Belgian Waffles

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by ChefBryan, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. ChefBryan

    ChefBryan

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    I am going to be doing some waffle specials. I had thought about ordering pearl sugar, but after researching online I found ways of making it yourself by crystalizing sugar instead. has anyone tried this method or had luck with it? I would like to avoid paying $10/lb for sugar if able, but not if I won't be able to achieve the same results.
     
  2. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    I've looked into that as a cost-saving measure and determined that the DIY Belgian sugar is not the same as the Belgian sugar sold for Liege waffles. The former is primary for brewing beer/ale and the latter is more highly (mechanically, I believe) compressed to hold up in the waffle/bread applications.

    But I've never made the DIY Belgian sugar so only know what I know from academic research rather than experimentation.
     
  3. sgmchef

    sgmchef

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    Hi ChefBryan!

    Lived in Belgium for six years so I just had to see what was being asked about Belgian Waffles!

    I would just get the real thing and charge for it. Gaufres liégeoises are not cheap in Belgium either, because those little pearls aren't cheap in Belgium either. Those little sugar nuggets play much more than a minor role in that particular product but, I am prejudiced by my memory.

    Without putting the house made chunks in a tumbler, you probably won't achieve the rounded, pearl appearance even if you match the texture.

    Since there is some melting of the pearls, while resting in the dough, it might work with homemade.

    The homemade pearl sugar versions are usually geared to a home cook, not a professional presentation for sale.

    I would still use the real ones though. Sorry I couldn't give you a better answer.

    I would really like to hear what you decided!


     
  4. ChefBryan

    ChefBryan

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    Thank you very much for your feedback. I think I will go with the real thing, at least for the first trial. I can get them for a little less than $10/lb, and I figure I need about a lb for around 50, so it will only add about 20 - 25 cents/ portion. The reason I was concerned about cost is because I am a hospital chef. In a restaurant it would be easier to pass the cost on, here I try to keep breakfast entrees around $2, and lunch entrees under $3.50, so on many things I am simply breaking even at best, and making it up in other areas. Fortunately food cost is managed different, so I don't have to maintain a certain percent, just stay within my budget. I think the only way to know for sure if the cost is justified by the quality is to try both myself, and I would rather do it right the first time. My specials typically sell out pretty fast, but if I find that holding them for 15 minutes affects the quality, or if my demographic doesn't notice/appreciate the difference, I may try the home made version. Factoring in my labor may make the price difference largely irrelevant anyways. Thank you again!
     
  5. ChefBryan

    ChefBryan

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    I have the option of French, Belgian, or Swedish pearl sugar. I cannot find much online about any differences between them. The French has the best price and pack size for my application. Any thoughts on this?
     
  6. sgmchef

    sgmchef

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    Hi ChefBryan!

    On behalf of anyone that has to eat in a hospital, I want to thank you sincerely from the heart! Getting a good bite when forced to eat in a hospital because you are really only there because of health problems is wonderful! I know staff eat there also but, feeding distraught people isn't ideal.

    In Belgium is isn't unheard of to simply reheat a Gaufres liégeoises back in the same waffle maker for about 1.5 minutes. The dough is so rich that it can withstand reheating and still produce a nice crust, with some caramelized pearls, and still have a tender interior. Not sure about making waffles the day before but a few hours was common at least in the tourist area of the Grand Place in Brussels.

    I was going to suggest that you try to reheat one the next day but they will never make it, because there will not be leftover anything. Boy, they are a delicious treat....

    Had a chef friend visit from the states and after sampling "local" Cheeses, "local" Chocolates and a Moules-Frite lunch I bought a Gaufres liégeoises. He said "I just can't, I'm over-stuffed". I said "You have to at least take one bite" and he ended up eating two whole ones.

    Oh, and remind the serving staff to warn customers about the hot caramel or hold behind the line for a about a minute for the sugar napalm to cool enough to not cause a burn! Molten Caramel is no joke but so worth it for the flavor.

    Again, Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2018
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  7. ChefBryan

    ChefBryan

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    Thank you so much for all of the feedback and advice! I wont have to worry about reheating. we have 4 hot wells out front in our café, and I will be making the waffles out there so I can interact with people. provided my waffle maker can keep up with the demand, I will be filling a full pan, with a second in the alto shaam as a backup. to your knowledge, is there a difference between French, Belgian, or Swedish pearl sugar?
     
  8. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    It’s really difficult to learn the differences in the sugars. I’m not familiar with French sugar. But Belgian pearl sugar has the right consistency for Liege waffle. Belgian candi sugar is for brewing. Swedish pearl sugar is for topping baked goods. The last two have different consistency than Belgian pearl sugar and I doubt it would work well for waffle. On Amazon a vendor of Swedish sugar indicates that it can be used for waffles but I think that is an error. They sell both Belgian and Swedish pearl sugars and I reallly think whoever wrote that ad didn’t fully understand the difference between the two products.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  9. sgmchef

    sgmchef

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    Frite shops and waffle shops in Belgium have one thing in common. They are always made to order or in the case of waffles they are always returned to the waffle iron to order to get that crisp shell.

    20 people in line for the exact same product does not change their procedure. Every customer gets a great product instead of a heat lamp, microwave, steam table or Altosham version.

    My opinion is you are going through the time, expense, and effort to offer an uncommon product only to fall down at the finish line.

    Forget about the differences between sugars and the related expense. Pick a different product.
     
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  10. carltonb

    carltonb

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    I am contracted out to a food truck group that sells Leige Waffles. They inherited the formula from the previous owner. It was pretty bad. I have attempted to develop one based on my baking and pastry experience an also watching them being made in Belgium. I am so close, I do not know what I am lacking. The company does not have a fork/spiral mixer which I would really think enhance them.

    Can some one supply me with a formula for them. I am currently not making them with milk, as I watched in Europe.

    Carlton Brooks CEPC CEC CCE
     
  11. ChefBryan

    ChefBryan

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    You are right. I intend to experiment with it until I can find a good balance. I want to be able to offer this product, and I am sure I can find a way to do it that won't diminish the quality or integrity of it. I will see how long they can hold before being adversely affected, and if need be I can do them ahead of time and flash them on the waffle maker as you suggested earlier. I don't think doing them strictly to order will be an option, as many of the people that come for breakfast are on their 15 minute break, and expect to be able to get in and get out. If I have a line of 20 people, and each waffle is taking a minute or minute and a half that could be problematic. I greatly appreciate all of your knowledge and feedback. I will continue to try to exceed any expectations of what "hospital" food is, and push the envelope of what many would think possible given my resources at hand.
     
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  12. harpua

    harpua

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    I made pearl sugar by crystallizing it once. It came out a little yellow and the size of the pieces ranged from powder to tiny balls. I would just buy it.
     
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  13. sgmchef

    sgmchef

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    ChefBryan,

    You are right.

    You will continue to do a great job that your customers appreciate. As far as my comments, I was having wonderful flashbacks, flashbacks, flashbacks... Eating a waffle while strolling a city square on a nice summer day in Belgium.

    Heartfelt but not helpful.

    I suggest that you premake your whole batch, cool, cover, then fridge.
    Or, after cooling, just leave them at room temp.
    Heat to order with a light brush or aerosol of melted butter. Next best, a spritz of Pam, I guess.

    Not to order, from raw. Yes, those are the best, but the rich dough doesn't suffer too much from a second visit to the iron. Drying out is a common problem for most product reheats. Too much fat, sugar and eggs for these babies to dry out.

    I'm sure will find the system needed.
     
  14. sgmchef

    sgmchef

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    Hey Chefbryan,

    You sounds like a workaholic. Please allow me to add to your workload!

    Maybe you should try the Belgian version of "Pan Perdue" I learned.

    Make your "french toast". Yup, your normal stuff.
    Very lightly and evenly, sprinkle white sugar on a stainless grill.
    As you observe the white disappearing in an area.
    Toss on cooked french toast and smear, a little.
    Remove and pan up.

    Trick is tiny amount of sugar. Start with less than you think you should... approx. 1/8 tsp per slice

    It doesn't take much caramel to give wonderful flavor. Not looking to break teeth...

    You can make it as fast you can make caramel and wipe it up with the french toast and toss in line pan. Caramel side always touches a non caramel side, if shingled.

    Molten caramel is not to be taken lightly. Edible Napalm...

    The extra step for this product does takes time (labor) and can make a real mess.

    Some good news,
    • Sugar/Caramel dissolves in water. Let the water clean the grill.
    • 1/8 tsp of white sugar is not expensive
    • hint of dark caramel flavor on custard bread pleases the palate

    At least try one yourself with some strawberries. You'll know whether or not it would be worth extra time.

    Keep up good work. Gotta love a chef that challenges himself!
     
  15. ChefBryan

    ChefBryan

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    Lol. I used to be much more of a workaholic. 100 hrs a week. Having a family is what inspired the change to work in a hospital. Generally 40 hours a week plus benes, not a bad deal. Never changed my commitment to excellence, however. your pan perdue sounds like something I was going to try on my Panini press. nice caramelized brioche French toast. the press is seasoned very well, so I don't think clean up will be an issue. Might have to wait until the spring/summer when I get my herb garden up and running, maybe do some lavender sugar on them, some fresh strawberries and honey marscapone cream...


    This was my last breakfast special, a play on eggs bene. All this for only $3.00! Probably one of the other nice benefits of working in a hospital. I can make some pretty nice things without having to worry about a 300% markup.
    Poblano Asadero Bene.jpg

    Poblano and asadero stuffed cornbread smothered with our house made crab and shrimp stuffing, topped with an egg over easy, and finished off with a bright and vibrant cilantro lime hollandaise.
     
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  16. ChefBryan

    ChefBryan

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    We sold almost 100 in two hours. Thank you so much for all of your input!
     

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  17. ChefBryan

    ChefBryan

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    I topped it with fresh strawberries and nutella.
     
  18. sgmchef

    sgmchef

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    Kudos ChefBryan!

    I hear that you are a finalist for hospital cafeteria of the year award!

    Again, I want to sincerely thank you for making people happy in your environment.

    Keep up the great work!
     
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