Since my family lives in Belgium I visit them regularly. And each time when we take a walk to the Grand Place, I come across with the new food and gastro trends. I’m sure everyone knows that the Belgian chocolate has an excellent reputation but at this Christmas time I realized that now lots of chocolate owners have transformed their shops to sell waffles. Okay waffles are eaten throughout the world, but in Belgium has over a dozen regional varieties, such as:
The Bruxelles waffles which are prepared with an egg-white-leavened or yeast-leavened batter, traditionally an ale yeast; occasionally both types of leavening are used together. They are lighter, crisper and have larger pockets compared to other European waffle varieties, and are easy to differentiate from Liège Waffles by their rectangular sides. In Belgium, most waffles are served warm by street vendors and dusted with confectioner’s sugar, though in tourist areas they might be topped with whipped cream, soft fruit or chocolate spread. Variants of the Brussels waffles – with whipped and folded egg whites cooked in large rectangular forms – date from the 18th century. However, the oldest recognized reference to “Gaufres de Bruxelles” by name is attributed from 1842/43 to Florian Dacher, a Swiss baker in Ghent, Belgium, who had previously worked under pastry chefs in central Brussels. Philippe Cauderlier would later publish Dacher’s recipe in the 1874 edition of his recipe book “La Pâtisserie et la Confiture”. Maximilien Consael, another Ghent chef, had claimed to have invented the waffles in 1839, though there’s no written record of him either naming or selling the waffles until his participation in the 1856 Brussels Fair. It should be noted that neither man created the recipe; they simply popularized and formalized an existing recipe as the Brussels waffle.
The Liège waffle is a richer, denser, sweeter, and chewier waffle. Native to the greater Wallonia region of Eastern Belgium – and alternately known as gaufres de chasse (hunting waffles) – they’re an adaptation of brioche bread dough, featuring chunks of pearl sugar which caramelize on the outside of the waffle when baked. It is the most common type of waffle available in Belgium and prepared in plain, vanilla and cinnamon varieties by street vendors across the nation.
How to make it?
The waffle is a leavened batter or dough cooked between two plates, patterned to give a characteristic size, shape and surface impression. There are many variations based on the type of waffle iron and recipe used.
Waffle physical composition is a result of the interaction of ingredients to form structure and texture. Each ingredient has its own unique physical properties that when combined or heated, lead to various chemical reactions that turn liquid waffle batter into the golden brown crispy breakfast delight that is called an American waffle. A common waffle recipe is listed as follows:
1 ¾ cups of milk, 2 eggs, ½ cup of oil, 2 cups of flour, 1 tsp of baking soda, 4 tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
Each ingredient contributes to waffle texture and quality.
Waffles are made using high moisture mix with medium gluten. Waffles are made from fluid batters with about a 1:1 ratio of milk to flour. Since waffles contain baking soda and baking powder, the batter should not be beaten or mixed extensively or else gas bubbles will form prematurely. At high temperatures (baking temperatures) protein bonds can be broken and cause free amino acids to combine with other molecules present like sugar. Proteins are important for Maillard or non-enzymatic browning in foods because they combine with sugars in different ways to make certain aromatic flavor compounds. A more liquid batter can reduce starch swelling during the mixing process. Sugar granulation influences solubility in the batter and the final waffle texture.