Sourdough lean Belgian waffles
Before I start out: Credit has to given where it's due and the following post by David inspired me to give this a try. His description works perfectly and is all you need, really, I'm just going to write out my version of it.
In Belgium we have a certain reputation where waffles are concerned: from the crisp on the outside yet light as a feather and moist on the inside Brussels waffle over soft breakfast waffles to the filling and sweet variety baked in Liège which will make your waistline expand quicker than the US Federal government debt. Batters prepared with yeast, baking powder, using fizzy water to lighten things up ands served in a million ways. You name it, they bake it.
Yet, I rarely bake them. Mainly because most of the traditional recipes are heavy on butter and eggs and well, if I can choose between a light pancake batter and a heavy waffle, usually we'll have pancakes for breakfast. If you want to find out exactly how heavy they can be: one of Escoffier's recipes for waffle batter calls for 1 pound of flour, 9 eggs, 4 oz sugar, half a pint of cream and some butter for good measure.
The link I posted above inspired me: how about using what is basically a matured 100% sourdough preferment as a base, adding some egg, flavouring and a little bit of butter? The idea of using sourdough in stead of traditional yeast was already appealing so here's what I set out yesterday morning:
- 200 gr. white all purpose flour
- 30 gr. 100% hydrated sourdough rye starter
- 200 gr. water at room temperature
Method: Simplicity itself, mix it all up in a lidded bowl and leave standing until the preferment is fully matured. My kitchen was cool at 18 centigrade and I didn't add a lot of starter (didn't fancy rye waffles and wanted to keep the acidity in check) so the process took 14 hours.
This morning I took the above and added:
- Skimmed milk: 100 gr.
- Vanilla extract 5 gr.
- Fine cognac: 15 gr (1 TBS)
- Brown sugar: 20 gr.
- Salt: 3 gr.
- 2 egg yolks.
- 3 gr. baking powder (insurance policy but in retrospect probably not required)
- Molten butter: 20 gr. (please use butter and no shortening, the taste is better, trust me).
- 2 egg whites, beaten to medium peaks
Mix it all in the preferment, after mixing, fold in the egg whites with a wooden spoon. For those not using alcohol: the cognac only serves to provide some extra aroma, you can omit it of course (alcohol bakes off anyway).
The end result will be a medium consistency batter, let it stand for 15 minutes while the waffle iron heats up and ladle it on. Yield: 12 waffles.
Serve piping hot, add your favourite topping and enjoy.
The end result resembled (to me) to a large extent Brussels waffles in texture (though the recipe is vastly different), very crisp exterior, fluffy interior, not heavy at all and relatively light on calories.
The preferment made for a nice taste; not acidic at all yet better developed and with more flavour. For the purists: I'm aware Brussels waffles need to be baked in a 4x5 waffle iron but I didn't have that shape handy.
This is a great way to dispose of surplus preferment.