Monday, July 7, 2008

Overnight sensation

I think breakfast is our favorite meal of the day around here. At least it's the one that gets eaten with no (okay, very few) complaints. Both of my girls love all breakfast foods with the exception of eggs. I've tried a number of times to feed them scrambled eggs, but neither of them will eat them. I can't really blame them; I don't like eggs myself (scrambled or otherwise).

If you ask Brianna, she'll tell you that her favorite breakfast food is French toast. She can easily eat as many pieces of French toast as I do. Gillian isn't far behind. But we don't always have the right bread on hand (in the freezer) to make that. One of her other favorites is waffles. I've told her that if she wants waffles, all she has to do is remind me to make the batter the night before.

Okay, so that may make you wonder, since when do you have to mix up waffle batter the night before? Well, the only kind of waffles I make anymore is yeasted waffles, and the batter rises overnight in the fridge. I first discovered yeasted waffles in one of my issues of Cook's Illustrated several years ago. And after the first time I made them, I was hooked. I don't think I can ever go back to regular waffles. Why? Both the taste and the texture. These waffles taste buttery and have just a bit of tang from the overnight rise, yet the texture is light and crisp. The crisp part is what really got me. I hate soggy waffles.

I've made this recipe many, many times without playing around with it. But when I made the batter Saturday night, I thought of something new to try--I added some nutmeg. A lot of doughnut recipes have nutmeg, so why not waffles? The addition made for a subtle background note, but it was quite good. I could actually taste it more when the waffles cooled off a bit.

I definitely encourage anyone who's never had a waffle made with yeast to give these a try. Yes, you have to mix the batter the night before, but it only takes a few minutes. And the leftovers (yes, even we have leftovers--the recipe makes a lot) can be stored in the fridge for a couple days (or frozen for longer) and toasted for a quick weekday breakfast.

Yeasted Waffles
(adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

1 3/4 cups milk (I use 1%, but it doesn't really matter which you use)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into pieces
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup (I use a 2-cup Pyrex measure) and microwave until the milk is warm and the butter is almost melted (about 2 minutes on high). Stir until the butter is completely melted. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, yeast and nutmeg in a large bowl to combine. Whisk the milk/butter mixture into the flour mixture; continue to whisk until the batter is smooth. In a small bowl (I just use the measuring cup from the milk and butter), whisk the eggs and vanilla until combined, then add the egg mixture to the batter and whisk until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover the bowl, and refrigerate overnight (10-12 hours). (I usually transfer the batter to my 4-liter Cambro container with a lid.)

Heat your waffle iron, then take the waffle batter out of the refrigerator (the batter will be foamy and doubled in size). Whisk the batter to recombine (it will deflate). Use about ½ cup batter for a 7-inch round iron (the size I have--if yours is bigger, adjust as necessary). Yields 8-9 7-inch round waffles.


  1. I love waffles. I just made a batch of gingerbread ones the other day. When they're gone, I'm moving on to these!

  2. This recipe sounds delicious. I keep a watch out for waffle recipes, hoping I can find THE one. I'm another fan of Pern, by the way.

  3. Don't yeasted waffles make you a little bit of a zealot? I can't understand why anyone would make another kind of waffle! Yum...

  4. I adore waffles with lots of salted butter and Lyle's golden syrup. I usually eat them later in the day though. They can be too much for me to handle in the morning.