Sunday, May 30, 2010

Even Better Sourdough Waffles and a Busy Week

Strawberry season is finally here! This year May has been the wettest and coldest on record, so the strawberries are later than usual, but the locally grown ones are sweet, juicy and oh so delicious. This week I paired them with freshly made, crisp and fragrant sourdough waffles for a breakfast to die for. Can you see how crisp these were?

I love waffles! Almost always if given a choice between pancakes and waffles, I'll choose waffles. I love that they have a crispy, crunchy exterior and soft interior when properly cooked. I love the golden color and their yeasty fragrance when you make them with sourdough starter or commercial yeast. I love the way the indents in the crust hold butter and/or syrup. Fortunately, Sweetie loves waffles, too.

One day this week I fed my starter and decided that I would also feed the "toss off" and make some waffles. The cup of discarded starter was mixed together with a soup make of 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and a little over 1/2 cup water, and 1 tablespoon sugar which had all been whisked until smooth. The new flour mixture provided new food for the little sourdough yeasties to eat and get happy.
About 4 hours later I added an additional 2 cups of flour (1 cup was whole wheat flour), 1/8 teaspoon instant dry yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Then I whisked in 2 cups of milk and covered the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit out overnight to become an even better batter.

In the morning butter was melted and cooled, an egg was whisked and they were both added to the batter. To this point the process is very much like what I posted almost a year ago here. I guess there is something about the arrival of strawberry season that puts me into a waffle kind of mood!

The difference this time was that I had a leftover egg white to add. It warmed up while the melted butter was cooling, then I whisked the egg white in a clean bowl until it held a soft peak. The beaten egg white was then folded into the batter using a flexible spatula. Now the batter was ready to bake in the preheated waffle iron. The first one was a little short on the batter, but Sweetie enjoyed it anyway.

Not sure if the egg whites are responsible or not, but these were the crispiest waffles ever! They were addictive and we ate them with sliced fresh strawberries and a splash of maple butter necessary with these beauties!

The busy week part began with the delightful visit from Flying Fingers and her hubby, was followed by a day where we set up a new storage structure and unloaded lumber and wainscot ting. Sweetie played tennis on Friday, but we also took down towel racks and shelving so that we can paint the bathroom.

We decided that the carpet in the vanity area of the bath is shot, so yesterday we removed the carpeting and installed new thresholds where carpeting is staying in the bedroom and hall. Let me tell you, removing the carpet tack strips was the hardest part for me. I'm a little sore today for all of that crowbar work.

Sweetie showed me how to prepare the threshold metal strip which keeps the remaining carpet edges in place. First you measure the door opening, then cut it to size with a hacksaw. Once cut you smooth the edges with a rasp and find the center point with a punch. Not shown is the hole he drilled with the drill press so that there was a screw hole near the end that had been cut. Once the threshold piece was screwed into place with two screws, he could cut the carpet with a utility knife. He then took out the screws and moved the metal threshold forward to cover the carpet edges, then screwed it down all across the threshold. This was repeated for the other doorway. All in a days work in getting ready to install new flooring in the bathroom.

I also spent some time in Home Depot looking at paint swatches since the walls will be getting a new coat of paint, and so will the trim. I've already decided to paint the trim a glossy bright white, which is what I'm doing throughout the house. I enjoy color so finding the perfect shade or shades of wall color is fun for me. Some possibles include a soft sage green, a pale greyed turquoise and a deep brassy green. I'm also looking at a soft sesame color similar to the hallway walls.

Saturday evening we were off to Healdsburg for a barbecue. I made dessert...with more strawberries. Will post about that soon.

XO Elle

NOTE: For those of you who can’t imagine having a single purpose item like a waffle iron, perhaps it helps that mine was from a garage sale and is eons old. It’s smallish and round and fits inside of a stew pot so it doesn't take up extra room in the cupboard. If it is still working when I die, my survivors will probably discard it, but for now it does the trick and produces nice circles of yummy, crispy waffles.

Amazing Overnight Waffles
adapted for sourdough starter and egg whites
from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe' Cookbook

1 cup sourdough starter
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup water
Whisk together and let sit, uncovered, at room temperature for 2 hours

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
all of the sponge
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1 egg white
Nonstick spray
Butter for the waffle iron
Sliced strawberry
Pure maple syrup – hard to resist on waffles
Songe: Whisk together all of the sponge ingredients and let sit, uncovered, at room temperature for 2 hours.

Combine the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl Add the sponge and whisk to combine. Add the milk and whisk until blended. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature (or put in the fridge if room temp. is over 70 degrees F.)

The next morning, preheat the waffle iron. Melt the 6 tablespoons butter and let cool a bit. Beat the egg is a small bowl (unnecessary if using egg substitute) then beat it into the batter along with the melted butter. Whisk the egg white until it forms soft peaks. Fold into the batter with a spatula.

Lightly spray the hot waffle iron with non stick spray, top and bottom plates, and then butter a piece of bread and use that to rub some butter on top and bottom plates.

Add just enough batter to cover the cooking surface…this varies by waffle iron…about 2/3 cup. Lower the top and cook until golden brown…it’s OK to check now and then. It takes about 2-3 minutes. You want it golden brown, but not dark brown.

Serve hot, right away, with strawberries, maple syrup, or toppings of your choice.

Note; If you have too many waffles for the number of people you are feeding, bake the leftover batter a little less than the ones you are eating, let cool on a baking rack, then freeze and store in the freezer tightly wrapped. Re-heat in the toaster.


  1. Oh, waffles.

    Waffle irons, over here, are "gourmet" items, so usually cost around $75 USD. We haven't gotten one yet, simply because they are a single-task item (or, they come with a sandwich press, as well, cost even more, and get poor reviews).

    Love the pics of the renovation!

  2. Amazing waffles!! I've never had sourdough waffles but I can imagine how good they would be. Waffles are a firm favourite in this house and we have one of those electric waffle makers in the shape of a heart. I bought The Lovely Wife a multi purpose grill/waffle/toaster but she prefers the single purpose waffle maker. I am SO impressed with your DIY work too. Bravo!!

  3. Next sister down5:05 AM

    Wow, for once we're ahead of you Californians in fruit season, here in the mid-Atlantic region! I was astonished to be getting local strawberries here before May 15, and I think they are now petering out. I have eaten quart after quart from the little grocery store in the next town that stocks great local produce. My new special treat: a fresh local strawberry dipped in Nutella.

    Waffles are wonderful too, and several years ago, at the downtown farmer's market in York, Pennsylvania (which you would love, in a wonderful 19th century brick building), I found a waffle iron exactly like the one we had growing up. Makes great grilled cheese or grilled turkey sandwiches too, when you flip the plate over to the flat side. I also have an antique waffle iron I bought from a barn in Vermont long ago. I don't know how old it is, but I would say 1930s--it looks very deco. It still works too! I'll bet yours will count as an antique, and someone will want it.

    We did not have waffles this weekend, but we had them for Mother's Day, baked by J1, who has learned well from his father, the master waffle maker. They had forgotten to bring their waffle maker that weekend, so had to make do with the Belgian one that Mother had found at the thrift store. J1 was quite dismissive about Belgian waffles, which he considers to have the wrong proportions (the indentations are too deep). He and his dad produced some tasty ones anyway, which we ate with butter and syrup, not strawberries--we didn't have the good local ones that day.

    I think J2 would have liked them with strawberries, especially if we added whipped cream. Right now, whipped cream is just about his favorite food in the world. He dreams of having a whole pint of whipped cream all to himself. I remember dreaming that at about his age. Now I'm in the position to have a whole pint of whipped cream if I want, but I never have. You know the saying "Youth is wasted on the young." The young probably suspect that adulthood is wasted on the grown-ups.

  4. Anonymous1:24 AM

    hmmm... i was going through. with no special intension and i came across your blog. i totally love it.
    i love waffles and i study in delhi so just to eat a waffles with honey syrup i drive 25 kilo meters. and now that i think i can amke it on my own...
    ill get back to you to let you know how i make it.
    lovely blog!