My current work on Brussels/Brusselse waffles has me deep into research mode. Among the more interesting recipes I’ve come across this week is for a simple “Wafels” recipe from 1899.

The use of brandy in it is fun, though it’s a small quantity and not really innovative; there are numerous recipes, for centuries before, that use other wines/spirits. What really struck me though was the amount of liquid in the recipe. There’s about 3x the amount of milk and water as flour. Even though the amount of egg is cut down slightly and there’s very little butter in the recipe, that’s still a thin batter. Before I even poured the batter into the iron, I knew that would make for a fairly light waffle with a very creamy interior. That’s exactly how it panned out. And I should note that it must be cooked in a shallow 1/2″ iron; no contemporary “Belgian” iron will work.

The only real downside was that the batter is so thin that it separates. It must be stirred before pouring it into the iron. While that breaks down some of the bubbles the yeast form, it’s a necessary evil.

Below are the original measurements for the recipe (and a yeast substitution suggestion), with some technique updates on my part. The original recipe basically just says to mix everything at once and let it rise for two hours. That would be an unworkable mess; a little more finesse was needed.

Nederlands Wafels 1899

makes ~24 waffles in a 1/2″ iron

500g flour
3 eggs
1000g milk
500g water
50g brandy

Preheat the waffle iron to 188°C/370°F

Mix 120g of the flour with all of the yeast. Add 240g of the milk, slightly warmed. Stir, cover and rest for 30 minutes. Then add all of the remaining ingredients, except for the milk. Stir until no flour is visible (there will be lumps). Add the remaining milk and stir. The batter will be extremely thin. Cover and let rise 1 hour. Stir, cover and let rise 1 more hour. Stir lightly before getting ready to pour the batter.

Pour the batter into your pre-heated iron and cook for 7 minutes. Top the waffle with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar and, if desired, some melted butter.