Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sourdough Waffles

While I’m on the subject of breakfast, I’m going to encourage you to make waffles. Yes, you are gonna need a waffle iron. Yes, people have to eat them when they’re ready because that’s when they’re best. Yes, if you do the cooking you may have to eat the last one.

I have friends I made through social media, in particular on Twitter. Many people in my family hate Twitter, like my kids, or my brother. My rule of thumb on Twitter for keeping the haters away is Block Early, BlockOften. Mostly I have a good time there, except once, and I’ll write about that another day. My husband refers to my Twitter friends as “strangers.” He has a point.

One of my strangers/friends is a hard-core foodie, and devotes many hours on the weekend to cooking. He makes his own saag paneer, for fuck’s sake. Anyway, he also makes sourdough waffles and who doesn’t want sourdough waffles?

When I embarked on the adventure of growing my own sourdough from scratch, I did so knowing very little about it. A wild yeast you capture from the air seemed like an easy thing to me, like tripping on hotel wall-to-wall carpeting, or drinking from a faucet when you’re thirsty and have no cup: easier to do than not to do. But also, maybe, something not to think about too hard, because the idea of wild invisible yeasts flying around is unsettling. I followed the directions I found here. It took a few days. I moved the thing to the basement, where the temperature seemed to be easily maintaining around 69F. I fed it, and waited. And then, like magic: bubbles.

If I had known that keeping a sourdough is like having plants, I would not have attempted it; I am a known plant-killer.

The sourdough you need for waffles can come from the leftover sourdough you discard at regular feedings.

We got our waffle iron in the mid-80s, when I was still young and I still loved to cook. By the early 90s, we had hungry toddlers, so we had to abandon the tedious process of one-waffle-at-a-time, taking 13 minutes per waffle. We bought a flat top griddle and switched to making Sunday pancakes. I always found that pancakes and waffles didn’t keep, with ordinary batter turning black and separating overnight in the fridge. In my experience, with sourdough waffle batter you can keep the raw batter covered in the fridge for several days without it becoming yucky.

My oldest child takes home a jar of sourdough when he visits, because he hasn’t found a better waffle batter recipe.
Sourdough waffles

The night before you want waffles, you make a “sponge;” to 2 cup buttermilk , stir in 1 cup cold (or room-temperature) unfed sourdough starter; add and mix 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 2 T sugar. Cover, and leave on counter overnight.

In the morning, beat 2 large eggs. Add 1/4 cup melted (and cooled) butter (I have also used bacon fat and I have used goose fat, both with good results); beat in 3/4 t. salt and 1 t. baking soda. Add this egg mixture to the sponge, and mix.

The slimy, living sponge might resist the addition of these ingredients. Be gentle and patient, and try not to overmix.

Cook on a preheated, well-greased waffle iron; mine takes 7 minutes on the first side and 6 on the second. This recipe makes about 4 waffles in my waffle iron.

Serve waffles immediately, to ensure crispness. You can try to hold them in a warm oven; or, do what my youngest does, and put what you don’t finish in the fridge and warm it up in the toaster.

1 comment:

  1. Might I invite you to also try 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 cup whole milk, 1 cup white starter, 1 tsp salt, 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar (or maple syrup), 1 1/2 cup white flour, stir and covered over night. Next morning mix in two large eggs and 1/4 tsp of baking soda?