Ultimate Umami Waffles

By MariaSpeck
June 7, 2018
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Ultimate Umami Waffles


Author Notes: Makes about six (7-inch) Belgian-style waffles, to serve 6 to 8MariaSpeck

Serves: 6 to 8
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 30 min

  • 200 g (about 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) whole-grain einkorn flour (spelt, or whole wheat pastry flour may be used)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 600 g (about 21/2 cups) well-shaken low-fat buttermilk, plus a bit more as needed
  • 70 g (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 20 g (1 tablespoon) honey
  • 120 g (about 1/2 cup) active starter (**)
  • 20g (about 1/2 cup) chopped fresh chives, plus extra for garnish
  • 20g (about 1/2 cup) chopped fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red chile flakes, or to taste (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten, at room temperature
  • 50g (about 3/4 cup) finely grated ricotta salata, for garnish
  1. THE NIGHT BEFORE, add the flour and salt to a medium bowl and combine, using a large whisk. Add the buttermilk, olive oil, and honey, to a different medium bowl, and whisk vigorously until the honey is dissolved.
  2. Add the starter to a large bowl. Using a fork, beat the buttermilk mixture into the starter until well blended with some lumpiness. Switch back to the whisk and tip in the flour mixture, in a few additions, whisking gently until smooth. Cover with a dish towel and a plate and allow to rest at room temperature overnight, or for up to 12 hours.
  3. THE NEXT MORNING, the batter should have risen significantly, almost doubled, and have a sweet scent with tiny fissures or bubbles on the surface. It should feel puffy and, in the case of einkorn, silky-soft. Don’t worry if it slightly sank in the center—this means it is ready to use.
  4. When you are ready to eat, place a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to the center rack of the oven (this will keep the waffles from becoming soggy). Preheat the oven to 200°F, and preheat the waffle iron, preferably non-stick.
  5. Sprinkle the fresh herbs and spices plus the baking soda across the top. Whisk in with a few generous strokes. Add the eggs and gently whisk until well blended. The mixture should resemble pancake batter, falling off the whisk in fluid lumps—otherwise add a bit more buttermilk.
  6. Lightly grease the waffle iron with oil or coat with cooking spray. When a drop of water sizzles and briskly evaporates on the surface, add a scant 1 cup of batter (*) to the center and gently spread across, using the bottom of the cup measure. Close the lid and cook until the steam subsides, the waffle is golden-brown and crisp, and releases easily using tongs, 5 to 6 minutes. Place the waffles on the baking sheet but do not stack them. Repeat with the remaining batter, lightly greasing the waffle iron as needed.
  7. To serve, lightly brush each waffle with olive oil, then generously top with ricotta salata, fresh herbs, and more. Eat at once!
  8. (*) Be sure to adjust the preheating and cooking times as well as the amount of batter needed according to the manufacturer’s directions for your waffle iron.
  9. (**) If you don’t have sourdough, you can make a yeasted version of the waffles. Whisk 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast into the dry ingredients. Omit the starter. Combine the liquid ingredients, as described, and add them to the center of the flour mixture. Gently whisk, starting from the center, until the flour is incorporated. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature overnight.

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