Brussels’ Waffles

26 Jul

A thing that always makes me chuckle a bit inside and silently go pffft!, is when my American friends ask me about ‘Belgian’ waffles… It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that question, nor do I mock the inquisitor, it’s just that there’s many different kinds of waffles and for a Belgian, there’s no such thing as a ‘Belgian’ waffle. For starters, there’s the ‘Liege’ sugar waffle with crunchy bits of pearled sugar baked into them and usually served gooey & hot, then there’s the ‘vanilla’ variety which has more of a dry, crumbly tea cake consistency and is frequently sold pre-packaged in the grocery store, or the ‘Stroopwafels’ you find near the border with Holland, which are traditionally filled with a buttery caramel… just to name a few. But for the sake of good cross-cultural understanding, I can tell you that the traditional ‘Belgian’ waffle, adored by so many, is actually a yeast waffle from the city of Brussels.

Airy, fluffy and light on the inside, they’re browned to a buttery crisp on the outside, with just enough sweetness & crunch to please every palette. As a regular pitstop on our way home from the ‘Museum of Natural History’ or the ‘School Museum’, it’s exactly the kind of waffle my grandpa would look forward to when he’d ring the bell & we’d step off the busy tram. He’d eagerly grab it with both hands, skillfully balancing the sugared whipped cream on top, and bite into it with such gusto, that his custom-made pearly whites would cling to the deliciousness the minute he’d pull the waffle out of his mouth, and we’d snort with laughter. Not that that ever happened! Carry on.

‘Brusselse wafels’ rose to fame (pardon the pun) because of one special guest appearance: YEAST! Yeast dough is like the Ella Fitzgerald of all pastry doughs: jazzy, smooth and easy to digest. Think about it. It’s no surprise that doughnuts made with yeast are 10x more delicious than the ones who aren’t… Krispy Kreme? Anyone?

Here’s an homage to a true Belgian classic. (Fixodent not included…)

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BRUSSELS’ WAFFLES
(from grandma’s handwritten recipe booklet…)
– 3 farm fresh eggs, yolks & whites separated
– 12 oz of warmed milk, preferably whole
– 3/4 oz of fresh yeast (or 1 packet of dry active yeast)
– 12 oz of sparkling water, room temperature
– 16 3/4 oz of self-rising flour (approx. 3.5 cups), sifted
– 5.3 oz of good butter (approx. 10.5 Tbsp)
– a pinch of salt
– 1-2 Tbsp of sugar

Heat waffle iron until it’s piping hot!

Seperate egg whites and yolks in two bowls, and set aside.

Warm milk and combine with yeast and sugar. Allow to bloom for 10 min.

Lightly beat yolks and add warmed milk and yeast. Beat until incorporated, then add sparkling water and stir gently until well-combined. Sift flour directly into the milk mixture, beat with an electric mixer until all lumps are smoothed out.
Melt butter in a small sauce pan and beat egg whites into stiff peaks. Pour melted butter into batter and gently fold in stiffened egg whites by hand, and add a pinch of salt as well. Set batter aside for 20-30 minutes, so yeast can work and batter has time to rise.

When the batter shows bubbles an appears “alive”, you’re ready to start baking!

Make sure to butter all sides of your waffle iron, regardless of whether it is non-sticker not. Pour 1/3 cup of batter per waffle, and allow waffle to brown completely. Every waffle iron is different, so it’s a bit hard for me to say how long this will take with your machine. You want the waffles to be crisp and brown on the outside.

Serve with powdered sugar, brown sugar or whipped cream for an authentic Belgian treat… or go a bit crazy and add crisped bacon, ham or cheese to the batter for a hearty salty & sweet combination!

42 Responses to “Brussels’ Waffles”

  1. prettyeasylife August 8, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    What a great post! I am dying to try this recipe. Sparkling water, wow! Thanks for sharing, loved your blog!

    Like

    • thehungrybelgian August 8, 2013 at 8:32 am #

      Thank you the flattery! And yes, sparkling water & yeast are the key to authentic waffles! Who knew?!😉

      Like

    • thehungrybelgian April 25, 2015 at 8:41 pm #

      Great! Thanks for the love. Hope you enjoyed the waffles!

      Like

  2. Joy @ Yesterfood January 14, 2014 at 6:16 am #

    Oh, my, where to begin? So glad to know about the different kinds of “Belgian” waffles (mmm, and they all sound wonderful!). The story of your Grandpa biting into a hot yeast waffle- I can just see it- what fun.🙂 And since Yesterfood is all about connections to the past, I am thrilled that you shared the recipe from your Grandma’s handwritten recipe booklet. ♥ Thank you so much for bringing her waffles to Treasure Box Tuesday!🙂

    Like

  3. Shradha May 16, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    Do we have to consume all the batter at once or can be refrigerated/frozen?
    If I make waffles and keep,whts the best way to store n reheat later?
    Thx

    Like

    • thehungrybelgian May 16, 2014 at 9:19 am #

      Hi Shradha, the batter cannot be frozen as it is made with carbonated (sparkling) water and the carbonation would not survive the freezing process, I think.
      The waffles itself, however, can totally be frozen. The best way to reheat these frozen waffles is to allow them to thaw and then crisp up in a warm oven (250F) for 10 min or so, turning once. You could also pop these in a toaster.

      Like

  4. idlehouse July 21, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    hello, 16.75 oz of flour is 2 cups instead of 4 as stated in the recipe. thank you for the recipe

    Like

    • thehungrybelgian July 21, 2014 at 11:00 am #

      Thank you for catching this! Math was never my strong suit!😉

      Like

      • idlehouse July 21, 2014 at 11:14 am #

        the waffles come out great ! my husband is from Antwerp and has been missing his Brussels Waffles for years

        Like

      • thehungrybelgian July 21, 2014 at 11:52 am #

        Hurray! Thank you for the correction and I’m glad my grandmother hit the mark!

        Like

  5. Tara November 1, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    These were perfect! My son loved them plain and I topped mine with powdered sugar, whipped cream, and chocolate syrup. I also froze the extras for future quick breakfast options.

    Like

    • thehungrybelgian November 1, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

      Thanks, Tara! My grandma used to bake ’em for my brother & I. It’s my little slice of Belgian heaven, now that I reside in the USA. I’m so happy to hear you liked these. Enjoy!

      Like

  6. idlehouse November 25, 2014 at 10:52 am #

    Hello, My friend is a baker who corrected me and said that 16 oz of flour is about 3 cups, not 2. 2 cups is a volume conversion. sorry

    Like

    • thehungrybelgian November 25, 2014 at 11:01 am #

      Thanks for correcting that. I’m always challenged by converting grams to ounces to fluid ounces etc… Thanks for your input!

      Like

      • Leann Jordon March 22, 2015 at 6:59 am #

        I literally just weighed out 16.7 oz of sifted flour and it was over 3-3/4 C and slightly shy of 4 C. So I am not sure what idlehouse is talking about. Your original Recipe that stated 4C is accurate.

        Like

      • thehungrybelgian March 22, 2015 at 7:20 am #

        Thank you, Leann. I’m not much of a baker, and waffle batter is pretty forgiving. I actually rarely measure the flour, and just add it to the liquid ingredients until I feel I have the right consistency. I know. Martha would not be proud.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Leann Jordon March 22, 2015 at 7:45 am #

        Haha. I am not either, I am just learning so I try to follow the recipes exactly because I am afraid I will screw something up. I also weighed out the butter and it comes out to 1 1/2 sticks if that helps in any way. Thank you for the recipe I tried a few american style waffles with just baking soda/baking powder and salt combinations. I was disappointed. This seems like it will be great! I will let you know!

        Like

      • Leann Jordon March 29, 2015 at 5:39 am #

        Waffles came out excellent! I would say they are probably the best waffles I’ve ever had! Excellent recipe. So light, so crispy, great flavor! This is exactly what I was looking for.

        Like

      • thehungrybelgian March 29, 2015 at 6:52 am #

        Hurray!!!

        Like

  7. Trini Lea November 21, 2015 at 7:02 pm #

    Why use self raising flour when you should get enough rise from the whipped egg whites and yeast? Perhaps you meant All purpose flour or pastry flour? I’m assuming the batter is to be used entirely and cooked waffles not eaten are to be kept in the freezer for warming up later. As this batter will not keep. One could add a little cognac

    Like

    • thehungrybelgian November 21, 2015 at 7:46 pm #

      Hi Trini, Brussels waffles are very light & airy. Self-rising flour helps the yeast & whipped eggs with leavening and keeping the dough airy. You can certainly use pastry flour or even regular all-purpose flour, but in that case, I’d use about a tsp of extra baking powder. Just my own personal preference. I like my waffles very crispy & airy, and yes, they freeze up beautifully. Enjoy!

      Like

  8. Artisanal Waffles January 29, 2016 at 5:46 pm #

    What makes me chuckle a bit inside and silently go pffft! is that this recipe is most definitely not a Brussels waffle. Brussels waffles A. don’t have sugar in them and B. would never use self-rising flour. What you have here is mostly just an American “Belgian” waffle with yeast.

    Like

    • thehungrybelgian January 29, 2016 at 7:34 pm #

      Hm, I grew up with these waffles, I’m most definitely Belgian and my grandmother made them exactly this way. I’m sorry you don’t feel these are authentic, to me, they are very much authentic. Certainly not an American waffle, neither my grandmother not myself are American.

      Like

  9. CatK February 7, 2016 at 10:49 am #

    I just made these and they are delicious!! I love that you don’t have to start the batter the night before like most yeast waffle. They are so good, I think these are my new go to waffle🙂

    Like

    • thehungrybelgian February 7, 2016 at 10:56 am #

      I’m glad you like them, CatK. They’re my family’s favorite as well.

      Like

  10. Thomas August 11, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

    Thanks a lot for this article!
    I tried several times to make Brussels waffels using recipes I found on the internet, some a bit similar to yours … but failed each time, the waffles would rise just fine but absolutely no crispiness, I make sure my iron is hot, I tried to rub it with some oil…still no crispiness…Any idea? What kind of iron do you use?

    Like

    • thehungrybelgian August 11, 2016 at 7:52 pm #

      Thomas, I have a Nordicware cast iron waffle maker that you use on the stove (any kind). It’s a manual/handheld one. I find that the electric waffle makers simply do not get hot enough… In order to have crispy waffles, your iron has to be smoking hot so it cooks the dough very rapidly on the outside.
      Also, make sure you cool your waffles over an open grate or roster, so they can “breathe”. If they cannot breathe, I.e. you lay them flat on a plate/baking sheet, the steam coming off of them will ruin the crispness. Hope this helps. Good luck!

      Like

      • Thomas August 11, 2016 at 9:55 pm #

        Thanks a lot, hungry Belgian!

        Like

  11. Erik Larsson November 2, 2016 at 11:22 am #

    About how many waffles does this recipe yield? I’m planning to host an event with belgian waffles and will be making over 100 to be sure, would be great to know how many one batch would yield so I don’t make too few🙂

    Like

    • thehungrybelgian November 2, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

      Hi Erik, it depends on the size of your waffle iron, but it’ll make approx. 15

      Like

  12. Sergio Marin November 19, 2016 at 7:36 pm #

    Hi, I am very interested on trying this recipe. I do want to know if this recipe has to be used all at once or if you, or anyone you know, has tried to keep this recipe on the refrigerator and then use it the next day or even two days later.

    Like

    • thehungrybelgian November 20, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

      Hi Sergio, I’ve never tried refrigerating the raw dough, but I suppose it would work. However, you can easily bake all of the waffles, and freeze the leftovers. They go perfectly in the toaster or oven to crisp them up again.

      Like

      • Sergio Marin November 24, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

        Thank you! I will give that a try! One more question, in my country, ¨1 Package¨ is not a standard measurement unit. If I use dry yeast, what exactly would be 1 Package in Ounces?

        Like

      • thehungrybelgian November 24, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

        It’s about 15 grams.

        Like

      • Sergio Marin November 24, 2016 at 8:56 pm #

        Hi Hungry Belgian, I have two emails from you, one that has the ounces (0.75) and this response from here in grams, so is it 0.75 ounces or you corrected it. Now, I do have a few questions and I wonder if you don´t mind answering those to me? I have tried your recipe today and loved the crispyness and how soft they are in the inside, but have a few questions:

        1. Like I said, the crispyness and the inside turned out amazing. But they have close to no flavor in it. I used two Tbsp of sugar as suggested but they seriously have close to no taste. Are they like this in Belgium? Is it supposted to be this way because the powdered sugar does the magic? or am I missing something on giving it flavor?

        2. I used all your metrics in Ounces, are this US Fluid Ounces or what kind of measurement unit are you using? The reason I ask is because in your recipe, it says 16oz for the flour, if I google 16oz to cups, it tells me that it is 2 Cups, but here you have that it actually is 3.5 cups, so I don´t know where to pay attention.

        3. I actually converted 16oz to cups and used initially 2 Cups, but I noticed that the batter was way too liquid, not sure if it is supposed to be this way, but I added 1.5 cups to match what you had here and it came out thicker, like a normal Waffle batter. So that´s why I am confused in the kind of ounces you are using.

        I would be very thankful to you if you can answer all this questions in detail🙂

        Like

      • thehungrybelgian November 24, 2016 at 10:29 pm #

        1. It’s supposed to be this way as the toppings make the waffle sweet. If you like more flavor, add a tablespoon or 2 of vanilla to the batter and as much sugar to your liking as you please. Keep in mind that topping the waffle with sugar will make it very sweet.

        2. The batter is fairly fluid, and should be a thicker liquid yogurt like consistency

        3. You should use approx. 3-3.5 cups of flour

        Like

      • Sergio Marin November 24, 2016 at 10:48 pm #

        Awesome! You are amazing! Thank you very much!

        Like

      • Sergio Marin November 24, 2016 at 10:59 pm #

        Last 3 questions, I promise! I am having a hard time with unit measurements😦

        1. I assume that for non-liquids, you are talking about mass ounces (weighted), right?

        2. What about the milk and sparkling water? What do you use for those? Standard US Fluid Ounces? Or do you weight the milk and sparkling water using the weight?

        3. What about butter? Do you weight the butter? Or do you use the US Fluid Ounces measurement as if this was a liquid?

        Like

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