The Belgian waffle is a North American type of waffle identified by its larger size, lighter batter and higher grid pattern which forms deep pockets and has larger squares than the standard American waffle. In Belgium, there are a number of different types of waffle, including the Brussels waffle, the Liège waffle and the stroopwafel, though no waffles are known as a ‘Belgian waffle’, and what is known in North America as the ‘Belgian waffle’ does not exist in Belgium. It is somewhat similar to the Brussels waffle, but Brussels waffles are hard and crispy on the outside. As opposed to a traditional North American waffle, the Belgian waffle traditionally uses yeast instead of baking powder, although contemporary Belgian waffles are often made with baking powder. In North America, they are often eaten as a breakfast food; toppings vary from whipped cream, confectioners sugar, soft fruit, chocolate spread, to syrup and butter or margarine. Alternatively, they are served with vanilla ice cream and fresh fruit (such as strawberries) as a dessert.
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
3 cups sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, separated (for 3 yolks and 1 egg white)
1/3 cup sugar
8 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole milk or whole buttermilk
Heat half of the water to lukewarm, 105°-110°F. Dissolve the yeast in the water with a pinch of sugar; let stand for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture begins to foam
Put the flour and salt into the large bowl; stir to blend and reserve. Add the egg yolks, one of the egg whites, and remaining sugar to the yeast mixture; stir to blend. Add the remaining water, milk, melted butter, oil, and vanilla; stir until the mixture is smooth. Stir the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and beat until the mixture is smooth.
Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form when removing the mixer. Fold the egg whites gently into the Belgian waffle batter. Let the batter stand for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Measure out enough batter for your waffle maker and pour into the preheated waffle maker. Use a heat-proof spatula to spread the batter evenly over the grids. Close lid and bake the Belgian waffle in the waffle maker until it indicates the waffle is done; in professional waffle makers, this is usually indicated by a light, a tone sounding, or both.
Remove waffle and repeat until all batter is used. Waffles may be kept warm in an oven at low-heat (200°F). Place Belgian waffles on a cookie sheet on a rack in the warm oven. Serve with whipped cream, fruit, jam, powdered sugar, or warm syrup fruit or maple.