Few things in life disgust me more than cheap restaurants. And at the top of my list are Waffle House and IHOP. The breakfasts are overpriced for what you get, the food tastes terrible, and how in the world do you make syrup taste bad? For crying out loud, it’s syrup. To rail against this injustice I decided to make blueberry waffles and a blueberry syrup. Free Waffles!
While researching how to make waffles that were soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, I came across an article on finecooking.com that discusses how to make a crisp waffle. The author makes the claims that cornstarch, thin batters and liquid fat contribute substantially to crispy waffles. These statements are valid in the sense that they are true observations, but I was disappointed that she did not explain why this is the case. For this reason, I will give my theory on why these ingredients contribute to crisp waffles.
When you think about cornstarch and liquid fats, what similarities come to mind? Gluten comes to my mind. Or rather, the lack of gluten. Cornstarch is more of a filler starch in this recipe. Its purpose is to create the texture of a waffle without the gluten that comes from flour. Excess gluten creates floppy waffles because the gluten holds water and creates protein that is not expanded by leavening (meaning it stays concentrated rather than expanded).
Liquid fats inhibit the formation of gluten by coating the gliadin and glutenin proteins in the flour. This interferes with gluten formation. In addition, liquid fat and other liquid ingredients create a thinner batter. Thinner batters will expand more in the waffle iron via leavening, which creates the crisp of the waffle and a light center.
3/4 cup + 2 tbs all-purpose flour
1 tbs cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk or buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbs teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup blueberries
Butter and syrup, for serving
Makes 3 waffles
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar (to prevent starch clumping), baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well.
- Combine the wet ingredients: Beat the egg until light. Then beat the vegetable oil into the egg. Add the milk and vanilla and mix well.
- Mix the blueberries into the dry ingredients.
- Then mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.
- Preheat a waffle iron. Do not use non-stick spray on the waffle iron; the oil in the batter will allow the waffle to release easily. Follow the directions on your waffle iron to cook the waffles
1 cup blueberries
¼ cup water
3 tbs sugar
- Heat the blueberries and water on medium temperature until simmering. Lower the temperature and allow the blueberries to simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the sugar and allow to simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Transfer to heat-proof container to cool.