Belgium has indeed gifted the world quite a few culinary delights – waffles to name one, and then there’s chocolates, crisp fries, well crafted beers, finest chocolates… Food is but more than just sustenance, I believe. We have, over the years, grown to have food for pleasure, going beyond the purpose of simple sustenance. But, I believe, food could also be a significant symbol of culture. Subsistence patterns in a particular geographical area and the methods of acquiring and cooking food say a lot about the settlement patterns, the available resources, the beliefs and customs about a place. Food is indeed an important part of the culture of a geographical space.
Belgian waffle batters generally utilize yeast for leavening. As a result, Belgian waffles tend to have a slightly yeasty flavor. We liked the idea of yeast bringing a complex flavor to the waffles. Just the same, we had no interest in a batter that would have to be made several hours or even a day in advance in order to develop the proper rise, texture, and flavor.
We wanted a waffle batter that could be whipped together, wet parts mixed into dry, in a few minutes. For that, we turned to American-style batters, leavened with baking soda and/or powder, rather than yeast. Though these batters were indeed faster to produce, the resulting waffles were slightly heavier, with a more one-dimensional, generally sweeter flavor than the Belgian varieties we tried.
In order to recreate the heady depth of flavor imparted by the yeast, we tried adding various ingredients to the batter, including malt powder, but none were quite right.
Then we added DR BLUES beer, and all was right with the world.
SuperPills™, a refreshing, floral and complex tasting IPA-like bitter pilsner,
PaceMaker™, medium-bodied pilsner. In our recipe we used PaceMaker.
1. Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl to evenly distribute.
2. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan. Add milk and beer and continue to heat until mixture is warm.
3. Whisk vanilla extract into eggs. Slowly pour warm beer mixture into eggs, whisking constantly.
4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Slowly pour beer-egg mixture into the well, whisking at the center of the well, gradually widening the diameter of your stroke until all dry ingredients have been incorporated. Continue to mix until only a very few lumps remain.
5. Pour into a preheated, lightly greased waffle iron (the recipe was developed for use in a Belgian iron, but should work nicely in other types as well). Cook to desired doneness, and serve immediately.
Don’t be nervous about using the beer and feeding them to the kids. The alcohol dissipates during the cooking process — I promise you won’t have belching babies at breakfast calling you Norm!