Wednesday, September 23, 2015

My Quest for the Perfect Belgian Waffle has ended!

BELGIAN SUGAR/LIEGE WAFFLES FOR FREEZING


Recipe adapted from the Gaufre de Li├Ęge Recette Blog, which is excellent.
Makes 12 waffles.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tsp. (8 g) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) whole milk at 110-115 degrees F (43-46 C)
  • 5 Tbsp. and 1 tsp. (80 g) water at 110-115 degrees F (43-46 C)
  • 4 cups (480 g) King Arthur all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature and lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. (40 g) light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. (9 g) salt
  • 17 Tbsp. (240 g) room temperature butter (just over two sticks)
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 g) honey
  • 4 tsp. (20 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup (300 g) Belgian Pearl Sugar

DIRECTIONS

1. Put heated milk and water in the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle yeast over the top and stir to moisten.
2. Add the eggs and about 1/3rd (160 g) of the flour, mix to blend.
3. Sprinkle the remaining flour over the top of the mixture but don’t stir it in. Cover the bowl and let it stand for 75 to 90 minutes at room temperature. You’ll see the yeast mixture bubble up through the flour.
after 90 minutes
4. Add the brown sugar and salt, mix on slow to combine everything in the bowl. (I just go ahead and use the dough hook.)
5. With your mixer on low speed add the honey and the vanilla. Add 2 Tbsp. (60 g) of butter at a time. Mix everything for 4 minutes at medium-low speed, scrape down sides a few times. Let the dough rest for 1 minute and mix again for 2 minutes. Do this again a few times until the dough starts to want to stick mostly to the dough hook.
6. Transfer the dough into a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let this rise at room temperature for 4 hours.
after 4 hours
7. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. This step is for yeast respiration, it will slow it down which you’ll need to do before the next step.
after 30 minutes
8. Using a silicone spatula press down on the dough to deflate it. Scrap this onto a piece of plastic wrap, stretch into a long rectangle and then fold into thirds. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and weight it down with dinner plates. Refrigerate overnight.
after an overnight rest
9. Divide your pearl sugar in 12 equal piles, about 2 Tbsp. (25 g) each. Divide the dough into 12 pieces (about 88 g each). Mix the pearl sugar into each part of dough, I usually flatten the dough, sprinkle sugar on top and fold it over a few times.
10. Shape each waffle into an oval lump, cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 90 minutes.
after 90 minutes
11. Spray your waffle iron with cooking spray. Heat until it registers at 365-370 degrees F (185 – 187 C). (Hotter than this and it will burn the sugar.) Cook until the waffle is dark golden brown and you can see the sugar melting and coating the outside. If you’re using a stovetop waffle iron I recommend turning it over every 90 seconds or so to keep the temperature on both sides up and allow for as much sugar to coat the exterior as possible. Carefully transfer the waffles to a wire rack to cool — be aware that the hot sugar will drip and can burn your fingers (ask me how I know) so use tongs and a flat spatula or small plate to help you move them. When cool tuck each waffle into some parchment paper and freeze in an airtight container. When you are ready to cook them preheat an oven to 275 degrees F and place the waffle directly onto the wire rack. Heat for 5 to 7 minutes, carefully transfer to a plate, maybe line the plate with that strip of parchment paper.
I recommend the oven over a reheating in a toaster because I don’t want hot sugar to drip into your toaster. A friend reported that even at the lowest heat setting the waffles burned in her toaster oven. So, regular oven it is.
12. If you are freezing the dough to cook later: Transfer the sheet with your dough directly into the freezer and let the dough chill for at least half an hour until set. Wrap each lump of dough in plastic wrap and place together in an airtight container in the freezer. When you are ready to cook follow the directions above for cooking. I remove as many ovals of dough as I want to make and place them onto the hot waffle iron, pressing the iron down slowly to flatten them out as they thaw. If you freeze the dough on parchment you can cut around them and use that parchment when you wrap them up, it will peel off cleanly before putting them in the waffle iron.