Our family likes waffles but we rarely go through the trouble of making them from scratch. Who really has time to whip egg whites early in the morning, with hungry kids nipping at your heels? So we used to rely primarily on a good whole grain mix or tinker with a pancake recipe to make things work. But this usually results in a dense “healthy” tasting version that, as Ava would say, “is not my favorite.”
Enter the yeasted or raised waffle. A while back, we were served waffles like I’ve never tasted before at our neighbor’s house. When I asked her to disclose the trade secret behind such goodness, she mentioned they were “yeasted”. For some reason, it took me a few years to actually seek out a recipe – and as it turns out, they are a classic, from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook which I happened to have on my shelf as part of my vintage cookbook collection (total volumes at press time: 3). They are super easy – mostly made the night before which means you can whip them up even on busy weekday mornings, are a hit with kids and parents alike, and have the most unbelievably scrumptious texture. Light as air is beyond trite but I can’t think of a more apt description.
Adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Eleventh Edition
Prep time: 10 minutes
Yields 6 Belgian-style large waffles
Note: the original recipe calls for white flour and 1/2 cup of butter. For a healthier version, I substituted fine whole wheat flour (white whole wheat works great) and made the waffles with 1/4 cup melted butter and 1/4 cup flaxseed oil.
Put 1/2 cup lukewarm water ((100-110° if you are curious what lukewarm means here) ) + 1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast in a mixing bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Add 2 cups lukewarm milk, 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/4 cup flaxseed oil (or other flavorless vegetable oil), 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar.
Beat in 2 cups whole wheat flour.
Cover the bowl. Let stand overnight or at least 8 hours (but NOT in the refrigerator).
When it is time to cook the waffles, add 2 beaten eggs and a pinch of baking soda. Beat well. The batter will be VERY thin! Cook with a waffle iron and top with berries, marscapone and maple syrup (as shown) or any other favorite.