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Fermentation for Breakfast

fermentation

Fermentation isn’t just for veggies, fermentation for breakfast can be a tasty treat. When I was a kid my mom used to make beer waffles. I don’t know where she found the recipe; this was long before one Google search could out thousands of recipes at your fingertips. Many of the recipes she relied on came from the Joy of Cooking and the great cookbook series she bought volume by volume from the A&P; Woman’s Day Encyclopedia. 

Just like the waffles, we had Sunday, the batter for those waffles was made the night before and left on the counter to ferment overnight. My mom used beer and I used active yeast, but both produce a light, crispy waffle with a pronounced yeasty flavor. The recipe I used came from Fanny Farmer, then Marion Cunningham via Smitten Kitchen. The provenance is impressive.

These waffles couldn’t be much easier. You mix up a few ingredients go to sleep, then add a few more in the morning. All the magic happens while you sleep, and the yeast does all the work.  The critical time is when you bloom the yeast in warm water. Temperature is important; too hot and you’ll kill the yeast, too cool and it won’t activate. It took me two tries. My advice is to warm the bowl before you add the warm water and yeast. I also sat the bowl in a pan of warm-hot water to keep it warm.  

If waffles made with pancake mix are the waffles of your childhood, these will be your adult waffles. They’re not sweet at all but have a complex, yeasty flavor in a lighter than expected waffle. I wish my waffle iron got hotter because I think the outside would have gotten browner and crisper if it had. Still, they were probably the best waffles I’ve ever made. I remember the beer waffles my mom made as being even better, so I’ll be trying those soon.

Overnight Waffles

Overnight Waffles

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup warm water (between 105 and 110 degrees F)
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4oz unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Step 1
Heat milk and butter over low heat just until butter is melted.
Put warm water (105-110F) in a large, pre-warmed mixing bowl and sprinkle yeast on top.
Let yeast dissolve and sit for fifteen minutes
Step 2
Let milk-butter mixture cool a bit- this is also good in the 105-110F range.whisk gently until there aren't any lumps.
Add flour one cup at a time, alternating with milk mixture stirring gently with a whisk, add salt and sugar with the second cup of flour. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on counter overnight.
Step 3
In the morning (the number of hours isn't critical) the flour mixture will have about doubled in size and will be bubbly. Beat eggs with baking soda, and add to the flour mixture.
Step 4
Heat waffle iron and coat with butter, oil, or spray coating.
I used one ladleful (about 1 cup) of batter per waffle and had no messy overflow.
Cook according to the bidding of your waffle iron.
Step 5
Waffles can be kept warm in a 200 degree F oven, and leftover waffles can be wrapped and frozen for a happy weekday breakfast.

 

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