Last March I picked up the Samson pictured in the last post. Ceramic insert top with a tropical bird decal. Very attractive and I'd wanted a ceramic insert model since I realized that I actually had a collection. The Samsons were made from... well I can't tell you that because I can't find my waffle iron book (of course there's a book and of course I have it. Don't mock. It's unseemly.) However, this particular model, which didn't have a model number, was made in the late twenties.
Anyway, this one is in beautiful condition. Almost too nice for a waffle iron that was over 80 years old. It has no burned on grease, in fact no evidence that it was ever cooked on. Possibly it was refinished but if so it was a professional job, a job that generally costs around a C-note, but I picked it up for under $30. Not complaining, mind you, just observing.
I suppose at this time you are wondering if I have a point. I do. In the intervening year or so I have never actually made waffles on the new iron. I have a refurbished unit that was a wedding present to my grandparents and which is my general use iron, plus I don't make waffles that much. Trying not to be fat and the carbs do it for me.
Today, holiday Monday, however, no bikes waiting my attention in my shop, I have a day off and I wanted waffles. So here's a little pictorial tutorial for your reading pleasure.
Step 1: With a small brush, oil the waffle surfaces. DO NOT under any circumstances use spray, even the stuff that claims to be for waffle irons. It gets on everything and will bake on, leaving an unsightly brown mess.
Step 2: Plug in the waffle iron for heating. Note that it typically takes about six minutes for a waffle iron to get to temperature. After about five minutes splatter a few drops of water onto the iron surface. If it sizzles and bounces around before evaporating then the iron is hot. Note the time it takes as making proper waffles is a delicate process.
Step 3: Pour just enough batter into the middle of the iron to fill it about 2/3 full. If you overfill then it will pour down the sides, making a hard to clean mess. Close the iron lid. I like to hold it down for about five seconds to help push the batter outwards. Check your clock. Typically it takes about three minutes to bake a waffle. You can use the steam method where you watch for the steam to lessen, but timing is better. You'll want to make a note of how long your iron takes to bake a waffle as well, since this can vary.
Step 4: Perfect waffle. I like to gently lift up on the lid rather than just open it. A perfectly done waffle should stick to the top and come up with the lid. Using a fork, gently pull on the top of the waffle and it will fall right into your hands. If you start to lift and it looks like the waffle isn't coming up, it probably isn't quite cooked.
Step 5: I have been eating Smucker's sugar free maple syrup for the past few years in order to make the aforementioned weight issue easier to control. Today I splurged. My little sister got me a tin of maple syrup when she was in Quebec last year so I opened it this morning. Heaven.
Step 6: Unplug the waffle iron and let it cool. Waffle irons are designed to maintain their temperature at the proper baking temperature so long as there are waffles in them. If you let it sit closed and plugged in for too long it will overheat with negative consequences for your iron. As soon as you are done, unplug.
So a huge success on this purchase. An improperly cured waffle iron will result in sticking waffles, which make a giant mess and then make it ever harder to get a proper waffle the next time.
I'm a bit concerned about the power cord. It looks something like this:
I will probably do a bit of online shopping and pick up a new one. Toaster Central (which used to refurbish waffle irons but unfortunately no longer does) often has replacement power cords available for antique kitchen appliances.
A couple notes on the process.
- Don't put fruit or sweeteners like honey in your batter. They will stick to the iron and burn.
- If you have waffles sticking to the iron, check your batter recipe, clean the surface well with hot soapy water and a plastic bristle brush, then start again conditioning like I showed you above.
So why the lengthy exposition on making good waffles? Well, let's just say that I think anyone who likes waffles will appreciate a properly cooked waffle. In order to properly cook waffles you should have an antique waffle iron in good condition and follow the proper procedures. I am not a big fan of the new Teflon coated irons. I don't think they make as good waffles.
And in case you were wondering how to tell if you made a good waffle?
There you go. The sign of a perfectly made waffle.