I fail at waffles

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I feel like I have mastered the art of making many Sunday brunch meals. I make buttermilk pancakes, french toast, creamy scrambled eggs, etc. Waffles, on the other hand, mystify me. Every time I attempt to make waffles, the first waffle sticks to the iron and it takes ~5 minutes to scrape it off. Later attempts don't stick quite so badly, but they are always soggy. I am trying to achieve light and crisp. I've tried three different waffle recipes from Mark Bittmann's How to Cook Everything, I have tried using different oils and cooking sprays. Nothing seems to work. There is always the possibility that my waffle iron is just broken/horrible/difficult to use properly. (Oh favorite thing about the waffle iron, is it has a temperature dial on the front with the following markings: dot dot dot dot dot "warm waffle" dot dot dot 1 2 3 4 5. Does that make sense to you? 'Cause it certainly doesn't make sense to me).

This morning's droopy attempt is pictured above. Anyone have any waffle making advice?

UPDATE: After a visit from a friend with more waffle-making success than I, and some searching on the internet, I found some things which help a lot. First of all, in all previous attempts I was skipping the oil/butter in the batter. Fat is optional in pancake batter, so I assumed that the same held for waffles, but it turns out that with sufficient fat in the batter, the waffles don't stick to the iron. It even seems unnecessary to spray the iron with oil!

The other thing which seems to make a difference is putting the waffles in a warm oven for a few minutes after they are done. This preserves the crispness of the waffles a little longer than going straight to table. It also allows you to prepare more than one waffle at a time, which is great for making waffles for a group.


3 Responses to I fail at waffles

  1. 2651 David Fuller June 2, 2009 11:36:pm

    Blake, Sandy and I would have preferred to meet you Phyllis under happier circumstances. But it was a pleasure nonetheless. Given persistence and dedication, anyone who can characterize the coherence in seven transmon qubits in a circuit QED architecture seems destined to master waffle consistency. Have you tried this experimental approach? http://tinyurl.com/WIGrecipe

    Your blog entry implies that you have considered a change in apparatus. Here's 1 which promises brunch-worthy results within 90 seconds: http://tinyurl.com/brunch-worthy

    You'll see that the reviewer also recommends the above linked recipe. Controlling for equipment and ingredients (including the combination thereof) it would seems to come down to a function of temperature, pressure* and time. Not unlike the challenge which confronted Ed Teller and Stan Ulam. Happy ironing,

    David

    *- as a child I learned that restraining the waffle iron lid to retard the rising process results in an extra-thin, overly crisp waffle + puddles of uncooked batter. My Mother called this a "big mess." Enrico Fermi might have called it the same as if the Trinity test had failed, "a result."

  2. 2660 Blake Johnson June 7, 2009 10:45:pm

    @David:

    Thanks for the recipe link. Mark Bittmann also mentions the cornstarch+waffles combination but I have never tried it. Looks like an interesting possibility.

  3. 2673 David Fuller June 19, 2009 5:24:pm

    Blake,

    Thought you might find this interesting — albeit perhaps more so Monday after lunch than Sunday @ brunch — unless, of course, you construct a high-temp superconducting waffle iron: http://tinyurl.com/QuantSingInMetallicCr

    Cheers, David

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