First of all, you should know that there are two types of Belgian waffles. First, there’s the Brussels waffle, the one everyone knows. It is rectangular, has small but deep holes and is very light. The perfect Brussels waffle crackles when you bite into it, and you can top it with just about anything you can think of.
The second is the Liège waffle. The batter for this one contains large lumps of sugar. But even though the batter is already sweet, you can still get it with any topping you want, because in Belgium nothing is too sweet.
- Heat the milk to 110-115 F (43-46 C). It takes about 30-45 seconds in the microwave. Make sure the milk is not too hot or the yeast will die. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and stir to combine.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the cooled butter, sugar and salt with a spoon or rubber spatula.
- Stir in the milk/yeast mixture. Stir in the flour until hydrated. The dough will be rough at this point.
- This dough can be kneaded by hand or with the dough hook of a stand mixer for about 6-8 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a clean bowl. Spray the dough lightly with oil and cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough ferment at room temperature until it doubles in size. This will take about 30-45 minutes if you used fast-rising yeast and 1-2 hours if you used active dry yeast. A warm place speeds up the fermentation time.
- Release the air from the dough by pressing in the center and bringing the edges of the dough over the top.
- Flatten the dough on a lightly floured work surface and add the pearl sugar. Knead the pearl sugar into the dough until evenly distributed. Alternatively, you can knead the sugar into the dough in a food processor with a dough hook.
- Divide the dough into about 12 pieces and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes while the waffle iron heats up.
- All waffle irons are different, so start your iron on a low temperature. Raise the temperature little by little to find the setting that will caramelize your sugar. Spray the iron with non-stick cooking spray and place a piece of dough in the center of the waffle iron and close it. The wafer will swell during baking. Cook until they are golden brown.