Popular as tasty breakfast carbs, waffles are perfect for breakfast. A waffle iron has two hinged metal plates that join to form the honeycomb pattern. The waffle iron is heated and then batter is poured between the plates. The waffle iron is closed to bake the waffle. Non-stick models of waffle irons are also available these days.
These days almost all waffle irons are electric. Electric waffle irons cook both the top and the bottom of the waffle at the same time. Almost all electric waffle irons are non-stick. You can make waffle with round, square or any special shapes like hearts. Few waffle irons have an indicator thermostat or light that will alert you when the iron is hot enough to cook the waffles.
Few other models have another indicator light that flashes once the waffles are cooked. Stovetop manual models are also available in the market. A variety of waffle irons are available these days - some can make very thin waffles that can also be used to make waffle cones.
Waffle iron varieties
Waffle iron can be classified into two types based on its thickness. This is not a standard classification but is generally used to differentiate different types of waffle irons.
Traditional/classical or American style: Waffle irons that resemble the most general shape and thickness are referred to as the traditional or classic waffle irons. American waffles are square in shape.
Belgian style: Models that are thicker and have more number of pocketed waffles are referred to as Belgian waffle irons. Belgian waffles are usually fluffier, round and taller when compared to the American-style waffles. Belgian waffle irons are preferred because they make crispier and fluffier waffles. Deeper pockets in the Belgian style waffle irons allow the outer part to get crisp while the inner part is moist.
Waffle iron features
Non-stick Coated Plate: These plates are easy to clean.
Cool-touch handles: These handles can prevent burns as they have chrome or stainless housing. You can choose a plastic stay-cool handle for ease of use. Waffle irons made of plastic heat up less when compared to other waffle irons.
Texture Modifier: This feature helps in baking the waffle either fast and crisp or slow and soft.
Square molds waffle iron: These models suit large families; you can make four smaller waffles at the same time instead of one single round waffle.
Wrap-around Cord or Cord Storage Compartment: This will prevent wear on cord and also helps in storing the cord safely.
Choosing the right waffle iron
Size of waffle maker: Choose a waffle iron that will suit your storage space. Few waffle irons are small and compact while others occupy more space. Few models also have a cord storage facility. Waffle irons are available in both shiny and matte finish.
Waffle Shapes and Sizes: Waffles can be made into different sizes and shapes. You can make stick or finger waffles that are great for dipping. Heart-shaped Belgium waffles are popular. You can make very thin waffles that can be rolled into cones. Some waffle irons allow you make 2 waffles at a time.
Cooking and Browning Settings: Most waffle irons have an adjustable thermostat offering a variety of settings. These settings can change the color and texture of the waffle while it is getting cooked. A variable thermostat can help in making waffles crisp on the outer layer and softer in the middle layer. You can customize your waffles by independently adjusting baking time and temperature.
Purpose of the waffle iron: You can choose a waffle maker that makes only waffles or choose a waffle iron that has a flat griddle as well. Some waffle irons double up for grilled sandwiches and hamburgers. These combination units have removable plates that allow you to switch modes.
Some waffle irons have accessories like dipping compartments. Also check the warranty period for the waffle iron you purchase as few of them may have longer warranty period when compared to others.
Waffle iron maintenance
Use non-stick cooking spray: Most waffle irons are non-stick yet it is advisable to coat the waffle iron with a thin film of cooking spray each time you use it, this will prevent sticking.
Do not scrub: Scrubbing the waffle iron can result in scratches or peeling of nonstick coating. It is advisable to allow your iron to cool down and then use a cotton swab or soft cloth to remove any leftovers.
Remember to clean the waffle iron well; this will prevent the leftover batter from sticking to the moulds. To clean the waffle iron, ensure that the mould is clean and then brush oil. You can also use a non-stick spray on both the top and bottom portion of the waffle iron.