Food & Drink

Stir Crazy: Tips to make perfect waffles

Follow the tips below to make great waffles.
Follow the tips below to make great waffles.

I’ve started turning on the oven, though mostly to keep warm the peach pancakes I’ve been making on Sunday mornings.

A little chopping of the fresh, peeled fruit, a little draining of the juice (always saved), then mixing it all into good ol’ Bisquick’s supreme pancake recipe (on the box). I am going to miss them with peach season just about over.

So, it’s on to waffles. They strike me as more cold-weather food, though I’m not sure why. It has been my experience that they take more expertise than pancakes. I’m forever wrecking them by either leaving them on the griddle too long or not long enough.

And that brings me to Mr. Breakfast. I’m not sure he’s a real guy, but his website gave me some great tips on making better waffles. And when a reader wanted advice as well, I went looking.

Please note: These tips apply to American-style non-yeast waffles (as opposed to Belgium waffles); A perfect waffle is defined here as being crisp and well-browned on the outside with a moist, light, airy and fluffy inside.

“Nonstick” is in the batter. The amount of oil or butter in your batter will determine whether your waffles will stick to your waffle maker. If you are consistently making waffles that stick, try increasing the oil or butter.

Separation is good. If a light and fluffy waffle interior is important to you, separate your eggs. Add the beaten yolks to the wet ingredients of your batter. Then, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the eggs whites gently into the final batter using a spatula.

Avoid violent mixing. Waffle batter is a tricky character. It should be smooth enough to flow freely through the dimples of the waffle plate, but it should never be over-mixed. Using a rubber spatula (or a spoon if you don have one), mix the wet ingredients of your batter into the dry ingredients using a gentle motion and a couple extra minutes; mix the batter until smooth.

Keep the lid on. As a general rule you should always wait until your waffle maker says it’s OK, by way of its indicator light or beeping mechanism. If you have a waffle that’s sticking to the plates (see first tip to avoid), lifting the lid too soon could cause your waffle to rip.

Steam: a waffle’s natural kitchen timer. If your waffle maker doesn’t have a doneness indicator, watch the steam coming out of the unit as you cook. When the steam stops, lift the lid. The waffle should be done. Chances are that it will be well-done. On our test waffle maker, complete steamlessness matched a setting of 8 out of 10 on the doneness dial.

Staying warm. Set your oven to 250 degrees at the same time that you preheat your waffle maker. As you pull completed waffles from the maker, transfer them to the oven. A short time in the oven can actually improve the crispness of a waffle. (If you cover them, they will get soggy.)

Don’t waste waffles. If you make too many waffles, just place them in a freezer bag after they’ve cooled. Place wax paper between multiple waffles and squeeze as much air from the bag as possible. When you’re ready to eat them, set out the preferred number of waffles and let them defrost for about 10 minutes. Then, heat the waffles in your oven at 300 degrees for about 5 minutes. If the waffles fit comfortably in your toaster, go for it. Just defrost them and toast at a medium-low setting.

Note: If you’re purposely making waffles for later use, cook them at a setting slightly lower than you’d ordinarily use. Then, they’ll be just the way you like them when they’re hit with more heat.

Best Waffles Ever

1 3/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 beaten egg yolks

1 3/4 cups milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 egg whites, beaten stiffly

Mix all dry ingredients. Combine yolks and milk. Stir into dry ingredients. Stir in oil and mix. Gently fold in beaten egg whites; do not over mix.

Pour about 1/2 cup at a time into waffle iron. Makes 5 servings.

Contact me at sboyle@bnd.com, 618-239-2664 or follow me on Twitter @BoyleSuzanne.

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