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Don’t let the whole grain spelt flour fool you – these Belgian waffles are crisp on the outside, and light and fluffy on the inside. Essentially, they’re breakfast perfection.
But what makes a waffle Belgian?
Being more of a pancake fan when I was growing up, I always assumed that the only difference between different kinds of waffles was the shape of the iron used to make them.
While the iron certainly has something to do with it, the batter is also important.
A classic Belgian waffle contains just a handful of basic ingredients including flour, baking powder, eggs, milk, and butter – with butter being the key ingredient.
Most waffle batters are higher in fat than pancake batter. And this extra fat is the key to creating that characteristic crisp exterior.
Now, while some recipes use oil, I’m a big proponent of using butter instead. After all, butter does more than just make this breakfast staple crisp, it also provides that classic buttery flavor that I associate with diner-style waffles.
Traditionally, Belgian waffle recipes use yeast to help the batter rise during cooking.
And while some recipes still use yeast, baking powder has become a much more common way to add lift.
That’s the route we’re taking with these. But don’t worry – just because there isn’t any yeast in the batter doesn’t mean these spelt waffles are dense.
Instead, we’re using a few different tricks to make these light and fluffy. Baking powder and baking soda, buttermilk, and whipped egg whites all act as leavening agents in this recipe.
Let’s start with the buttermilk. When the acid in the buttermilk mixes with the alkaline baking soda, a chemical reaction creates bubbles of carbon dioxide in the batter. This helps to create a fluffy texture.
To make these even fluffier, we’re going to add egg whites that have been whipped until they form soft peaks. Trust me: it’s easier than it sounds!
If you aren’t familiar with spelt already, it’s a whole grain that can be ground into flour with a delicate, nutty flavor, and it has a surprisingly light and airy texture when added to breakfast foods and baked goods.
Nutritionally, spelt is an excellent source of heart-healthy fiber and a handful of essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc.
It also has more protein than whole wheat, and some even find it easier to digest than other whole grains.
While you can find it at most large grocery stores, I like to buy it in bulk online to save money. For longer-term storage, I keep it in an airtight container in the freezer.
I also like to add a pinch of cinnamon, and I suggest that you do the same. The earthy flavor of the warming spice pairs so well with the rest of the nutty, tangy ingredients, and the sweetness of maple syrup.
Nature’s Legacy VitaSpelt White Unbleached Spelt Flour, 5-lb. Bag, available on Amazon
These Belgian waffles are crisp on the outside, light on the inside, and slightly more nutritious than your standard fare, thanks to whole grain spelt flour.
What more could you want in the morning?Print
Made with whole grain spelt flour, these Belgian waffles are crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and a bit on the healthier side.
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup whole grain spelt flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 heaping pinch ground cinnamon (optional)
- Preheat Belgian waffle iron.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla, buttermilk, and melted butter until they’re well combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
- Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the buttermilk mixture.
- Add egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form, being careful not to over-mix. Gently fold egg whites into the batter.
- Spoon about one-fifth of the batter onto the hot iron (or whatever quantity is recommended according to the manufacturer’s instructions), close, and cook until golden brown. Repeat with remaining batter and serve with maple syrup, or your favorite toppings.
- Category: Waffle
- Method: Waffle Iron
- Cuisine: Breakfast
Keywords: Belgian waffle, breakfast, spelt
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients
First, preheat your waffle iron.
Melt the butter in the microwave, and set it aside to cool slightly. This is important, because you don’t want it to scramble the eggs in the batter.
Crack the eggs, and carefully separate the yolks and whites into separate bowls.
Measure all of the remaining ingredients.
Note: if you don’t have buttermilk, you can combine 1 cup of milk or dairy-free milk alternative with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes before adding to the batter.
Step 2 – Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the buttermilk mixture.
Has your baking powder been sitting on the shelf for awhile, and you’re not sure if it’s fresh enough to use? Read our article for tips.
Step 3 – Whip Egg Whites and Fold into Batter
Add the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, mix on medium-low speed until the egg whites begin to look frothy. Increase the speed to high, and whip until soft peaks form.
To check if your egg whites are ready, stop the mixer and lift the beater. The egg whites should form a peak that quickly curls and softens back into itself rather than holding its structure.
Gently fold the egg whites into the batter with a spatula.
Step 4 – Cook
Using a measuring cup, add a portion of batter to the hot iron. I use about a fifth of the total batter, but the quantity that’s best may vary depending on the size of your appliance. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine what amount should be used.
Close the lid, and cook until golden brown. For many appliances, you can tell that they are ready when steam is no longer coming out of the waffle maker. Others will have an indicator light, but remember to check for doneness using your senses as well as whatever the appliance is telling you to avoid over- or under-cooking!
Place on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining batter.
Serve immediately, with the toppings of your choice. Don’t forget the maple syrup!
Freeze Leftovers for Easy Weekday Breakfasts
While these taste best fresh from the waffle iron, they can also be frozen and enjoyed as a convenient breakfast option during the week.
First, allow the waffles to cool completely on a cooling rack. To freeze, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap and place on a baking tray. Place in the freezer for 30-60 minutes, or until frozen. Transfer to a zip-top freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat, all you have to do is take one out of the freezer, unwrap it, and pop it in the toaster or toaster oven.
Looking for more healthier waffle recipes? We’ve got you covered! Try these next:
- Gluten-Free Buckwheat Buttermilk with Blueberries and Bananas
- Crisp and Buttery Einkorn
- Vegan Flax Seed Belgian
Did you give this recipe a try? Leave your comments below, and let us know how much you loved it by leaving a 5-star rating!
Photos by Kelli McGrane, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on October 5, 2011. Last updated September 12, 2020. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
The written contents of this article have been reviewed and verified by a registered dietitian for informational purposes only. This article should not be construed as personalized or professional medical advice. Foodal and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet, or using supplements or manufactured or natural medications.
About Kelli McGrane, MS, RD
Kelli McGrane is a Denver-based registered dietitian with a lifelong love of food. She holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in nutrition science from Boston University. As a registered dietitian, she believes in the importance of food to nourish not only your body, but your soul as well. Nutrition is very personal, and you won’t find any food rules here, other than to simply enjoy what you eat.