Ah, the perfect waffle. Golden brown; light on the fork; crisp on the outside, “creamy” soft at the center; and offering the rich flavor of butter and eggs, with a tiny bit of deep-fried taste from the hot iron.

Since waffles are SO good, remind me again why I don't make them more often?

Inertia. During the week, breakfast is low-fat cheese, a few almonds, a cold glass of skim-milk Ovaltine.

On weekends, I might treat myself to a scrambled egg and a piece of raisin toast.

Bottom line, it's strictly a failure of imagination that has me robotically cracking an egg into a skillet on Saturday morning, rather than whipping up some easy waffle batter, heating the iron, and treating myself (and anyone else in the house) to a REALLY good breakfast.

These yeast-raised waffles take a bit of planning ahead; the batter needs to rest for at least 30 minutes. But the result is well worth pushing back your usual breakfast time from, say, 8 a.m. to 8:30.

After all, what's the rush? Surely the housework and errands can wait while you enjoy a true comfort-food classic: waffles.

Oh, and one more thing: Since waffles are a favorite with everyone in the family (kids can’t resist the sweet maple syrup, or berries and whipped cream!), they're a great way to celebrate Bake for Family Fun Month. With waffles, kids of all ages can get in on the action, from dumping ingredients into the mixing bowl to spooning batter onto the waffle iron.

OK, let's dive in. First, combine the following in a mixing bowl:

1 1/2 cups (340g) lukewarm milk
6 tablespoons (85g) butter, melted
2 to 3 tablespoons (39g to 57g) maple syrup*
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

*Our taste testers were evenly divided on this one. Some of them liked the touch of maple in the waffle; some preferred the standard unsweetened version. I will say that adding syrup seems to give the waffles more of a yeasty/fermented flavor. Up to you.

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

I like to use Vanilla Bean Crush. See the seeds and crushed pods? GREAT vanilla flavor.

Add 2 cups (241g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, and 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast.

Stir to combine.

It’s OK if the mixture isn’t perfectly smooth; a few lumps are fine.

Cover with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

The mixture will begin to bubble.

You can cook the waffles at this point, or refrigerate the batter overnight to cook waffles the next day.

Here's the batter, ready to go into the fridge.

And here it is the next day; see the yeast at work?

Stir down the batter.

Preheat your waffle iron. Spray it with non-stick vegetable oil spray.

I'm using a deep-pocket Belgian-style waffle maker here; it's one of those flip models, the kind you'll often see at serve-yourself motel breakfast buffets. You pour in the batter, then rotate the iron 180° so the top becomes the bottom. Not sure why flipping the iron works, but it surely makes one heck of a light waffle.

Pour 2/3 to 3/4 cup batter (or the amount recommended by the manufacturer) onto the center of the iron.

It should spread all the way to the edge. Help it to reach the edge by taking a spoon and quickly nudging the batter in that direction.

Close the lid and bake for the recommended amount of time, until the waffle is golden brown.

It takes us 5 to 6 minutes, using our Belgian iron.

Repeat with the remaining batter. This recipe makes about four 7” waffles.

Actually, 4 3/4 waffles. When you don't have enough batter for an entire waffle, pour it into just 2 or 3 of the sections of the iron, to make 2 or 3 quarter-waffles.

Do your waffles a favor: drizzle them with real Vermont maple syrup. If you love rich, strong maple flavor, make sure to go with the real thing. 

Serve immediately, or keep warm in a 200°F oven. See how crisp and light this looks?

Whipped cream and berries optional. I prefer my waffles straight up.

You can choose to prepare the batter for these waffles and cook it after an hour, as noted; but we prefer to let the batter rest overnight in the fridge, where it develops some real depth of flavor, yeasty and rich.

Finally, as you'll read in the comments that accompany the recipe, some readers aren't fond of this “yeasty/fermented” flavor; if you think you might fall into this camp, add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder to the recipe (in addition to the yeast), and cook after just a 30-minute rest; don't refrigerate overnight.

Read, rate and review (please) our recipe for Belgian-Style Yeast Waffles.

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About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was an award-winning Maine journalist (favorite topics: sports and food) before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. Hired to write the newly launched Baker’s Catalogue, PJ became the small but growing company’s sixth employee.PJ wa...
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