I don’t know if any of you have had a real Belgian waffle aka liege waffle. If you haven’t you are totally missing out! The first time I had ever heard of these was on an old Rachel Ray Show called $40 a Day. She would travel to places and see if she could survive on $40 in one day including food and events etc. On this particular episode she was in Brussles, Belgium and for breakfast she stopped by a street vendor selling these awesome looking waffles. She explained it as being a totally different type of waffle that was not like our breakfast waffles, even the supposed Belgian waffles made at breakfast restaurants aren’t real Belgian waffles.
Real Belgian waffles are actually made with a yeast dough similar to a brioche dough (a sweeter, more rich dough made with eggs and butter), and have an added ingredient that makes the waffle crunchy and sweet. That ingredient is Belgian pearl sugar. Belgian pearl sugar is a type of sugar that comes in “clumps” and caramelizes on and in the waffles that gives it its signature flavor. This is what separates the man waffles from the boy waffles. On a side note don’t get Swedish pearl sugar, it has smaller pearls and won’t work in these waffles. I found that The Waffle Cabin has the best price for pearl sugar, even better deal than any you would find on Amazon.
The actual first time I ever had one was about a month or so ago. I had been following a food truck in the Salt Lake area that made these waffles called Waffle Love. I thought the next time I was up there I would try and find it and get one of these liege waffles. I didn’t actually have to travel all that way. Waffle Love now has a waffle truck here in the Phoenix area and they are out by me a lot of the time. So after a little coaxing, I got my wife to come with me and get a waffle. These waffles are like crack to me. She loves them too. The second I took a bite I was in love! So good it became my obsession!
I went to Google to find a good recipe. The first recipe on Google was the only one that caught my eye. This gentleman had done his research, even going back to when liege waffles were invented and came up with his recipe after multiple experiments. This recipe is EXACTLY what you will get at the waffle trucks if you follow the recipe to a tee. The process seems very involved the first time but after that you know what to expect but one thing that you will have to understand that the dough takes about 24 hours to get to the state you want for a liege waffle dough. Due to this aspect I would recommend making a ton. I made a triple batch my first time and a quadruple batch the second time. This way I don’t have to continue to make a lot of dough. I cut it into waffle size pieces (110 grams or 3.5-4oz.) and freeze them. I can then take them out as i need and get my fill whenever I want.
Another topic I want to touch on is toppings. We were introduced to Biscoff Spread or Cookie Butter for the first time when we had our first liege waffle at the Waffle Love truck and it was love at first taste! I can’t recommend this stuff enough. I had seen the name Biscoff on Pinterest but didn’t spend the time learning what it was. Man am I regretting that decision. Nutella is another popular addition to liege waffles but it doesn’t hold a candle to Biscoff. Strawberries and bananas are popular as well, I have seen peaches too. I also had a waffle with toasted marshmallows on top of a chocolate filled liege waffle with Biscoff, it was pretty awesome too. Oh and ice cream and caramel topping too, almost forgot about those. You can mix and match these toppings too and add your own. I want to have a waffle bar at my house soon.
Please take the time and make these waffles, they are awesome!
Liege Waffle Recipe – Real Belgian Waffles
Adapted from this blog
Makes 5 waffles
- 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup scalded whole milk at 110-115 degrees
- 2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. of water at 110-115 degrees
- 2 cups King Arthur Bread flour (I have used AP flour and added some vital wheat gluten to add more protein)
- 1 large room temperature egg, lightly beaten
- 1Tbsp. + 1 tsp. light brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 8 1/2 Tbsp. soft room temperature unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 3/4 cup Belgian Pearl Sugar
- 4g active dry yeast or 3g instant yeast
- 60g scalded whole milk at 43-46 degrees
- 40g of water at 43-46 degrees
- 240g King Arthur Bread flour
- 1 large room temperature egg, lightly beaten
- 20g light brown sugar
- 4.5g salt
- 120g soft room temperature unsalted butter
- 15g honey
- 10ml (2 tsp.) vanilla
- 150g Belgian Pearl Sugar Belgian Pearl Sugar
- Place yeast, milk, and water into the workbowl of a stand mixer. Stir for a few seconds to moisten the yeast.
- Add the egg and 1/3 of the total flour. Mix to blend. Scrape down sides of bowl.
- Sprinkle remaining flour over the mixture, but do not stir it in. Cover and let stand 75-90 minutes (at the end of that time, you’ll notice the batter bubbling up through the cover of flour).
- Add brown sugar and salt to the dough. Mix on low speed – just to blend.
- With machine on low, add honey and vanilla and mix until just incorporated. Then add 2 Tbsp. of butter at a time until all is added then mix 4 minutes at medium-low speed; scrape down sides once or twice in that period. Let the dough rest for 1 minute and then continue to mix for 2 minutes. If you measured your ingredients perfectly, the dough will be sticking to the sides of the bowl in the last minute of mixing and then, in the last 30 seconds of so, will start to ball-up on the paddle. If this does not happen, let the dough rest for 1 more minute and mix for another 2 minutes. Whatever the outcome of the extra mixing, proceed to Step 6.
- Scrape the dough into a large bowl, sprinkle lightly with flour, cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 4 hours. This step is crucial for developing the flavor so don’t skip or cut it short.
- REFRIGERATE FOR 30 MINUTES BEFORE PROCEEDING TO STEP #8. This is essential. The yeast respiration must be slowed before continuing.
- Stir the dough down (meaning: gently deflate the gases from the dough, by pressing on it with a rubber spatula), scrape it onto a piece of plastic wrap, and then use the spatula to press the dough into a long rectangle. Fold that rectangle over on itself (by thirds – like a letter) so that you have a square of dough. Wrap it in plastic, weigh it down a bit and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, cut off 110 gram/3.8oz chunks (you should get 5 of these from the dough), and mix 30 grams/1oz of pearl sugar into each by hand.
- Shape each chunk into an oval ball (like a football without the pointy ends) and let it rise (covered loosely in plastic wrap) for exactly 90 minutes.
- If you have a professional waffle iron (meaning: it’s cast iron and weighs over 20 pounds) cook at exactly 365-370 degrees (the max temp before sugar begins to burn/decompose) for approximately 2 minutes.** Give each waffle a few minutes to cool slightly before eating or topping.
- ** If you have a regular waffle iron, heat the iron to 420 degrees (hint: many regular waffle irons go up to and over 550 degrees at their highest setting) , place the dough on the iron, and immediately unplug it or turn the temp dial all the way down. Otherwise, the sugar will burn. I reccommend getting an Infrared Thermometer Gun, they are pretty inexpensive and I have used it for more than just this application.