Before I discovered overnight sourdough yeast waffles, I was a frustrated maker of second-rate waffles, with little hope for my waffle making prospects. I had whipped whites, creamed yokes, experimented with pearl sugar, brown sugar, sourdough, bananas, bacon and buttermilk. I had made waffles laced with rosemary, chocolate, cornmeal and cookie dough, all with fairly humdrum results. Finally, after mediocre experiments with funky flavor profiles and new techniques, waffle greatness came to our household by way of Fannie Farmer. It was a winter evening when I first came across this odd sounding waffle process in the highly-regarded retro classic, “The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.” I was intrigued by the unusual, and rather unseemly instructions for the cook to leave a batter of milk and butter out overnight. Suspending my disbelief, I whisked up the batter, and the next day will forever be remembered as the day we achieved waffle supremacy!
A word about flavor, these overnight yeast waffles have a subtle honeycombed crust. The waffle crumb is creamy, and slightly salty, made tangy by the overnight cultivation process. The crust makes the most satisfying crunch when you bite into it and tastes strongly of warm butter. The minuscule amount of sugar in these waffles, present to kick-start the yeast, allows the sourdough and yeast flavors to shine, making them a wonderful canvas for any array of waffle toppings you may choose, sweet or savory. At this point in my gushing, Paul has tactfully suggested that I wrap things up and get on with the instructions given the mounting tension you are no doubt experiencing as you wait with baited breath for the recipe. Allow me to make just one final point, that it is not often that I come across a breakfast/brunch recipe that allows me to roll out of bed in the morning, and graciously accept the oohs and ahhs of delighted guests who experience the delicious creation with minimal morning cooking effort. I’m not joking around when I say this, make these waffles, you will not regret it!
Adapted, only very slightly from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, by Marion Cunningham
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Yield: varies by waffle size, generally serves 4
1/2 cup warm water (not too hot, as this will kill the yeast)
1 package dry yeast
2 cups warm milk (not hot, as this will kill the yeast)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup melted butter, cooled slightly (2 minutes)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (can use all-purpose flour if you do not have)
- 2 eggs (at room temperature if possible)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- A minimum of 8 hours (maximum of 12) before you would like to serve these waffles, get out your largest mixing bowl.
- Pour the warm water into the bowl, sprinkle over the yeast and let stand until dissolved and foamy (about 5-10 minutes).
- Add the milk, vanilla, butter, salt, sugar, and flours to the yeast mixture and whisk until smooth and all the lumps are gone.
- Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature. Note that this dough will double and sometimes even triple in volume, so I make sure to cover the bowl loosely in case the batter expands over the top of the bowl.
- In the morning, whisk in the eggs and baking soda, mix until incorporated. Your batter will be look quite thin.
- Cook the waffles to your device's specifications, you are looking for a golden and crisp waffle that releases easily from the waffle iron. We cook ours stove top over medium high heat, 1 minute on the first side, 2 1/2 minutes on the second.
- Serve immediately or keep warm in an oven at low heat.