Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Geography of Whole Wheat RAISED Waffles

Yeasted is not a word.  But let's not get nit-picky.  Let's talk geography, not grammar.

What American's know as a "Belgian Waffle" in Belgium is actually called the Brussels Waffle.  Belgian waffles, like Belgian draft horses, are different from your average breed of waffle in that they are super tall.    The trick to a true Belgian waffle is that the bread-er uses yeast to raise the waffles.  I don't think that's what the breeder uses to make the horses over a ton but who knows.  Everything is bigger in Belgium.  (?!)  This Belgian, Maurice Vermersch (I don't know how big he was.  Probably huge if he went along with the horses/waffles trend), introduced the waffle during the 1964 NY World's Fair and decided to call it the Belgian waffle upon observing the poor geographical skills of Americans.

The world according to The New Yorker (and perhaps even an understatement of how New Yorkers see it):
AND Manhattan is getting BIGGER according to this NYTimes article on the new subway maps!

Whole Wheat Raised Waffles  Adapted from Orangette - who got the recipe from Marion Cunningham's The Breakfast Book
(Printable Recipe)
Yields about 4-5 batches of waffles (depends on size and configuration of waffle maker)

1/2 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter, melted*
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

The night before, mix the water, yeast and sugar and let stand for 5-10 minutes.
Measure and mix the milk, butter, salt and flours.
Combine with yeast and let stand overnight.  Use a large mixing bowl since the batter will double in size.
In the morning, preheat your waffle maker.
Just before cooking, beat 2 eggs with baking soda and mix into batter.
Cut fruits (we used banana, blueberry, strawberry and apple) can be added on top of the batter after it has been poured into the waffle iron.  

Fruit is optional, but highly recommended.  It's your thing, do what you wanna do.  If you get some fruit stick-age to the iron just let it be part of the next waffle if you cannot remove it gently.

*The next time I use this recipe I will substitute 3/4 cup apple sauce and use only 1/4 stick (2 tablespoons) of butter.  They were delicious and crispy BUT we don't need need to raise cholesterol for raised waffles.

We bought a new waffle iron for my dad as an early fathers day gift.  I had read the Cook's Illustrated waffle iron reviews without consulting my mother.  Both of us went out shopping without communicating and fortunately, only she was successful.  Worst case scenario, we would have had to make space for a waffle maker in our tiny UES apartment.  God forbid.

But anyways, my mom found the Food Network Signature Series waffle maker.  So Aaron and I presented it to my dad, because we love him, and so that I would have an excuse to take the maiden voyage with the waffle maker.  Much of making good waffles is in knowing your waffle maker.  The first few came out a little bit soft to our liking and so we learned to ignore the first "beeeeep" for the second.  There was some talk about how perhaps the trick is when you stop getting steam and that if you are adding fruit, be sure to leave the waffle on (without peeking) for a bit longer.  It's hard to ignore, especially for notoriously impatient New Yorkers, but well worth the wait.

New Yorkers are so rushed that tourists get their own sidewalk lane:

This post is happening from my country home on Freund's Farm in Connecticut.  Although we live in New York now, Lil and I were both raised in the beautiful Northwest corner of CT (aka the NWC).  I think at least part of our patience for bread can be attributed to our country roots because it definitely has nothing to do with trying to squeeze onto the 6 train at 8AM (the 2nd avenue subway is coming!!!)

For those loyal NYC reader(s), just wondering, do you know about the Wafels and Dinges truck?  (And is it weird to ask a question to cyberspace?)  I see it up by 116th on the West Side occasionally.  Just smelling the waffles is at least 2000 calories.  The owner makes them so authentic that he even spells them "wafels" instead of waffles.  Pretty legitimate.  For my melting pot taste buds, these buttery whole wheat raised waffles were fantastic.

Thank for sharing your waffles, Belgium.  Sorry American's tend to not care where in the world you are.  I suppose if you wanted us to know, you should have kept the waffle to yourself so we'd have to travel for them.  No going back now.

- Sarah

P.S. Belgium borders the Netherlands, Germany, and France.  The capital city, Brussels, is essentially due East of London.  Start at home and practice your USA geography:

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