I don’t think it would surprise you to know that Belgian waffles came from Belgium. The first Belgian waffles showed up stateside at the 1965 World fair in Seattle, WA.
Since then they have become an American food staple.
- So, What is the Difference between Belgian Waffle vs Regular Waffle?
- In Pursuit of the Perfect Brussels Waffle
- Tips to Get the Perfect Belgian Waffle
So, What is the Difference between Belgian Waffle vs Regular Waffle?
The Belgian waffle is taller, prouder, and crispier than its cousin, the regular waffle. You may not know, but there are several types of Belgian waffles.
The Brussels Waffle
In Belgium the Belgian waffle is not called a Belgian waffle, and it is a street food. There are several types of ‘Belgian’ waffles. The Brussels waffle is one style, which uses a batter propped up by beaten eggs and yeast. The Brussels waffle is lightly dusted with powdered sugar and eaten as is.
The Liège Waffle (aka Luikse wafel in flemmish and Lütticher waffeln in German)
The other type of Belgian waffle is called the Liège waffle. The Liège waffle uses yeast to get a good rise on the waffle. So the two are a bit different, but both are Belgian waffles.
The liege waffle is cooked for a time, and near the end of the cooking a special polished sugar is worked into the surface and as the waffle continues to cook, the sugar melts and turns into a caramel like candy coating.
These waffles are also sold on the street, and eaten straight up, with no butter, syrup or anything else.
Is it a waffle for storm troopers? Star Wars fans might like to think that is true, but this waffle can be found in Belgium, near the border with Holland. It is traditionally filled with a buttery caramel sauce.
Take that maple syrup! Incidentally, this waffle originated in the Netherlands, we included it here because they can be found in Belgium, and they have a cool name.
The ‘Regular’ American Waffle
The regular waffle is shorter, with more waffles, or the square pockets, waffles are known for. Traditionally the American waffle is leavened using eggs and yeast, but more commonly they use baking soda and baking powder as leavens.
In Pursuit of the Perfect Brussels Waffle
So, the Brussels waffle is the one we might think of, when we think of Belgian waffle, with the high sides, deep pockets, and light golden crisp crust.
So how can we make the perfect Brussels waffle? The key is in the leaven. To get the perfect texture you need to use yeast.
Let’s start with a traditional recipe, adapted from europeancuisines.com
Gauffre de Bruxelles / Brussels waffle Recipe:
- Scant 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- One package of fast-acting yeast
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 3/4 cups lukewarm water (use sparkling water if possible)
- 1 cup powdered nonfat dry milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
- 3 to 4 egg whites, beaten to the stiff-peak stage
For the waffle batter:
Put the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the flour: add the yeast and about half a cup of the lukewarm water.
Add the brown sugar, powdered milk, the vanilla extract, and the remainder of the water.
Mix the dough well and allow it to rise for about 1/2 hour.
Add the melted butter and mix it well.
Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks: fold carefully into the batter mixture until evenly mixed.
Pre-Heat a large waffle iron. Spread each section with the batter, close and bake until done.europeancuisines.com
Tips to Get the Perfect Belgian Waffle
- Whip it good! The egg whites, that is. Getting the egg whites to form stiff peaks is important. Once they have reached this foam like state, gently fold them into the batter, being careful not to over mix.
The air trapped inside the egg whites helps give ‘rise’ to the perfect waffle.
- Make sure your waffle iron is good and hot before you begin to bake the waffle. If you don’t cook it at a high enough heat the center will overcook before the crust can get crispy.
- Make sure the ingredients you use in the batter are warmed to room temperature, using cold ingredients not only inhibits the yeast growth, but can cause the wet ingredients to coagulate when mixed with the dry.
- Grease your waffle iron; just don’t use non stick cooking spray. We give the green light for butter, lard, cooking oil applied with a pastry brush. Use one of these even on non-stick irons, so you don’t ruin a masterpiece.
Just don’t use cooking spray which leaves a residue of who-knows-what on your iron that is nearly impossible to clean.
- If you butter your waffles before eating get the butter out early so it has a chance to get to room temperature. No one likes a cold square of grease on their waffle that just won’t melt. Waffles do not stay hot like pancakes do, so this is a necessity.
- An easy way to see if your batter is ready, or that the yeast has grown enough, is when bubbles start to form in the batter. When this happens you are ready to rock and roll.
Hopefully we have cleared up a few questions you may have had in the Belgian waffle vs regular waffle debate. So, fire up your waffle iron and get waffling!