While in Toronto for the FBC conference last year, I grabbed a bite with two of my Calgary blogger friends at a breakfast spot near our hotel. We ended up ordering the yeasted waffles, and they were the most delicious waffles I have ever had at any breakfast place..ever. Light and crispy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside all laced with a sweet yeasty flavor. I made a mental note to try yeasted waffles at home as soon as possible.
So, of course, I waited almost a year before getting around to making them. I hadn't forgotten about the waffles, it's just that my boyfriend usually makes breakfasts on the weekends, and if I'm left to my own devices I smush some avocado on toast and leave it at that.
When I finally, finally put together a batch with a recipe from The Kitchn I couldn't believe how easy they were, and how perfectly they turned out. I immediately made more batches, and started playing around with different flavor combos. Felt like I needed to make up for all of the time I spent not eating these waffles. So many wasted waffle opportunities.
After some experimenting I've found that my favorite way to make them is to slightly reduce the sugar in the batter and add a thin slice of ham and pockets of melted swiss tucked inside each waffle. It's sort of like those pancakes made with bacon slices, but the piece of ham is more subtle and the waffle is lighter and more flavorful. Topped with maple syrup, the waffles become a perfect balance of savory and sweet.
The batter needs to be mixed up the night before so the little yeasty beasties have time to do their thing by lightening and flavoring it. I use unsalted Stirling butter and whole milk to up the flavor factor, then leave the bowl covered on my counter overnight.
The next morning the eggs and some baking soda are whisked into the now tall, gooey batter and it's ready to be transformed into delicious waffles.
To get the ham and cheese inside of the waffles, it helps to have it close at hand so you aren't searching for it while the batter is sizzling on the iron.
My waffle iron make four Belgian waffles per batch, and 2 cups of batter is the perfect amount to fill it without overflowing. The exact amount of batter may vary from iron to iron, but the method is the same regardless.
First, you pour half of the necessary batter onto the iron, then top each side with a slice of ham and a sprinkle of cheese. It's ok if some of the ham is sitting directly on the waffle iron.. it will just get all crispy and delicious.
..Then you pour the other half of the batter on top..
and use a spatula to spread it around a bit. Closing the waffle iron helps to squoosh the batter around more evenly, so don't stress about getting a perfect layer.
On my iron I cook them at the medium setting, then place them directly on the rack in a warm oven while I finish making the rest.
Tip: If you are serving many people for a breakfast or brunch, it's easier to make all the waffles ahead of time and freeze them. On the day that you need them, simply bake them all in the oven (you can place directly on the oven racks) at 350 until crispy and heated through. Then all the food is hot and ready to go at the same time.
These could definitely be topped with with something savory or be used for a waffle sandwich..
but for me, it's all about the drizzle of maple syrup mixing together with the savory ham..breakfast perfection.
Ham and Swiss Yeasted Waffles
1 TBSP active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup unsalted Stirling butter
4 cups whole milk (2% also works)
2 teaspoons salt
3 TBSP sugar
6 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
Thinly sliced deli ham
1/2 - 3/4 cup grated swiss cheese
1. Use a large bowl to make the batter because it's going to double in size and you want to wake up to waffles, not to a huge overflowing mess. Place the water into the bowl and sprinkle the yeast over top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then whisk until the yeast combines with the water.
2.Heat the butter until melted and combine the butter with the milk, salt, and sugar. Make sure that the mixture is lukewarm (not hot, you don't want to kill the yeasties) then stir it into the dissolved yeast mixture. Add the flour and stir until a thick, shaggy dough is formed and there is no more visible flour.
3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave on the counter to rise overnight.
4. The next morning, preheat your waffle iron, then whisk the eggs and baking soda into the batter until completely combined. Preheat the oven to 250.
5. Pour half of the amount of batter that your waffle iron requires (mine uses 2cups total, so I pour on 1 cup) and top with two slices of ham and a sprinkle of cheese. Top with the rest of the amount of batter and use a spatula to help spread it a bit. Close the lid and cook according to your waffle iron's directions until they are golden-brown. Place in the oven to keep warm and crispy while you make the rest. If one side of the waffle seems softer thant the over, place that side up in the oven to help it crisp up.
Leftover waffles can be frozen in freezer bags for up to three months and reheated in a 350 degree oven directly on the oven rack until hot and crispy.