The Zero-Waste Chef

Sourdough Waffles

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I love baking with sourdough starter. Actually, I’m obsessed with my starter. When my boyfriend asks how my day went, I often include an update on my starter: “Eleanor smells fruity” or “Eleanor didn’t rise as much as I had hoped” or “I fed Eleanor rye flour today.”

A starter is a natural leaven that makes bread and other baked goods rise. Before the development of commercial yeast about 200 years ago, people baked with the wild yeast in fermented sourdough starters.

So, to make these waffles, you will need a starter. If you don’t have one and want to start one, check out my post on sourdough crackers, where you will find a brief tutorial on starting and maintaining a starter, plus some resources.

A few days ago on Twitter, someone told me she felt too intimidated to make a starter. I assured her that it’s not difficult. You just mix water and flour, stir it whenever you think of it over a few days and wait for bubbles to appear. Once it starts bubbling, you maintain it by discarding most of it and feeding fresh flour and water to the remaining starter.

Aside from the fact that these crispy-on-the-outside-fluffy-on-the-inside waffles taste buttery, tangy and delicious, I love making them as they use up an entire cup of discarded starter. I can’t bring myself to waste it.

I use this King Arthur Flour recipe with a couple of alterations. You can also use the batter for pancakes.

I buy my ingredients in bulk. The egg vendor at the market accepts the cartons back and reuses them. The butter does result in a bit of waste but I refuse to give up butter.

Ingredients

Makes 10 six-inch waffles

Sponge

Waffle Batter

Directions

Let sponge sit overnight

1. The night before you make the waffles, combine starter, buttermilk and flour in a bowl. Cover with a towel or plate and let rest overnight. I like to use a glass bowl for my sponge so that in the morning, I can see the bubbles that have formed overnight. (I find the whole fermentation process fascinating.)

I set up a time-lapse of my sponge, but failed to plug in the camera, so the battery died after about four hours. I was able to capture the sponge rising in the 10-second video above though.

2. In the morning, you should see lots of bubbles as above (this is why I use glass—that looks so cool!). Stir in melted butter and eggs until combined.

Batter bubbling up with the addition of salt and baking soda

3. Combine salt and baking soda and add to the batter. The batter will begin bubble up, this time with infinite tiny bubbles.

4. Bake waffles as usual in a waffle iron. For 6-inch waffles, use about 1/2 cup of batter.

I’m not at all a fan of Teflon but I’ve had this waffle iron for ages, well before I started to purge my life of plastic and other materials made of dubious chemicals. I’m not sure what to do about it. I’ve heard those waffle irons you put directly on the stove element don’t work very well. Has anyone tried one?

The first waffle was delicious 🙂

Sourdough Waffles 

Makes 10 six-inch waffles

Ingredients

Sponge

Waffle Batter

Directions

1. The night before you make the waffles, combine starter, buttermilk and flour in a bowl. Cover with a towel or plate and let rest overnight.

2. In the morning, you should see lots of bubbles. Stir in melted butter and eggs until combined.

3. Combine salt and baking soda and add to the batter. The batter will begin bubble up.

4. Bake waffles as usual in a waffle iron. For 6-inch waffles, use about 1/2 cup of batter.