Still waffling? Try these sourdough waffles

Why are waffles on the very outside edge of the breakfast landscape?

I mean, even on the weekend, pancakes are about as fancy as you get, right? Or maybe an omelet. Or a coffeecake. All good choices, for sure. But I’ll bet waffles seldom (if ever) enter your mind.

Maybe it’s because waffles have evolved into a restaurant treat vs. something you make at home. There’s not a self-respecting breakfast place that doesn’t offer waffles. Sliding up the fanciness scale, you go from homestyle waffles with butter and syrup to Belgian waffles with whipped cream and strawberries. Or, as at the Venetian in Las Vegas (our Buy vs. Bake comparison), with Tahitian vanilla bean butter.

Or maybe waffles are on the outs because your waffle iron is on the very top shelf of the cupboard, and it involves climbing up on the counter to retrieve it, and then it’s kind of dusty and sticky from a year ago, which was the last time you used it, and you need to clean it first…

Whatever the reason, I’m throwing down the gauntlet. Right here, right now, find that old waffle iron and get it in shape. Because once you taste these sourdough waffles, you’re going to want to serve them for breakfast (with the obligatory butter and syrup); brunch (got any Tahitian vanilla beans?), and dinner (as in chicken and waffles, a venerable favorite of Amish country, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, AND much of the South. To say nothing of the FDR White House, where chicken and waffles were served to visiting foreign dignitaries.)

These sourdough waffles are ultra-light and crisp, with a lovely moist interior. They’re pleasingly (but not overwhelmingly) tangy. And they make great use of that cup of starter you’re supposed to discard before feeding. Ready? Let’s waffle.

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OK, pay attention now: you need to start this process the night before you want to make your waffles. Take your starter out of the fridge, stir it down, and remove 1 cup. (Note my messy bowl. I hope you keep your refrigerated starter in a nicer container than I do!) The 1 cup of cold starter is what you’re going to use for the waffles; no need to feed it. But DO go through your usual feeding process for the remaining starter.

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Mix the 1 cup of cold starter with flour, sugar, and buttermilk.

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Mix till well combined, then cover and let rest at room temperature overnight, up to about 14-15 hours or so.

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The next day, it should be nice and bubbly.

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Add eggs, vegetable oil, and salt, stirring to combine.

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Then stir in the baking soda. COOL! A bubbling cauldron of batter…  By the way, you should be preheating your waffle iron while you’re preparing the batter.

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Pour batter onto your hot greased iron. I’m using our Waring “flip over” Belgian waffle iron; it makes REALLY nice waffles—crisp outside, moist inside.  And the waffles don’t stick, either—always a plus.

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I don’t know about your iron, but the Waring should be filled almost full—like this—to produce a nicely shaped waffle.

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And here it is, after its 5-minute bake. Light—crisp—delicious!

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Serve with strawberries, if you like. Whipped cream is always a plus, too. Note the deep pockets—perfect for collecting melting butter and maple syrup, if that’s your preference.

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See how light and airy the interior is? Sourdough starter really gives the leavening a boost here. And it adds mild tang, a tasty complement to the sweet syrup.

Read, review, and rate (please!) our recipe for Sourdough Waffles.

New to sourdough? Find the help you need for all of your sourdough baking at our Sourdough Essentials page.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. lili

    I have a active rye starter but my overnight mix didn’t look bubbly. What could have happened? 🙁 thanks

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Lili, your rye starter might be a different hydration than the starter used in this recipe (it’s made of equal parts flour and water). Your starter should be relatively thin and resemble thick pancake batter at first. Other factors that can make your overnight mix less bubbly is using too much flour. Be sure you either measure by weight using a scale, or fluff and sprinkle your flour into the measuring cup like this. Leave the mix someplace relatively warm overnight. If this still doesn’t help, you can add a tiny pinch of yeast to kick-start the activity. Good luck and happy baking! Kye@KAF

  2. Michael J. McCoy

    The flavor and crispy texture of these waffles is extraordinary. Have never had waffles this good and even out of the freezer a week later they’re still “Best Ever”

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jenn, the ingredient measurements are given on the recipe page. The link to this page can be found right below the title picture in our blog posts and is highlighted in orange. Here’s the recipe you’re looking for. Barb@KAF

  3. Art Fink

    I’ve used this recipe three or four times with great success. The waffles are the best I’ve ever tasted and I couldn’t be happier. I don’t bake every week but I do feed my sourdough starter each week. The last time I attempted to make these waffles, I noticed that my batter didn’t rise while left to sit overnight. The batter was quite active (gas bubbles) but the bowl wasn’t filled like the last three times I made these waffles. I tried making pancake and they were flat and not fit for consumption. Thinking I did something wrong, I tried again the following week and once again, great action in the batter but no rise even after sitting out for almost 36 hours. I’m guessing I’ve got plenty of acid (bacteria?) in the batter but very little yeast – am I right and what do I need to do to get back on track producing great sourdough waffles? Thanks much!!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Art, it’s possible that your overnight starter is rising and falling before you have a chance to add it to the recipe, which may cause the recipe not to rise as well. In this case, giving it more time to rise is counter productive, as the starter will simply over-ferment. 12 hours or less should be about right for an overnight rise, depending on how warm your house is. The other possibility is that your starter needs a little TLC. You might want to give it a few feedings at room temperature (every 12 hours) until you see it doubling in size. This will help to revitalize your starter, even when you use “unfed” starter in a recipe. Barb@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You could certainly add some mashed bananas to the batter right before putting them into the iron. How many depends on how strong of a banana flavor you like and how many you’re making. So experiment, maybe start with one and go from there. You can always slice bananas on top to skip the guessing. Bryanna@KAF

  4. Claudia

    I’ve had your sourdough starter a few times and make waffles every so often They freeze VERY well, so I never have to buy Eggos or anything similar. All my family has to do is pop one into the toaster oven and bake them for a few minutes and they come out delicious and crispy. I wouldn’t have any other kind.

    Reply
  5. Jani Ritschard

    This has become a quick stand by for me. No, I don’t always make it the night before, but I have. Sometimes I just go ahead and make it all at once. I always use home ground whole wheat flour, sometimes sprouted wheat if there’s no time to soak over night. I use kefir milk for the buttermilk. I love the use of “throw away” starter!

    Reply
  6. josiej

    Thanks. I’ll try it. Only sorry I didn’t know about drying before my last starter went bad.

    Reply
  7. josiej

    I just don’t have the mental outlook to maintain a sourdough starter. I’m a bad sourdough mother I guess.

    As a result, I just love the instant sourdough starter packets. Since I’m only cooking for 2, could I use 1/8 tsp of starter, 1 c. flour and 1/2 c water, (should make about 1 c starter shouldn’t it?) and then proceed from there with waffles/pancakes?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I think this should work, Josie, although you might want to let the starter mixture ferment for an hour or two before adding it to the overnight sponge. Barb@KAF

  8. JKim

    I would like to know if I’m to follow the same guidelines for measurement as advised for the sourdough starter. This recipe calls for 2 cups of All Purpose Flour and 2 cups of buttermilk, do I weight these so they should be 8 ounces or can I simply use a measuring dry cup for the flour and a measuring liquid cup for the buttermilk to measure out two cups?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      You can go ahead and measure by volume. If you weigh, 2 cups of flour weighs 8 1/2 ounces; and 2 cups of buttermilk weighs 16 ounces. Enjoy your waffles! PJH

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