Recipe: Overnight spelt waffles

Between Vergil’s (Virgil’s?) Aeneid and Ursula K. LeGuin’s excellent-so-far take on it, Lavinia, I’ve been reading a lot about spelt recently. It’s an ancient species of wheat that doesn’t seem to give me the allergy problems of normal/modern wheat, so spelt flour has become a useful cooking ingredient for me in the last year.

To celebrate (maybe not the right word) my brother Zach’s departure for Minnesota so he can start grad school research early, I made waffles for breakfast. Hoping to avoid the long prep time that normal waffles require, with all the egg separation and beating and folding, I decided to try out an overnight, yeast-risen version that claimed to only require mixing in beaten egg the morning of cooking.

The result:

Serving suggestion: Greek yogurt, fresh berries, maple syrup, and sunrise.
Serving suggestion: Greek yogurt, fresh berries, maple syrup, and sunrise.

Pretty good! This might actually be my new favorite waffle recipe. The long rise and use of yogurt and honey instead of butter (well, some of the butter) and sugar give it a rustic sourdough taste that complements pretty much any of the normal waffle toppings. Better still, you barely have to do anything the morning you make them; just fold in some beaten eggs and wait impatiently for the light on the waffle iron to turn off.

Edit, 1/1/2017: The last few times I’ve made this, the dough hasn’t risen nearly as much as the first few times, so I’ve taken to adding some (optional) extra baking powder in the morning to make them extra light and fluffy. Don’t add it until you’re about ready to make the waffles (e.g., don’t add it the night before) to maximize its lifting power.

Overnight Yeasted Spelt Waffles

Adapted from: Nature’s Legacy for Life, a purveyor of ancient grains. My major changes were to triple the recipe, substitute honey for sugar, and to substitute yogurt for some of the butter and milk, hopefully amping up the sourdough taste that comes from an overnight yeast rise.

Yield: Waffles for 4-5 people with leftovers to re-heat in the toaster the next day.

3 cups white or whole spelt flour
3/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
2 cups milk (I used 1%)
1 cup plain yogurt
1.5-2 Tbsp honey
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 Tbsp baking powder (optional; use if batter hasn’t risen much)
3 eggs

Neutral oil or butter for the waffle iron

The night before you want to serve the waffles, combine the spelt flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, then the melted butter, honey, yogurt, and vanilla. The batter will be very wet and loose. Cover with plastic wrap and leave overnight at room temperature or in the refrigerator (I did the latter). Make sure your container is large enough that the batter is able to double or triple in size without overflowing.

Weird shadows in this shot of the batter in the bowl because of the plastic wrap, but mostly because it's dark.
Weird shadows in this shot of the batter in the bowl because of the plastic wrap, but mostly because it’s past my bedtime. Incidentally, the raw batter at this stage was already delicious.

In the morning, if the batter doesn’t look risen enough, sprinkle baking powder over the risen batter and fold it in. Begin heating your waffle iron. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl, fold them gently into the batter and stir until just combined.

This is the batter after rising in the fridge for about 8 hours, before stirring in the beaten eggs.
This is the batter after rising in the fridge for about 8 hours, before stirring in the beaten eggs.

When the waffle iron is hot, brush it with oil or melted butter. Add a ladle of batter and bake until golden brown.

Hot off the iron.
Hot off the iron.

Serving suggestions: Greek yogurt (I’d go light on this so you can really taste the sourdough flavor), fresh berries, maple syrup, homemade ginger-pear sauce (thanks, Mom!), and/or whipped cream.

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3 thoughts on “Recipe: Overnight spelt waffles

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