Sourdough Belgian Waffles
I was an adult before enjoying the goodness of Belgian waffles. After that experience, I immediately went out and purchased a waffle iron so that my children wouldn’t have to wait so long try them. Try this recipe, and you’ll find yourself shopping for a waffle iron, too.
Posted by Ashley
When you think of Belgian waffles these days, you might imagine a very tall, crispy, deep pocketed round waffle brought to you covered in strawberries and whipped cream from your favorite breakfast place. In truth, traditional Belgian waffles have nothing to do with tall sides and deep waffle-y pockets. The mark of an honest to goodness, traditional Belgian waffle is not in the special pan or fancy toppings, it’s in the fermentation. That’s right. Real Belgian waffles are a fermented food.
Belgian waffles were introduced to Americans at the 1964 Worlds Fair by Maurice Vermersch from Brussels, Belgium. Because Vermersch assumed Americans wouldn’t know that Brussels was capital of Belgium, and might just be confused by the specific name, he changed the name of the traditional Belgian street food “Brussels Waffles.” True Brussels waffles are a yeasted waffle, dating back to at least the 1840s.
They can be made by starting a yeasted batter overnight with traditional baking yeast, or by adding a few tablespoons of sourdough starter to the batter instead of the yeast.
To serve, the sky’s the limit for your creativity. Traditional Brussels waffles were always made square, and were either served with powdered sugar or occasionally topped with whipped cream. Yogurt and almond butter help to round out the meal and increase the protein content for the health conscious who want to avoid morning blood sugar spikes. Fresh preserves, such as strawberry or cherry jam complement the crunchy waffle exterior and bring the sweet tart pleasure of fruit into the meal. Feel free to also try butter and maple syrup if you just want to keep it simple.
How to Make Sourdough Belgian Waffles
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 3 C warm milk, divided
- 3/4 C butter, unsalted, melted and cooled
- 1/2 C sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 c flour
- 3 eggs, separated
- Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm milk (100-105 degrees F). Allow at least five minutes for the yeast to fully activate and dissolve.
- Whisk in the melted butter, ensuring the butter has cooled so that the yeast isn’t killed by high temperatures.
- Whisk in sugar, salt, and vanilla.
- Slowly whisk in flour, one cup at a time, alternating with the remaining 2-1/2 cups of warm milk. At this point, all the ingredients should be incorporated into the dough except the separated egg whites and yolks.
- Leave the batter on the counter overnight, loosely covered by plastic wrap.
- In the morning, whisk in the egg yolks, using the whisk to deflate the batter and fully incorporate the yolks.
- Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form, and then gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
- Allow the batter to rest for at least 30 minutes before beginning to cook the waffles.
- Cook as you normally would in a standard waffle maker, and enjoy with your favorite toppings. Try dusting with powdered sugar, or better yet, top with a tasty ferment such as yogurt or creme fraiche.
The following recipes will taste delicious on top of your Belgian Waffles:
Ashley is an off grid homesteader in central Vermont. She is passionate about fermentation, charcuterie and foraging. Read more about her adventures at VermontMangoPlantation.com.