Belgaufra Liege Waffles
~ John: story, Niki: Belgaufra photos, Mary: recipe & food photos ~
It all started back in 1998, I was on my first voyage to Europe so I wanted to cover a lot of ground, we ended up covering four nations in one week! One of the most memorable was the trip to Brussels. We took a cab from the train station to the hotel. I was stuck to the window the whole ride. The driver broke my trance by saying voila in front of the hotel.
We settled in and then head out to enjoy the La Grand Place de Bruxelles. It is one of the most beautiful plazas in Europe.
We walked around a bit when we came to a “waffle stand”. Mary bought one while I declined. She offered a bite, I declined again, then she pretty much demanded that I at least try a bite, I did and I could not stop. We continued to eat them for the rest of our stay.
Since that trip, we have made several trips to Antwerp. At the corner of the alley where we have stayed, there is a franchised Belgaufra store front. There are pretty good but not as good as the street vendors. The street ones have a lot more sugar and have a harder exterior. These are targeted treats when we go to Belgium, that, plus great beer and chocolate.
Recipe from a website devoted to this one recipe. There was no adaptation necessary, the recipe is PERFECT! I just doubled it, I figured as long as I was going to the trouble, I wanted more than five waffles 😉
YOU NEED TO START this recipe a day in advance!!!!!
Belgaufra Liege Waffles
makes 10 waffles
The day before you plan on having these, place into the workbowl of a stand mixer.
1 pkg Active Dry Yeast
1/2 cup scalded Whole Milk at 110-115°
1/3 Cup Water at 110-115°
Stir for a few seconds to moisten the yeast.
2 Large Eggs room temperature and lightly beaten
1 cup Bread flour
Mix to blend. Scrape down sides of bowl
Sprinkle an additional:
3 cups Bread flour
Over the top, but DO NOT stir it in
Cover and let stand 75-90 minutes (at the end of that time, you’ll notice the batter bubbling up through the cover of flour).
3 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Table Salt – use it all!
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
Mix on low speed – just to blend.
With machine on low, add:
2 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Vanilla
Then add just 2 Tbsp AT A TIME:
1 Cup Butter soft room temperature
Mix 4 minutes at medium-low speed; scrape down sides once or twice in that period. Let the dough rest for 1 minute and then continue to mix for 2 minutes.
If you measured your ingredients perfectly, the dough will be sticking to the sides of the bowl in the last minute of mixing and then, in the last 30 seconds of so, will start to ball-up on the paddle. If this does not happen, let the dough rest for 1 more minute and mix for another 2 minutes. Whatever the outcome of the extra mixing, proceed.
Scrape the dough into a large bowl, sprinkle lightly with flour, cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 4 hours. This step is crucial for developing the flavor.
REFRIGERATE FOR 30 MINUTES BEFORE PROCEEDING TO NEXT STEP
This is essential. The yeast respiration must be slowed before continuing.
Stir the dough down (meaning: gently deflate the gases from the dough, by pressing on it with a rubber scraper), scrape it onto a piece of plastic wrap, and press the dough into a long rectangle. Fold that rectangle over on itself (by thirds – like a letter) so that you have a square of dough. Wrap it in plastic, weigh it down with two heavy dinner plates on top of it, and refrigerate OVERNIGHT.
The next day, place the cold dough (it will be quite firm) in a large bowl and add:
1 to 1 1/2 cups Belgian Pearl Sugar (“Lars Own” brand is an excellent choice) IKEA carries Lars brand Swedish Pearl Sugar which worked perfect, I just used the smaller amount (1 cup). OR you can purchase the Belgian brand on Amazon.
It will seem like a lot of sugar, but it’s supposed to be. Mix it into the dough by hand until the chunks are well-distributed. It may be easier to work with half of the dough at a time. Once mixed, divide the dough into 10 pieces of equal size.
Shape each chunk into an oval ball (like a football without the pointy ends) and let it rise (covered loosely in plastic wrap) for exactly 90 minutes.
If you have a professional waffle iron (meaning: it’s cast iron and weighs over 20 pounds) cook at exactly 365-370 degrees (the max temp before sugar begins to burn/decompose) for approximately 2 minutes.** Give each waffle a few minutes to cool slightly before eating. No syrup or toppings are needed, unless you’d like to add some fruit or a dusting of powdered sugar; they’re quite sweet on their own.
** If you have a regular waffle iron, heat the iron to 420 degrees (hint: many regular waffle irons go up to and over 550 degrees at their highest setting) , place the dough on the iron, and immediately unplug it or turn the temp dial all the way down. Otherwise, the sugar will burn.