. Despite the problems, I still made a lot of waffles whenever I was back in Switzerland (and therefore in close vicinity to mum's waffle iron).
Last week I got my own waffle iron as a birthday present. It's a stovetop one that sits on my gas hob. I've been practicing nearly every day since (I think the batch this morning was the 9th) and I think I've finally worked out how to cook with it. It seems that every type and even model of waffle maker is quite different - I think you probably have to retouch your recipe and technique every time you try a new one (though I think the bulky electric ones are easier to use and get good results with).
With my new waffle enthusiasm, I set about solving my two problems. I knew the first could be solved by an overnight rise in the fridge, though adjusting the amount of yeast and deciding on the optimum amount of rise took some time. I thought the second might be solved by a warm oven. It turns out that you need a medium-hot oven, but it does work, creating lovely crispy edges. I haven't tried it with a bigger batch (I was so used to making this recipe I forgot to double when I had my friends to stay this weekend, much to my despair) and I'd be a bit worried that the first ones might get a bit too crispy, but it's worth a try.
I like mine with very crispy streaky bacon, some banana or strawberries and lashings of maple syrup (despite the fact that apparently fruit and bacon is weird?). I've also recently discovered the purer pleasure of a bit of salted butter melted over the top with some maple syrup. What do you like with your waffles?
30g unsalted butter
125g plain flour
1 tbsp brown sugar
a few pinches of fine sea salt
3/4 tsp instant yeast (about 3.5g or half a normal packet)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla paste
The evening before, make the batter. Place the butter in small saucepan and melt. Keep heating until the butter foams up and and the flecks go brown (see foundation if you're not used to brown butter). Pour into a bowl and put into the fridge to cool. Sieve the flour, brown sugar and salt into a big mixing bowl, then stir in the yeast. Make a well in the middle and add the egg, then whisk in, bringing some of the flour into the centre. Add the milk in several additions, whisking as you go. Once you have a smooth batter, whisk in the vanilla and the cooled brown butter (can be warm but not hot to the touch). Cover with clingfilm. Leave to rise at room temperature for half an hour or so then place in the fridge overnight.
The next morning, take out the mixture (it won't have doubled in size but it should be full of bubbles) and preheat the oven to 180C/350F with a baking tray inside. Let the mixture warm up a bit as you organise toppings, make a pot of tea and preheat the waffle iron. Make according to the instructions on your waffle iron, placing each one straight into the oven as it's done. I get 4 ladles of mixture from this recipe (don't stir it and lose the bubbles). Set up your plates etc while the last one crisps then serve immediately.
(Makes 4 waffles, usually serves 2, 4 at a push)
Three other breakfast recipes:
Dutch Baby (a.k.a. puffed pancake)
Seville Orange Marmalade