Best Buttermilk Waffles

Published May 1, 2010. From Cook's Illustrated.

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Why this recipe works:

Our recipe for crisp, fluffy buttermilk waffles starts with replacing some of the buttermilk with a combination of powdered buttermilk and seltzer, which inflates the batter. Adding some baking soda to the recipe gave us buttermilk waffles that were perfectly browned. Using oil in the batter… read more

Our recipe for crisp, fluffy buttermilk waffles starts with replacing some of the buttermilk with a combination of powdered buttermilk and seltzer, which inflates the batter. Adding some baking soda to the recipe gave us buttermilk waffles that were perfectly browned. Using oil in the batter instead of butter kept the buttermilk waffles crispy because the oil’s fat repelled whatever interior moisture managed to rise to the surface of the waffle to soften the dry crust.

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Best Buttermilk Waffles

How do you get waffles to come out crisp yet fluffy every time? Stop treating them like bumpy pancakes.

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Makes about eight 7-inch round waffles

While the waffles can be eaten as soon as they are removed from the waffle iron, they will have a crispier exterior if rested in a warm oven for 10 minutes. (This method also makes it possible to serve everyone at the same time.) Buttermilk powder is available in most supermarkets and is generally located near the dried-milk products or in the baking aisle. Leftover buttermilk powder, which can be used in a number of baking applications, can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a year. Seltzer or club soda gives these waffles a light texture that would otherwise be provided by whipped egg whites. (Avoid sparkling water such as Perrier—it’s not bubbly enough.) Use a freshly opened container for maximum lift. Serve waffles with butter and warmed maple syrup.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet and place baking sheet in oven. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, buttermilk powder, and baking soda in large bowl to combine. Whisk sour cream, eggs, vanilla, and oil in medium bowl to combine. Gently stir seltzer into wet ingredients. Make well in center of dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir until just combined. Batter should remain slightly lumpy with streaks of flour.

    2. Heat waffle iron and bake waffles according to manufacturer’s instructions (use about 1/3 cup for 7-inch round iron). Transfer waffles to rack in warm oven and hold for up to 10 minutes before serving with butter and maple syrup.

Technique

For Crispier Texture, Ban the Butter

For crispier results, we swapped the melted butter in our batter for oil. Unlike butter, oil contributes no moisture to the waffle. The exterior of the waffle can thus reach a higher temperature faster, giving the crust more time to form. Plus, oil helps keep the waffle cripe after it comes off the heat: As pure as fat, it is better able to repel water, keeping interior moisture from migrating to the waffle's dry, browned surface and turning it limp.

SOGGY INFLUENCE

NATURAL CRISPER

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