Baking gets me exxxxxtra excited when the science behind the process plays a crucial role. Like, E X X X X X T R A excited.
Dad and I have loved a version of this waffle recipe and stuck to it like loyal waffle-loving puppies (or something?) for five years. Five whole years! We bought a waffle recipe book just before Hungry Haley's time, so I was only a little bit interested in and barely knowledgeable about baking science. I was, however, very much still a nerd back then, so it was only a matter of time before the nerdy baked-good-creator (the girl behind this blog, typing right now) also known as me/Hungry Haley was born.
In the five years we've been with this book, we've tried versions with coconut oil instead of butter (Dad was not a fan), whole-wheat flour or oat flour instead of white flour, without the sugar, and with and without the buttermilk. The only switch that didn't yield a noticeably different product was with the flour - just a nuttier taste with whole-wheat, which we prefer in this household, but you can use the white flour if you like that better.
So, let's talk buttermilk. Contrary to popular belief - and this recipe will testify to this - homemade "buttermilk" (whole milk with vinegar mixed in) does not react with other ingredients, mainly baking soda, like pre-made buttermilk from the store. I've tried more times than I can count on my fingers, and each time, Dad has been disappointed. Since he's the main waffle-consumer here, I take his opinion rather seriously.
But, this realization of buttermilk's necessity didn't hit me until, well, like a week ago. Sometimes I don't "catch on" too quickly. Whenever I'd come home for the weekend or breaks from school in SLO, Dad's number one request - aside from irreplaceable quality time with me, of course - was waffles. Not just any waffles, though. Fluffy, crisp, buttery waffles. THESE waffles.
After a few unfortunately consecutive failed attempts, he sort of stopped asking.
Fast forward through my less-than-loving relationship with food and two years of veganism, here we are - me, loving science and baking and sugar and such more than ever, and Dad, thanking me for all the fluffy, buttery, "best ever" waffles.
Here's to real-deal ingredients and pure science that, together, give Dad and me said perfect waffles. WOOOOOO! *pushes glasses up*
Makes about 9 square waffles
2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 eggs, separated and room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
6 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled completely, plus extra for greasing the iron
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Toppings (optional): maple syrup, butter, nuts, Greek yogurt, fruit
Preheat waffle iron and grease with butter.
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
In a medium size bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Pour into the dry and stir to combine.
In a small bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand-mixer or in a stand-mixer on high until peaks form (about 1-2 minutes). Gently fold these into the batter, careful not to over-mix or deflate the fluffy air pockets.
Scoop spoonfuls of the batter onto the waffle iron and cook until golden brown on each side. Remove and cool slightly before serving.
Serve immediately with toppings and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.