12. enero 2018
Reading time: 2 minutes
Whether savory or sweet, with powdered sugar, cherries, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream – waffles get a lot of love. The love of waffles is deep enough for artists to have made them a theme in their work by creating waffle sculptures in public parks. But where do waffles actually come from and when were they first made? One thing is certain: waffles are on everyone’s lips.
A delicious craft
The crumb trace of waffles harks back to the 9th century. Wafers from Belgian and French monasteries are assumed to be the predecessors of waffles. It was not until four-hundred years later that waffle-making became established in France. From there the sweet pieces spread at lightning speed and by the 15th century even the masses, and not just royalty, could enjoy them.
Always an iron in the fire
The focus in the Middle Ages, however, was not only on the waffles themselves, but on the forging of the iron needed to make this sweet temptation. With painstaking handiwork, two iron plates were joined and given individual patterns which were clearly visible on every crispy fresh waffle. The handles were especially long, since the iron had to be laid over an open fire to prepare the waffles. Every waffle iron was one of a kind. The well-off could afford to adorn them with coats of arms, inscriptions or images of saints. A status symbol with taste. These baked goods were even used as traditional dowries in weddings and other festive occasions. By the time of industrialization, the irons were no longer fashioned by hand and the custom designs disappeared.
It has become much faster and simpler for us to get our waffles. Here’s to electricity! The recipe for waffles has not changed much. The basic ingredients are eggs, flour, butter, milk and baking powder. But a simple yet effective ingredient makes a subtle difference: sparkling mineral water. It loosens the dough to give it the necessary fluffiness. Depending on one’s druthers, waffles can be enjoyed either sweet or savory. The all-time classic is the Belgian waffle. It is a bit thicker and has a deeper pattern than its relatives. So what is the deep pattern for, anyway? It’s not just for looks, but to hold firm the various toppings. It would be a shame if the delicious, warm chocolate sauce did not stay on the waffle. The typical Belgian waffle is topped off with powdered sugar and a generous dollop of apple sauce. And is best homemade. Another common version has coarse sugar pieces baked right in to the dough. Check out our next blog post for a matching recipe revolving entirely around waffles. image: Beuckelaer, Joachim; A Dutch Kitchen Scene; National Trust, Treasurer’s House, York