So I’ve said before that I have a beloved family recipe for yeasted waffles– it’s my gold standard for waffles, and I’ve never found a restaurant waffle or alternate homemade recipe to outshine it. It’s the main reason that my search for the perfect plate of fried chicken and waffles has been unsuccessful– other people’s waffles never measure up to my own, and it ruins the dish for me. I guess I’ve just been spoiled by my dad’s waffles, which I never fail to ask for on visits home and only relatively recently learned to make for myself.
I’m sharing the recipe with you now so that you can all enjoy the feathery-light, crispy, slightly malty-tasting waffles that I grew up with. The batter is simple– no whipped egg whites or weird flours– and calls for a basic overnight rise on the countertop, so you just stir the starter together the night before and you’ll be ready to waffle in the morning. (I love using “waffle” as a verb, don’t you?) The batter cooks up impossibly light and airy, with a crisp exterior that will make you vow never to go back to the thick, heavy, Belgian-style waffles you see everywhere else. With a little salted butter and a drizzle of maple syrup, you need to eat these immediately or they’ll get cold and soggy and you’ll lose the magic.
So, are you ready?
2 cups water
95 grams dried milk (about the amount for 1 quart of reconstituted milk. OR, see Note 1 for a substitute)
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp active dry or instant yeast
2 tbs sugar
6 tbs corn meal
4 tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbs whiskey (optional)
1 tsp baking powder
more flour and/or corn meal as needed
1. The night before you plan on making the waffles, heat 1 cup of the water to 100 degrees F (if you don’t have a digital thermometer the easiest way to do this is to mix together equal parts boiling water and ice water and then let it cool for a minute or so), and mix in one cup of the flour, dried milk, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir well, cover loosely with a towel, and set in a warm place to rise.
2. The next morning your mixture should be inflated and foamy. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well (water doesn’t need to be warm for this part), then let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes.
3. You should have a medium-consistency batter– probably about the same as boxed cake mix batter after you’ve finished beating it for the 2 minutes they always say in the instructions. If your batter is too thick or thin, add extra water or flour to adjust. Feel free to experiment with your preferred consistency.
4. Using a standard (not Belgian) waffle iron set to medium-high or high, make your waffles. These turn out very light and crisp, and soak up butter and syrup amazingly well. Eat immediately, as soon as they come off of the waffle iron. If you need to store them, do so in a warm oven on a rack so they stay hot and crispy.
These also freeze quite well. Reheat in a toaster or toaster oven to serve.
- I realize that not everyone has dry milk powder in the pantry– when that happens to me, I use evaporated milk instead of the water/powder mix. Since the original recipe calls for two cups of water and enough milk powder to make a quart of milk (essentially double-strength milk), and evaporated milk is already basically double-strength milk, it works out pretty well. And because a can of evaporated milk is only 14 oz., I make up the difference with regular milk.
- For a slightly more savory waffle, try adding about 1 tsp. of sesame oil to the batter along with your vegetable oil. We used to do it, but it’s not always what I’m in the mood for so I didn’t put it in the standard recipe.