The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Waffle Iron sticking - desperate!

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Waffle Iron sticking - desperate!

My wife got up this morning and decided it was Father's Day 'weekend', so she started making her Krusteaz Belgians with strawberries and whipped cream. She awoke me, very upset that 'something had happened' to the waffle iron. It's one of the Belgian irons that is on a stand and flips upside down. Apparently she blew a breaker trying to run the coffee maker and the iron at the same time, and now the iron was clogged with this absolutely gooey/sticky/warm/moist Ghostbusters ooze. I sighed, unplugged the iron to let it cool down a bit, then started cleaning it. Since this was the first waffle, there was also a coating of veg oil... I threw everything at it that wouldn't harm the teflon coating. I thought I got it VERY clean, but each time it dried, there was this light-gray 'film' in several spots, so I would re-wash. Finally satisfied, we let it air dry about 15 mins and plugged it back in. Once up to baking temp, I oiled it and poured the first waffle. When it was ready, I carefully lifted the iron, but it was sticking fairly bad again. Using the ol' fork trick, we got the waffle out fairly intact. It was good. I poured the second waffle. When it was done, I carefully lifted the iron, and this one was REALLY stuck. The fork trick failed, and it came out in about 20 pieces, but edible. We gave up at that point and just ate what we had. She was very sad...


This iron has served us well for about 4 years now, and I've never -ever- experienced a waffle stuck this bad. The iron is in a box, still completely fouled up from the last waffle remnants, waiting for me to form some sort of plan of attack here... Is there any way I can recover this griddle to its non-stick glory...? I've always stayed away from commercial sprays (our last iron was ruined by them), and using just a bit of veg oil for each first waffle has always left this waffle iron truly non-stick for the entire batch. In fact, this iron still looks almost brand new. Suggestions greatly appreciated! Please help save the waffle iron! ; D


- Keith

hsmum's picture
hsmum

I hate to say so, and I hope I'm wrong...but I think you may have been over-zealous in your cleaning and removed the non-stick coating.  However, your best bet is probably to call the manufacturer's "help line" or their customer service department.  If there is a solution, they will probably know it.


Karen 

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

Your post brought back a very strange memory for me.  I was in college majoring in occupational therapy--a profession that helps people regain function after illness or injury. 


 We had to prepare a meal while simulating some type of disability.  My partner was blindfolded to simulate blindness and I had to simulate having a stroke.  One side of my glasses was patched, I could not use my right arm or leg. 


Waffles were on the menu.  I was about 20 years old and came from a family where waffles meant buying a box of Eggos--I'd never even seen a waffle iron, let alone use one.  My partner did know how to use one, but because of the danger of getting burned, it was my job to pour the batter onto the hot waffle iron. 


I had no idea how much batter went into the iron, and of course I committed the common beginner's mistake of overfilling the iron which shortly began to overflow everwhere.  I also didn't know about greasing the iron first, so the batter burned into every crack and crevice of the waffle iron.  Aaargh!!!


The hardest part is the professor made us clean everything while still simulating our "disabilities".  I think it took my about 3 hours to get that &^%$#@ waffle iron clean using only my left arm and sitting in a wheelchair. 


Unfortunately, I don't have any wisdom for cleaning your waffle iron, other than to advise you to be grateful for the fact that you have two hands, two eyes, and two legs to do it . 


  ;o)

cahuck's picture
cahuck

I feel bad that I don't remember where I found this recipe, but it is absolutely amazing and no problems at all with waffles sticking because of all the butter. I don't ever grease my Belgian waffle maker!


Sourdough Hot Cakes and Waffles

2 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sourdough starter (Below)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons water

For Waffles:
1/2 cup melted butter

Beat egg yolks with salt until thick and light. Stir in starter.

Beat egg whites until stiff, adding sugar. Fold whites gently into starter mixture.

Dissolve baking soda in water and carefully add to the batter.

For Waffles: add butter just before adding the soda and water. Cook on ungreased griddle or waffle iron.


 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I always spray my with PAM.


--Pamela

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

There is something in them that leaves a sticky brown residue on my baking pans that will NEVER go away.  They are banned from my house.


I don't have the same problem with my oil spray pump.  That's what I use for most things I once used Pam for.


For baking, including loaf pans for bread, I use "Cake Release" which is made for the cake decorating crowd.  It comes in a plastic bottle and you "paint" it on with a pastry brush.  It's economical and works great.  In cake making, it's used instead of greasing and flouring the pan.  I buy it at arts and crafts stores that have a cake decorating department like Michael's.  $ur le Table also carries it. 

Yumarma's picture
Yumarma

Crazy easy and sworn by by the pro bakers on my cake website. Hope you have a pen and paper ready, it's a tricky mixture.


 



  • 1 part veg oil,

  • 1 part shortening,

  • 1 part flour (I assume by volume).

  • Mix.

  • Use as required.


 


Can sit in a capped jar in your cupboard for however long your typical tub of Crisco can survive. As I said, cake pros swear by it and it's only pennies to make. AND you know exactly what went into it unlike the commercial stuff.


Sorry, I know this doesn't help with the baked up waffle iron.

janij's picture
janij

That is awesome.  Do you but it in a pump after that?  Or just brush it on.  I am sure this is a dumb question, but I like the idea of not buying the can stuff.  Would love to try this.

Yumarma's picture
Yumarma

so you just brush/smear it onto the pans. The gals RAAAVE over it.

hsmum's picture
hsmum

Hmmm..that is very interesting.  One of my favourite muffin recipes requires you to grease the muffin tins, then sprinkle them lightly with flour.  It always makes me grumble, but I've tried the recipe without that extra procedure and the darn things do tend to stick.  I guess I'll have to whip up a batch of this stuff and try it out for myself.  When you say "shortening" I assume it's vegetable shortening, yes?


Karen

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Yes, Crisco-type vegetable shortening. I use the following recipe:


1/2 c Crisco veg. shortening


1/2 c Vegetable Oil (Wesson, etc.)


1/2 c All purpose flour (any brand is fine)


Use a stand or hand-held mixer. Combine shortening and oil until smooth. Add flour in 2-3 stages, combining each until smooth. When the last of the flour is in, whip on high speed until it resembles whipped topping (fairly firm peaks). Put in any suitable container, air-tight not necessary. Stores in cupboard, but I store mine in the refrigerator. It lasts much longer and is a bit easier to use as it is more solid.


You can substitute any oil, canola, etc., and I've tried several. Vegetable oil has always performed best for me.


To use, dip paper towel or whatever into the mix and spread liberally on baking surface(s). Spread evenly on baking surface(s), paying attention to corners and/or other tricky areas.


This stuff is really amazing, and for literally pennies. I think we've all had our bad experiences with bundt pans... not a problem with this stuff! The old oil/butter and then flour routine always leaves a rim of flour on your baked goods. This stuff doesn't.


- Keith

Nomadcruiser53's picture
Nomadcruiser53

I preheat my belgian iron and then spray before 1st waffle. I can then make 6 waffles without spraying again and none stick at all. Dave

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

the iron.  First try to remove waffle rests with a wooden tool or stiff (non metal) brush.   Just drip a little water around with your fingers and let  the stuck parts soften.   I don't know if you have removable parts but it does make clean up easier.  Once clean, turn it on, give it a light coating of oil (peanut or high heat tolerant oil)  then press a paper towel into it and close to soak up any excess.  Remove paper and let the iron cool. Heat up and use before storing for next year.  Store clean and dry.  After the last waffle is baked, let it cool down, wipe the outside and put away.


I can't remember ever washing the waffles in a waffle iron.   if it's dusty, a fast rinse of cold water was enough before heating.  If the iron isn't hot enough for the first waffle, it will also stick.  I remember my mother always pitching the first waffle to the house animal for it "cleaned" the iron and prepared the surface.  Seemed to me the first one always stuck a little.  That was before teflon and the biggest iron enemy was moisture.  The steel got pretty black with time but still works like a charm.


It is important to have enough butter or fats in waffle batter, the obvious reason is to prevent sticking and why waffles are not eaten everyday.  Make sure the recipe is a calorie bomb then it won't stick!


Mini

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Faced withi your dilema (I have belgian waffle iron like the one you describe) I think I'd try the process used to season cast iron pans (but not in the oven, of course) by simply heating the iron and generously brusing it with vegetable oil (severl iterations) then allowing to cool (while remaining closed) and wiping it free of excess oil.


It'll smoke up the kitchen a bit, but open windows and doors (or doing it outside on the deck/porch if you have an exterior electrical outlet) should prove successful.


Be careful though.  I'll get very hot (keep a fire extinguisher handy)

photojess's picture
photojess

you may just have to re-season the thing to death, before getting it back to what it was like before.


Also the suggestion to call the manuf. comp was a good one too.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

As already mentioned the amount of butter in the recipe is critical to waffles that do not stick.  This information might have just become important if you have just moved your iron into a permanently altered state.


I have no specific suggestions for dealing with a non stick surface as we have no such thing in our house.  Non stick means teflon and teflon means...... well, let's just say it isn't that good for the body.


Jeff

suave's picture
suave

I had a similar problem once. You just have to tough it out.  Oil the iron before each waffle and after a while it will go away.  I think mine was back to normal after 3 10-waffle bakes.  I don't use vegetable oil though - I brush some melted butter before the first portion of batter goes in.

pancakes's picture
pancakes

I always just grab the stick of butter and quickly rub a little on the top and bottom of the preheated iron then pour in my batter.  My waffle iron is over 20 years old and nothing ever sticks.

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Thanks so much for all the comments! Responses to some are as follows:



rainbowz wrote:


Crazy easy and sworn by by the pro bakers on my cake website. Hope you have a pen and paper ready, it's a tricky mixture.


 



  • 1 part veg oil,

  • 1 part shortening,

  • 1 part flour (I assume by volume).

  • Mix.

  • Use as required.



I actually use this recipe, and have some in the fridge. I'll vouch for it, 100%. Problem is, it's a solid (with flour in it), and I use it to coat baking pans, muffin tins, etc. Never thought of trying it on the iron, but I suppose I could melt some in the micro enough to be brushed into the griddle. Being a belgian type waffler, the grids are very deep... I will consider that if my next try fails... thanks!


 



Janknitz wrote:


There is something in them that leaves a sticky brown residue on my baking pans that will NEVER go away.  They are banned from my house.



Agreed. As stated in my original post, that build-up is what led to the downfall of the last iron. Personally, I have found that applying the spray to a paper towel first, then wiping the residue onto the cooking item works best for me, and minimizes build-up. I cannot impart this wisdom on my wife, however, and she just sprays with complete abandon. I just stopped buying them and instead made the home-made pan release rainbowz posted above.


 



hsmum wrote:


I hate to say so, and I hope I'm wrong...but I think you may have been over-zealous in your cleaning and removed the non-stick coating.



Thanks for your response, Karen. I see I exaggerated a bit with the 'threw everything at it' line, but no, the coating wasn't ruined by the cleaning. What I meant was, everything that wouldn't hurt non-stick, such as paper towels, soft sponges, and plastic bristle brushes (specifically baby bottle brushes and an old toothbrush).


 



suave wrote:


I had a similar problem once. You just have to tough it out.  Oil the iron before each waffle and after a while it will go away.  I think mine was back to normal after 3 10-waffle bakes.  I don't use vegetable oil though - I brush some melted butter before the first portion of batter goes in.



This may be the eventual solution. I know I did not ruin the non-stick surface, but something is definitely not right. Interesting that a majority agree that high butter content batter sticks the least, so yeah, maybe a coating of butter on the grid over several bakes will make it better... I can handle some sticking, but when it's so bad that you end up with another complete mess, you're back to square one again. I'll give several ideas a try... : )


- Keith

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

Keith ... you've prpbably closed discussion on this but a couple of late thoughts. First, make sure that the first waffle goes into an overly well greased waffle iron. This is the basis of the "one for the dog" concept. It does work.  We brush on either peanut oil or lard since they handle high temps well. And, put the grease into a cool waffle iron and then heat it (flipping it a few times as it comes to heat). Never heat teflon empty as that WILL destroy the teflon.


It is also true that the recipe's proportion of fat also affect the release properties of the final product as well as the crispiness of the final product.


Paul


 

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Thanks Paul, all comments welcomed. Threads like this tend to carry on due to people who have similar problems. The iron sits in a box waiting for me to try some different things.



Never heat teflon empty as that WILL destroy the teflon.



Never heard that one before. I've always let it come to baking temp, then brushed on the oil right before pouring the first waffle.


I'm going to give it a first bake using my yeasted batter recipe. I just hope it recovers... darn thing was $80, and I planned on spending some extra money this month on a new ingredient scale. Thanks again for your thoughts : )


- Keith

SusanWozniak's picture
SusanWozniak

I do not own a waffle iron but I own a paninni press which is functionally and virtually the same thing, just with different grooves.   (BTW, I hate it.  You have to cool it and then clean it with paper towels!  I try to limit my paper towel use to cat puke.  If you like pressed sandwiches, buy a grill pan and a separate press because you can wash both in the sink.  Also, buy stainless steel.  Non-stick surfaces are, as we used to say in the '60s, "bogue.")


However, I worked for America's biggest cookware chain for 8 years and sold All-Clad cookware like nobody's business.  Let me tell you what All-Clad has to say.


First of all, never . . . yes, that NEVER . . . heat a non-stick pan without something in it.  I believe someone touched upon that above.  Always . . . let me repeat . . . always use a touch of oil or butter.


Never use commercial sprays as they break down the surface of non-stick pans.


I hate non-stick pans.  Rather than buy one, take a cooking class.  Seriously.  Every living thing on this planet has Teflon -- which has not been available for years -- in its cells.  Learn to cook with stainless steel.  You and your children and the planet will be happier.


I use olive oil for frying.  However, olive oil in a glass bread pan is the devil's own work to clean up.  I use butter.  (Didn't 'pancake' mention butter?) I use butter on my paninni press as well.  I peel down the paper and rub the end of a stick on the surface.  I would do that with a waffle iron as well.


Never, never, never wash non-stick stuff in the dishwasher.  I use Seventh Generation and other natural dish washing liquids and add either BarKeeper Friend or baking soda to clean stainless but I wouldn't put either near any non-stick pan I might own.


My mother's waffle iron from the 1940s was some sort of metal made brown from years of use and waffles never stuck to it.


 

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

I believe the warning regarding NEVER heating a non stick surface without something on it is a result the pet bird deaths caused by teflon.  It isn't exactly good for any other living creatures.


Jeff

debsidoodle's picture
debsidoodle

i found this site whilst looking for pita recipes and i'm in heaven here. thanks for that great coating keith (yes bundt pans are a killer) - i will whip up a batch asap.  I do have an old belgian  teflon (i think)coated waffle maker and as it heats up i've always sprayed it with a Pam-like substance but didn't know the down side of this. it's worked well for me but i guess i'll try oil next time.