The Old Version of the Recipe

This coming weekend, I’m going to retire the recipe that’s been up for the last 6 years. It’s good, but the new one is far more authentic, easier, and all-around better. Yet in the event anyone just loves the old one, I wanted to keep it up in some capacity. So here you are…

INGREDIENTS makes 5 Gaufres de Liège Click here for the updated and much more advanced metric version of the recipe

• 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

• 1/4 cup scalded whole milk at 110-115 degrees

• 2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. of water at 110-115 degrees

• 2 cups King Arthur Bread flour

• 1 large room temperature egg, lightly beaten

• 1Tbsp. + 1 tsp. light brown sugar

• 3/4 tsp. salt

• 8 1/2 Tbsp. soft room temperature unsalted butter

• 1 Tbsp. honey

• 2 tsp. Mexican vanilla extract

• 3/4 cup Belgian Pearl Sugar (“Waffle Pantry” is the best source for authentic Belgian pearl sugar)

DIRECTIONS

1. Place yeast, milk, and water into the workbowl of a stand mixer. Stir for a few seconds to moisten the yeast.

2. Add the egg and 2/3 of a cup of the flour. Mix to blend. Scrape down sides of bowl.

3. Sprinkle remaining 1 and 1/3 cups of flour over the mixture, but do not stir it in. Cover and let stand 75-90 minutes (at the end of that time, you’ll notice the batter bubbling up through the cover of flour).

4. Add the brown sugar and salt to the workbowl with the other ingredients. Mix on low speed (speed #2) – just to blend.

5. With machine on low, add honey and vanilla. Then add 2 Tbsp. of butter at a time. Mix 4 minutes at medium-low speed; scrape down sides once or twice in that period. Let the dough rest for 1 minute and then continue to mix for 2 minutes. If you measured your ingredients perfectly, the dough will be sticking to the sides of the bowl in the last minute of mixing and then, in the last 30 seconds of so, will start to ball-up on the paddle. If this does not happen, let the dough rest for 1 more minute and mix for another 2 minutes.

6. Scrape the dough into a large bowl, sprinkle lightly with flour, cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 4 hours. This step is crucial for developing the flavor.

7. REFRIGERATE FOR 30 MINUTES BEFORE PROCEEDING TO STEP #8. This is essential. The yeast respiration must be slowed before continuing.

8. Stir the dough down (meaning: gently deflate the gases from the dough, by pressing on it with a rubber spatula), scrape it onto a piece of plastic wrap, and then use the spatula to press the dough into a long rectangle. Fold that rectangle over on itself (by thirds – like a letter) so that you have a square of dough. Wrap it in plastic, weigh it down a bit (I put two heavy dinner plates on top of it) and refrigerate overnight.

9. The next day, place the cold dough (it will be quite firm) in a large bowl and add all of the pearl sugar to a bowl. It will seem like a lot of sugar, but it’s supposed to be:) Mix it into the dough by hand until the chunks are well-distrubuted. Once mixed, divide the dough into 5 pieces of equal size.

10. Shape each chunk into an oval ball (like a football without the pointy ends) and let it rise (covered loosely in plastic wrap) for 90 minutes.

11. If you have a professional waffle iron (meaning: it’s cast iron and weighs over 20 pounds) cook at exactly 365-370 degrees (the max temp before sugar begins to burn/decompose) for approximately 2 minutes.

** Give each waffle a few minutes to cool slightly before eating. No syrup or toppings are needed, unless you’d like to add some fruit or a dusting of powdered sugar; they’re quite sweet on their own.

** If you have a regular waffle iron, heat the iron to 420 degrees (hint: many regular waffle irons go up to and over 550 degrees at their highest setting) , place the dough on the iron, and immediately unplug it or turn the temp dial all the way down. Otherwise, the sugar will burn.

New Recipe Coming

It’s been over 6 years since I posted the recipe here. Tons of people have made it, stolen it, and/or modified it — all of which are great. All I cared about was sharing it.

But I kept working on the recipe, which lead to an updated version I developed about 2 years ago. Then I kept working on that, which lead to an even more refined and authentic version. It’s now at the point where I think the main recipe here needs to be completely rewritten, in light of many things I’ve learned about how these waffles likely came about. That said, I’m not going to make this version as hardcore as my professional version, as I want this to still feel accessible to home bakers. So no need to find ale yeast, cassonade, or Mexican vanilla beans. We’ll keep this much simpler, but still extraordinarily delicious.

Liège Waffle

The recipe below is the simplified and imperial measurement version of the elaborate and metric version I use. While there are 14 steps, it’s actually fairly simple. I’m going to bake it up, this coming weekend, and assuming the dough behaves, I’m overwriting the old recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon of instant yeast

2 eggs (at room temperature)

1/4 cup of water

2 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon of salt

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

2 teaspoons of honey

11 Tablespoons of butter (cool, but not cold straight from the fridge)

3/4 cup of pearl sugar

DIRECTIONS

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, lightly stir together 3/4 cup of your flour and the yeast.

2. Add 1 egg and your 1/4 cup of water. Mix to blend.

3. Cover the flour/yeast/egg/water mixture with the remaining 3/4 cup of flour, but do not stir.

4. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap, and let it stand for 90 minutes

5. Add the second egg, light brown sugar, salt, honey, and vanilla extract.

6. Affix the paddle attachment, and mix on speed #1 (the “stir” setting) — scraping every few minutes — until the dough forms a ball on the paddle. This should take about 15-20 minutes.

7. Begin adding the butter, a tablespoon at a time, over the next 5-7 minutes, scraping the bowl every couple minutes.

8. Once all the butter is completely added, continue mixing, scraping occasionally, until the dough again balls on the paddle. This should only take 2-6 minutes.

9. Scrape the dough into a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise at room temperature for 6 hours.

10.REFRIGERATE FOR 90 MINUTES BEFORE PROCEEDING. This is essential. The yeast’s respiration must be slowed before continuing.

11. Place a piece of plastic wrap (about 2 feet long) on your countertop, and scrape the dough from the bowl onto it. Press it into a long rectangle (about 1 foot long), then fold it over in thirds, like a letter (but you’re forming a square here), before wrapping it loosely in the plastic wrap. Place it in the coldest section of your refrigerator overnight. It can help to weight it down with two heavy pre-chilled dinner plates.

12. The next day, place the cold dough into a large bowl and add all of the pearl sugar to the bowl. It will seem like a lot of sugar, but it’s supposed to be :) Mix it into the dough, by hand, until the chunks are well-distributed. Once mixed, divide the dough into 5 pieces of equal size.

13. Shape each piece into an oval ball (like a football without the pointy ends) and let it rise (covered loosely in plastic wrap) for 90 minutes.

14. If you have a professional waffle iron (meaning: it’s cast iron and weighs over 30 pounds) cook at exactly 355-360 degrees for approximately 2 minutes. If you have a regular home iron, it may take longer.

New Experiment #4

The recipe I posted yesterday – Revisiting the 1840s – is definitely the one I’d have anyone else make, but below is a new blend I mixed this morning. It’s just my shorthand version, without directions.

It creates a lower yield of dough … enough for five 100g waffles (to which 27g of pearl sugar is added, per waffle). It also trims back the water, yet ups the egg, butter, muscovado, and vanilla. I’m particularly psyched about the amount of vanilla in this round. It works out to one whole Mexican bean in each waffle. No sense skimping, if more of anything is what’s needed.

The texture should turn out slightly lighter and softer than the last version, and the color will be an even deeper cream. I just keep tinkering, hoping I can go from something great to something transcendent. I’ll have a better idea once I bake one up in the morning.

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50g egg (warm)

49.7g mineral water @ ~110°F

80g all-purpose flour

2.32g T-58 yeast

______________

45.4g all-purpose flour

66.6g whole wheat pastry flour

3.9g dark rye flour

______________

47.5g egg (warm)

27.3g dark muscovado

3.72g Île de Ré salt

13.6g orange blossom honey

5 Mexican vanilla pods

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130.8g beurre d’Isigny @ ~60°F

 

Revisiting the 1840s

Liège Waffle / Gaufre de Liège

I’m still refining the recipe for the hardcore, old-school Liège waffle, but below is the version I have for now. It’s excellent and totally worth making. I’ll continue posting other updates, as I tweak the measures of the ingredients. If you make the recipe below, let me know how it turns out😉

1840s Liège Waffle Recipe

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80g all-purpose flour

2.6g T-58 yeast

50g egg (warm)

63.7g mineral water @ ~110°F

______________

61.6g all-purpose flour

75.2g whole wheat pastry flour

4.4g dark rye flour

______________

15g orange blossom honey

44.1g egg (warm)

23.4g dark muscovado

4.18g Île de Ré salt

3 Mexican vanilla pods

______________

141.1g beurre d’Isigny @ ~60°F

______________

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the 80g of flour with the 2.6g T-58 yeast. Add the 50g of egg and 63.7g water, and mix to blend. Cover with the remaining mix of AP, WW, and rye flours, but do not stir. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and let stand for 90 minutes at a temperature of ~72°F.

2. Add the 15g honey, additional 44.1g egg, 23.4g muscovado, 4.18g sea salt, and the scraped seed paste from 3 Mexican vanilla pods (the seed paste will weigh around 2g, depending on the size and freshness of the beans). Mix on speed #2, scraping every few minutes, until the dough forms a ball on the paddle. This should take 9-11 minutes.

3. Begin adding the butter, 15-20g at a time, over the next 5-7 minutes or so, scraping the bowl every few minutes. Once all the butter is added, continue mixing, scraping occasionally, until the dough again balls on the paddle. From beginning the butter addition, to the dough balling, this mix will also take 9-11 minutes.

4. Scrape the dough into a large buttered bowl, sprinkle lightly with flour (to keep a crust from forming), cover with plastic wrap and let rise at ~72°F for 4 hours.

5. REFRIGERATE FOR 60 MINUTES BEFORE PROCEEDING TO STEP #6. This is essential. The yeast respiration must be slowed before continuing.

6. Stir the dough down, and scrape it onto a lightly floured surface. Press it into a long rectangle, then fold it over in thirds, like a letter, before wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap. Place it in the lowest section of the refrigerator overnight.

7. The next day, take 110g of dough and mix it with 30g of pearl sugar (there is enough dough to make exactly 5 waffles). Shape it into an oval ball (like a football without the pointy ends) and let it rise (covered loosely in plastic wrap) for exactly 90 minutes.

8. Cook each waffle at exactly 365°F for 2 minutes. Once off the iron, allow the waffle to cool for several minutes, and then enjoy its tasty magic.

The Glory of Liège

Liège Waffle / Gaufre de Liège

It’s so weird to think these aren’t made anywhere anymore. Sure, there are hundreds of waffle stands across Belgium and beyond, but they all do the modernized version of the waffle, robbing it of its history and magic. In most cases, absolutely none of the ingredients being used are period-correct; the product is bland and lifeless. It’s a culinary tragedy.

I want the world to taste the little guy above. A luscious blend of Mexican vanilla, orange blossom honey, muscovado, and the finest butter of Normandy. Nothing less should be tolerated😉

Caramelization

Caramelization

Not only is it nice to nail the caramelization effect, but seeing flecks of vanilla in there with it is just awesome. The flavor of the two together is dreamy.

Results of the most recent recipe variation are pretty nice. The texture is a little lighter, while still appropriately chewy. The butteriness, too, is up now that the dough is almost 64% butter-to-flour vs. 55% in the last version.

Since this light dough is cooking up with more volume, I’m going to trim back the amount I flop on the iron. We’ll see how 100g dough with 27g of pearl sugar goes. Not sure if I have any immediate thoughts on further tweaking the recipe; I might nudge up the butter, muscovado and vanilla slightly. We shall see.