Classic Whole Wheat Sourdough Waffles
These classic whole wheat waffles are crisp, light, and airy packed with easily digested whole grain nutrition, are full of flavor, and surprisingly easy to whip up in the morning because most of the work is done the night before. If you like waffles, and if you like sourdough, these are your new best friend.
Before I started on my sourdough journey, I used to think replacing whole wheat flour for white flour automatically made the dish better for you. So I did it often, with disappointing results. But I was convinced it was “healthy”, which made it easier to ignore the brittle texture, the bitter aftertaste, the inferior rise, the crumbly crumb, all that comes with whole wheat. What I didn’t realize was that whole wheat and all whole grains, when left untreated, are actually *gasp* worse for you than their refined counterparts. WHAAAAAT?! I know, it’s mind-boggling. But before you click away from my blog in revolt, hear me out. I never said refined grains are better than whole grains, I just said untreated whole grains are worse. They have phytic acid and other anti-nutrients. Yup, it means what you think it means. It prevents your body from absorbing nutrients. And not only from the food that carries phytic acid, either. It prevents your body from absorbing nutrients. Period.
I’ve talked about it pretty extensively before here on my blog, when I showed you how to deal with it when cooking brown rice. But what about wheat? Well, wheat has it’s own list of added problems. First of all, gluten–the result of the 2 main proteins in wheat (glutenin and gliadin) combining–has kind of become an enemy to pop-culture and even more so for the unfortunate many who actually suffer from gluten related issues. Plus, modern conventional wheat harvesting practices can be dangerous. (<– check out that link. It’s terrifying and fascinating.)
Poor wheat. Such a bad reputation. But there’s good news to these problems I mentioned before. First, fermentation significantly reduces phytic acid and other anti-nutrients, and my favorite method is with sourdough. Unfortunately, commercial yeast isn’t even close to the same thing as a wild yeast starter, so it doesn’t do the same job. Slow food, friends. It’s really the only way. There are no short cuts to real food. And an added benefit, the long rise time allows for proper gluten development and water absorption into the grain, so you get a softer, more elastic crumb. No more crumbly sandwich bread or gritty muffins.
And the second solution is to know your source for wheat, find a grower that doesn’t saturate the crop in pesticides in order to harvest sooner, and grind the berries yourself. And you won’t believe the difference in flavor and texture. Freshly ground flour has absolutely no bitter after taste, in fact it’s quite nutty and sweet, with different hints depending on the variety you use. And with that sourdough and freshly ground chemical-free whole wheat flour, you can make this:
Guys, these waffles. I know, it took me a while to get to the good stuff, but wasn’t that worth it? They are the perfect classic American-style waffle (as opposed to the rich, dense Belgian Liege waffles, which I’ll get to soon here). They’re light and airy and crisp but hold up to dense toppings like whipped cream, butter, maple syrup, and fruit without getting all weird and soggy. And the best part, you start them the night before, and all you have to do in the morning is wake up, add a couple of extra ingredients really quick, give it a stir, and pour it into your waffle iron. And because they’re sourdough whole wheat waffles, you can rest assured that they are providing all of the nutrition that those wonderful little grains of wheat have hidden inside them, making your mouth and tummy very happy. I can’t speak for the toppings, though, sorry. I like mine with a dollop of grassfed maple whipped cream and as much fresh fruit as I can fit on top.
Oh, that photo is just for show. I like more fruit than waffle usually;)
So go and get your sourdough starter ready, and whip some batter up tonight so you can have the best Saturday brunch tomorrow.
- 1/2 cup sourdough starter
- 2 cups whole wheat flour, preferably organic and freshly ground
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2~4 tablespoons pure maple syrup, depending on personal preference
- 1 cup warm water
- 1.5 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 eggs, lightly whisked
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- The night before (or 8~12 hours) before you plan to serve your waffles, combine the starter, flour, salt, maple syrup, and warm water in a large bowl. Stir to combine, cover loosely with plastic wrap or a lid, and let rest at room temperature for 8~12 hours.
- In the morning, preheat a waffle iron. To the risen batter, add the milk, butter, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla to the bowl and whisk vigorously to combine. Cook waffles according to manufacturer's instructions. Once cooked through, let the waffle rest for 1~2 minutes on a cooling rack for a more crisp crust. Serve with favorite waffle toppings.