Waffles are really not that hard to make. So why have I been so intimidated by them, most of my life?
Sure, you have to get the dry/liquid balance right. There's the question of whether or not it's necessary to separate the eggs & beat the whites. The waffle iron has to be adequately seasoned or oiled, so the waffles don't stick. And, if you get ever-so-slightly over-generous when pouring the batter, you'll meet with the inevitable heartbreak and anguish of waffle-iron overflow. Oh, the tears and recriminations! [Pretty sure that last line was stolen from an episode of Buffy I just re-watched.]
Okay, there are challenges. Granted. But now that I've made waffles a handful of times from batter, I think I've developed a pretty good feel for avoiding these most common pitfalls. (The egg question, by the way? Doesn't seem to matter for my standard waffle iron. I think it might make a difference when using a Belgian waffle iron.) The logical next step, I decided, was to take a little more control over what goes into the waffles—more whole grains, no sweeteners because the syrup takes care of that—and that means making them from scratch.
Equipment recommendation: If your waffle iron needs to be greased, and you're like me and don't tend to keep cooking spray around, get a silicone pastry brush. I grabbed a pair from Ikea the last time I was there, and while they're not wonderfully delicate for use in actual pastry, they are fantastic for lightly brushing oil or melted butter onto a hot waffle iron.
If you have a shelf or two full of gluten free cookbooks, as I do, then you may have noticed the two things I've noticed: (1) a lot of GF cookbooks don't bother with pancakes or waffles, and (2) when they do, the recipes often seem to be unnecessarily complex. I'm just not going to mess with all that when I'm hungry after church on Sunday. But, fortunately, Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking, by Kelli Bronski and Peter Bronski, contains a pretty straightforward waffle recipe that I was able to use as a guide. I halved their recipe and still made enough for four full-sized waffles on my Cuisinart Round Classic Waffle Maker [link provided as a size reference]; I also changed the flour blend, because my main objective was to used whole-grain flours.
Bob's Red Mill, which is pretty widely available these days, makes all of the types of flour I used, plus xanthan gum and a baking powder I believe is GF. Argo baking powder, which is what I had on-hand, is also GF.
1/3 c. millet flour
1/3 c. sorghum flour
1/4 c. teff flour
1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. GF baking powder
1 egg, separated if making Belgian waffles
3/4 c. milk
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted, plus a little extra for brushing the iron, if needed
maple syrup, fruit, or other topping as desired
1. Measure the flours, xanthan gum, salt, and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Whisk to blend.
2. Plug in waffle iron and set to desired darkness (if settings are available), a little lighter than for refined-flour waffles.
3. If separating the egg, place the white into a separate bowl, big enough to accommodate beaters or some vigorous whisking. Beat until stiff peaks form, then set aside.
4. Add the egg yolk (or whole egg) and milk, and mix well. Drizzle in the melted butter and mix until well-combined. If the white was beaten separately, fold it in, gently, until just incorporated.
5. When the waffle iron is ready, brush it lightly with melted butter, then add enough batter to fill the center of the iron bed, leaving about a 2-inch border when the batter has been spread out a little. It will expand toward the edges! Adjust the quantity as needed for your particular machine.
6. Leave the waffle iron alone until it indicates that the waffle is done, then gently remove it with a heatproof utensil such as a silicone spatula. If you have hungry people waiting, pop the hot waffle onto someone's plate and pass the syrup! Otherwise, place the waffle on a baking rack so it doesn't get soggy. Cool waffles freeze well and can be reheated in a toaster or toaster oven on a busy morning!
makes 4 large, round waffles