Waffling Around

January 8, 2016

unnamedI’m crazy about my vintage cast iron waffle maker. (Not pictured.) It’s turned out perfect waffles for 40 years. It barely needs cleaning. And it makes heart-shaped waffles that are, frankly, adorable.

My most satisfying breakfast ritual begins with hauling the huge base – it must weigh at least five pounds – up to my stovetop. When the pan begins to sing with heat I cover it with Fannie Farmer’s yeast-raised waffle batter, carefully close the top, and wait.  When the top rises just a bit I turn it over and wait some more. The truth is that my well seasoned griddle cooks waffles almost as fast as my family can eat them – which is very fast indeed. They are always gone too soon. The only catch? My little Jotul waffle iron is no longer made, and the last one I found on Etsy cost way too much.

But I’ve just found a great buy on a humble version of my stovetop wonder. It has no base.  The triangles aren’t hearts. But it’s also 24 bucks, and pure cast iron. And just to encourage you, here’s the time-honored Fannie Farmer Recipe, which makes light, crisp airy waffles that nobody can resist.

Fannie Farmer’s Yeast-Raised Waffles

Sprinkle 1 package of dry yeast over a half cup of warm water in a large bowl and wait for it to dissolve.

Meanwhile melt a stick of butter, add 2 cups of milk and allow it to just gently warm up. Add it to the yeast mixture.

Mix a teaspoon each of salt and sugar into 2 cups of flour. Add this to the liquid and beat until smooth.

Cover the bowl and let it stand overnight at room temperature. In the morning beat in 2 eggs and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda, stirring well. Cook on a very hot waffle iron until crisp on each side.

This makes about 8 waffles, and will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.

Note: If you want to make waffles the same morning you make the batter you can speed up the sponge process. Place the covered bowl with the yeast mixture in a larger bowl of warm water for an hour, or until doubled, and proceed with the recipe.

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  • Evelin says:

    They can still be found here in Brazil where I am on vacation at the moment…


    I will try to get one!
    I doubt it will be of the same quality your vintage one is, but it is something…
    I love waffles but as I don’t have the iron, I usually have to be content with pancakes. They are good too, of course but it is not the same thing…

  • Jim Duane says:

    I have an induction cook top, and this iron works perfectly. (its cast iron) Fannie Farmers recipe is perfect! Thanks, Jim

  • Those old iron waffle irons are the best. I have been looking for a recipe like this and you deliver, as always . Years ago I used to make similar waffles using sour dough . It’s great making them the night before and having them almost ready the next morning.

  • Caroyln says:

    Ruth – this isn’t related to waffles, but I wanted to thank you for your latest cookbook. I love how you describe your journey and I love the book — as you move through the seasons, I find myself getting so excited for the coming months and what they have to offer (mouth is currently watering for apricots and sour cherries). Your descriptions of the sensory pleasures of cooking have made me more alert in the kitchen – especially when the day-to-day responsibility of being the family cook is often a burden.

  • Sally says:

    I recently discovered this recipe in your book and have been making it ever since to rave reviews. It has replaced a recipe that we had been using from a 1939 Rumford cookbook — needless to say not a yeast-based recipe. The Rumford recipe calls for beaten egg whites to achieve volume and the right combination of crisp and tender. I love the yeasty taste and smell of your recipe and appreciate how easy it is. Thank you!

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  • Margi Nicholas says:

    Hi, I am looking for help understanding how to use my Jotul waffle maker. I’ve had it for 40 years. It’s cast iron with hearts. My dad gave it to me for a wedding present and there were no directions with it. I’m not sure how hot to keep it during cooking. The batter always sticks to the pan and it comes out stuck to both sides. I’ve never had a complete waffle out of it. Just a huge mess. It’s seasoned, hot and well oiled before I put batter in it. Maybe it’s the recipe? Should I let one side cook like a pancake before closing it? Should I turn it midway? I’ve tried all these things with no success. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • admin says:

      Hi Margi,
      That’s exactly the Jotul I have – the one with hearts. And I’ve never had a single problem with it. I don’t oil it before using – it’s very well seasoned – but I do use this recipe with plenty of butter. I get it very hot, pour in just enough batter to cover the entire iron (not too much), wait a few seconds, then close the lid. After about a minute and a half, I turn the waffle iron over to cook the other side.

      If your waffles continue to stick, I suggest reseasoning the entire iron. Good luck!

  • Hilary says:

    Hi there, I just dug out my Jotul Nr 6 waffle iron. Found it in a thrift store for a couple dollars about 10 years ago, if that.
    I’ve never used her, today I will.
    I’m hoping this recipe will serve me well.

  • Ruth Reichl says:

    I hope your waffles are wonderful!

  • Hilary says:

    I made my waffles today and they are yeasty, crispy and a whole lot of fun to make on my wood stove. Wish I could pics!
    The jotul nr6 iron is well seasoned and I had no sticking. Love this.