My daughter and I have been working on this sourdough discard waffle recipe for a long time. At last, we are proud to share it. These waffles are ridiculously tasty. I don't think they can get any better than this. The crumb is exceptionally light, open, and airy. The crust is thin and very crispy. The flavor is complex with a lingering pleasant, slightly tangy aftertaste. These sourdough discard waffles have everything that good sourdough waffles have, but they are more airy and require much less effort and time. Once you try them, you will never be making regular waffles.
As I mentioned above, we've been working on this recipe for a while. The waffles have always been tasty, but we always felt like there was something missing. I couldn't quite place my finger on what it was. The breakthrough resulted from a mistake, as it often happens. I miscalculated the amount of flour, which resulted in a lower flour-to-milk ratio. What a difference it made! My sourdough discard waffles loved the higher hydration, just like my French baguettes, Italian focaccia, and many other breads I make.
Immediately, we noticed how the crumb got much lighter, more airy, with much bigger holes. It also felt more moist. A truly dreamy texture! Just take a look below.
The airiness and big bubbles would become apparent as soon as the batter hit the waffle iron. It was amazing to see!
The crust became crispier and thinner. And it stayed crispy for longer. Normally, waffles would soften quite quickly. Not these ones. Just look at that beautiful crispy crust!
A few thoughts on sourdough discard
My sourdough starter (or levain if you want a more precise term) is 83.3% hydration. I feed it 120 grams of flour and 100 grams of water. Many home bakers use a 100% hydration sourdough starter, feeding it equal parts of flour and water. The recipe below is written for my 83.3% hydration sourdough starter discard. When using a 100% hydration sourdough starter, you will need to make a small adjustment, which I will mention in the recipe notes.
I feed my sourdough starter every evening, at which time I remove and discard all but one tablespoon of it. Evening is hardly a good time for any baking, so how do I go about using the discard? It's very simple. I take as much of the starter in the morning as I need, making sure to leave at least a tablespoon behind, which would be fed the following evening. Morning sourdough starter is the best - it's young, strong, very mildly acidic, and has a very pleasant smell. It's great for making waffles, rye bread, white bread, cinnamon rolls, English muffins, biscuits, and more.
What if you don't have sourdough discard?
I am sure I will get this question, and it's a good one. The closest you can get to the sourdough starter is by making poolish. Poolish is fermented dough similar to sourdough starter, except it uses commercial yeast instead of naturally occurring wild yeasts. To make the poolish, combine 100g grams of flour with 100 grams of water and 3 grams of instant yeast, and let it ferment for 3 hours at room temperature or in the fridge overnight.
These waffles are so tasty and flavorful on their own that I often like to eat them as is, with tea or coffee, as you would a cookie or a muffin. Sometimes, I like topping them with some sour creme, Greek yogurt, or creme fraiche. They are also fantastic paired with fresh berries or chopped fruit, my preferred way to eat my favorite buttermilk pancakes.
If you want to add a touch of sweetness, dust them with a little bit of powdered sugar. For more sweetness, drizzle with honey or maple syrup.
Sourdough Discard Belgian Waffle RecipePrint Pin Rate
- 200 g discard sourdough starter scant 1 cup if using my 83.3% hydration starter; full cup if using the typical 100% hydration starter
- 180 g flour about 1 1/4 cups
- 455 g milk 2 cups minus 2 Tbsp; room temperature or slightly warm; 430 g (1 3/4 cups) milk if using 100% hydration starter
- 100 g vegetable oil 1/2 cup
- 50 g sugar one level 1/4 cup
- 15 g baking powder 1 1/2 Tbsp
- 10 g corn starch 1 1/2 Tbs
- 2.5 g salt 1/2 tsp
- 2 eggs egg whites and yolks separated
- 4 g vanilla 1 tsp
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks.
- In another separate bowl, combine the milk and the sourdough discard, and whisk until the starter is well-dispersed. Add the egg yolks, oil, and vanilla, and stir gently until homogenous.
- Add the sourdough discard and milk mixture to dry ingredients and mix well.
- Next, fold in the egg whites.
- Preheat and lightly butter the waffle maker.
- Cook in a waffle maker over medium-high heat for around 5 minutes or until the waffles are crispy and have a beautiful golden brown color.