One evening in a friend’s kitchen I spied a cookbook with famous Chef James Beard’s name on it. I thumbed through it and immediately noticed a waffle recipe. Eventually, said waffles were prepared and sampled. These waffles were the second best buttermilk waffles I have eaten. They were fluffy, and pleasantly sour while simultaneously sweet. James Beard’s posthumous assistance was provided by his good old cookbook with a dedication that includes the baking elite, like Joy’s Irma Rambauer and the legendary Fanny Merritt Farmer.
You must wonder whose waffles remain supreme to Chef Beard’s. My father’s recipe is my favorite, of course. He insists on “developing” the buttermilk in the fridge for a month. We would have them on special Sunday mornings and at breakfast for dinner. He’s into chemistry, so I trust his judgment. Moreover, I’m still standing.
Some things have to remain a secret, and thus I am not sharing my father’s recipe. Please, however, enjoy the buttermilk waffle recipe from the James Beard American Cookery, 1972 cookbook. It is a very close second. I recommend pushing the limits with your buttermilk to get that buttermilk flavor to come through. Take the time to beat the egg whites and fold them in as suggested; I bet you will like the fluffy results. I use coconut oil spray to grease the waffle iron. It makes the kitchen smell great and will allow for easy release of your piping hot breakfast (or dinner!).
James Beard Buttermilk Waffles
1 ¾ cups flour (sifted, or use cake flour for light and fluffy waffles)
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 T sugar
3 eggs, separate whites from yolks
2-2 ½ cups buttermilk
6 T melted butter
Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl with a whisk. In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients, sans egg whites. Combine the dry with the wet by adding the dry ingredients in three batches and mixing until just mixed and do not over mix. Invest some elbow grease into your breakfast and whip the egg whites into a frenzy until you have soft peaks. You can always have an eager boyfriend, a strong girlfriend or an immersion blender help you with this. Gently fold the egg whites into the waffle mixture. Dollop the batter into the center of your well greased waffle iron and cook using the manufacturer’s directions. Re-grease the iron after each waffle to eliminate sticking. Enjoy!
I will occasionally seal up leftovers in a large, thick, zip top bag and kept them in the fridge for toasting for several days. When you’ve had your share and your belly is rotund, take the waffles you know you cannot eat and cool them on a wire rack. I have read that you can also freeze them, but cannot attest to it. Please comment if you have frozen homemade waffles!