Whole Wheat Sourdough Waffles

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Sourdough is ideal for keeping a  chewy, hearty loaf of bread on hand, but crisp, light waffles also begin with sourdough. The starter imparts none of its sour flavor, but gives all of its leavening power to make the waffles light and fluffy and delightfully crisp on the outside. If I didn’t like the bread so much, I would still be tempted to keep the starter around just to make these waffles. We don’t eat them often, but they are one of my favorite breakfast treats.

As with anything involving wild yeast, it takes a few hours of planning ahead and a few minutes of work to have your perfect breakfast. Mix the starter, flour, and buttermilk the night before. The yeast works its magic, the flour soaks over night (which can reduce phytic acid and make it easier to digest) and in the morning you add eggs, butter, milk and baking soda. The batter rises rapidly and sizzles dramatically when it hits the griddle.

I like waffles plain, fresh off the griddle. I really like them with maple syrup. I love them covered with berries, and a scoop of yogurt or a dab of mascarpone butter. No matter how you like to eat these, you really can’t go wrong.

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Whole Wheat Sourdough Waffles
Adapted from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Book

2 tablespoons active sourdough starter
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk with a teaspoon of vinegar)
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) whole wheat flour

Stir together the starter, buttermilk and flour until smooth. Cover and let sit for at least hours or overnight.

2 eggs
1/2 cup (4 ounces) milk
1/4 cup (2 ounces) melted butter
2 tablespoons sugar (optional and not really necessary)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

When you are ready to make the waffles, beat the eggs and milk together until they are frothy. Stir the egg and milk with the melted butter into the starter mixture. Add the sugar (if using), baking soda, and salt and stir gently until the batter is smooth. Bake the waffles in your waffle iron as usual.
Makes 5-6 large waffles.

Mascarpone Butter
Creamy, with a hint of salt, this butter is perfect with acidic berries on top of waffles, pancakes or french toast. Simply mix 1 part butter and 2 parts mascarpone cheese in a food processor until it thickens to the consistency of whipped butter. Add salt to taste. Use liberally and keep refrigerated.

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