The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough waffles revelation

JMonkey's picture

Sourdough waffles revelation

Many, many months ago, when I first started making sourdough, I tried making sourdough waffles with some leftover starter.

Man, was I disappointed. The flavor was nice, but the recipe said to expect some cool chemistry, and I saw none. What's more, these waffles were heavy and tough. Chewy. I like a crispy waffle with a tender, airy interior. Though the taste was good, these definitely did not fit the bill.

Then, last night, after I'd set up the final build for today's weekly sourdough bake, I had a revelation. I was making a no-knead version of white flour sourdough (odd for me, as those of you who know me know that I'm a health-nut hippie crunchy whole-wheat kind of guy. But every so often, I get a white bread craving, and, besides, we had company coming over. So what the hell?), and I had some starter left over. I hate throwing the stuff away. Glancing over at the unkneaded dough that would essentially knead itself while I slept, it suddenly hit me.

"Duh. You were using AP and whole wheat BREAD flour in the sponge for the waffles. No wonder it was tough. The stuff kneaded itself into bread dough!"


So I went to the freezer, where I had a bag of leftover soft white whole wheat flour (i.e. whole wheat pastry flour -- I grind my own, but Bob's Red Mill sells an excellent whole wheat pastry flour. Their regular whole wheat bread flour? Not so much.) I figured I had enough starter and flour for a half batch of the recipe I'd used before, which made six waffles. Plenty for my wife, my 3-year-old daughter and me. So using the sourdough waffle recipe from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion as a guide, I whipped up a whole wheat version.

What a difference pastry flour makes. These were the lightest, crispiest, tastiest waffles I'd ever had. And, they were 100% whole wheat. I promise, if you make them with whole wheat pastry flour, especially WHITE whole wheat pastry flour, no one's going to know the difference:


  • 6 ounces or about 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 Tbs sweetener (honey, agave syrup, sugar, maple sugar, whatever)
  • 9 ounces or 1 cup and 2 Tbs butttermilk
  • 2 ounces or 1/4 cup of active sourdough starter, preferably whole wheat, but not required. Should be the wet kind (i.e. 100% hydration.)

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbs (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

    Mix up the sponge the night before. Cover it and let it sit. The next morning, it should be very bubbly. In another bowl, beat the egg with the melted butter until light, and then mix in the salt and baking soda. Dump this mixture into the sponge -- if the sponge is acidic enough, it should jump when it hits the alkaline baking soda. Mix it all together and then spoon it into a hot waffle iron. You'll know your waffle iron better than mine, but it usually takes about 2-3 minutes. I judge by the volume of steam -- when it starts to dissapate, they're usually done.

    This recipe makes six traditional waffles. If you've got a Belgian waffle maker, I'm afraid you'll have to find out for yourself how many it will make, but no matter. The recipe stands well to doubling, even quadrupeling, and leftover waffles freeze beautifully, so don't worry about making too many. When you want one for breakfast, just pop it direclty into the toaster from the freezer. Delicious.

    If you want to use up more starter than I did, simply double the amount of starter and only add 1 cup (8 ounces) of buttermilk and 5 ounces (1 cup + 1 Tbs) of flour.

  • Comments

    mountaindog's picture

    JMonkey - funny coincidence I just made the same King Arthur recipe yesterday too. I had wanted to try it for awhile but didn't have a waffle iron - so I just picked up a Belgian type one - the larger deeper squares seem to enhance the sourdough waffles I think, in terms of crispy on the outside, soft and airy inside. I used King Arthur AP flour, not bread flour, I would think bread flour would make them too tough as you say. Hadn't thought of using Bob's whole wheat pastry flour, that's a great idea, will try that next time.


    The only things I changed in this recipe, since I can't have dairy, was to substitute soy milk for the buttermilk, and soy spread for the butter. They came out really delicious and with great texture, a nice way to use excess starter. I made the full recipe in the book and it made about 5 Belgian waffles in a large square waffle iron that makes 4 pieces at a time - so that would actually be about 20 big fat waffle sections - quite  lot. We froze the excess, not sure if they'll be edible after reheating but we'll see.

    JMonkey's picture

    I'd imagine that they'll be fine, Mountaindog, so long as you reheat them hot and quick. If you've got a toaster oven, that should do well. Otherwise, I think I'd try the broiler.


    I guess with the Belgian kind, putting them in the toaster is impractical .... 

    Floydm's picture

    That sounds really good. I made waffles this morning too and thought about whether I could do then sourdough, but I didn't plan ahead far enough to do so. Next time, I'll have to try it.

    grepstar's picture

    I made the sourdough waffles from Nancy Silverton's book last weekend and they were easily the best waffles I've ever made. They were super crisp on the outside and light and airy inside. Those waffles are made with a significant amount of butter and no buttermilk, so definitely a richer, more waist-expanding breakfast food. As far as flour goes, I used the Gold 'N White flour from Natural Way Mills which contains the germ but not the bran of the wheat (they claim 14% protein). JMonkey, I'm looking forward to trying the buttermilk version soon. Thanks for the post.

    KipperCat's picture

    Had these waffles for breakfast this morning, using cake flour for about half of the WW pastry flour. They were great - and having the batter mostly ready from the night before was nice. :)

    Bread Engineer's picture
    Bread Engineer

    Made a double batch last weekend and froze for the week, since my oven was out-of-commission. Used starter fed with red whole wheat flour with traces of rye from recent feedings, built the sponge with white whole wheat pastry flour as recommended. Straight out of the iron, they had a great, crisp surface + just a little soft interior. The toaster doesn't restore the leftovers to just-made crispness, but very tasty.