My go-to Belgian waffle recipe is quite the lady.

It never surprises. Never makes a scene. It produces lovely, plump waffles I’d be proud to take anywhere.

waffles in ironNot so the yeast waffles I made for dinner the other night. These girls smell a little off. They’re a little ragged ’round the edges. A little hard to handle. No one would call them sweet (or present them on a dessert buffet).

Yet the yeasty gals have wooed me.

It’s their complexity: Are they sour? Savory? Just a little sweet inside?

Yes. And pared with crisp bacon and cider-mashed apples, they make a lovely meal.

My Belgian waffles are still good for show. But these yeasty girls … they’re my hidden pleasure.

waffles on plate

Yeast Waffles

This recipe comes from Ruth Reichl, via Fannie Farmer. Whip the batter up in the morning, then leave it on the counter all day. Its mustiness will perfume your kitchen — and the waffles once you make them.

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Place the warm water in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over it, and whisk to dissolve. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the milk and heat just until bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan.

Pour the milk and butter into the yeast mixture and gently stir together.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar. Add it to the liquid mixture and whisk until it’s very smooth. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and set it on your counter for at least 8 hours. (Or overnight, if you want these beauties for breakfast.)

waffle batterWhen you’re ready to make the waffles, beat the eggs and baking soda into the fermented mixture. Your batter will be very thin — so thin you might think you’ve made a mistake. You haven’t.

Heat your waffle iron. I used my Belgian waffle iron, even though I feared the batter was too thin. It worked fine.

Carefully pour 1/2 cup of batter onto your iron (or a little more, if your waffle iron is deep). Cook the waffles for 2-3 minutes, until brown and crisp.

Carefully remove the waffles from the iron and serve immediately. These are best eaten right after they’re made; otherwise, they become a little soggy.