I make waffles a handful of times every month, often with some seasonal variations tossed in – blueberry, pumpkin, apple (see page 115 of my cookbook) – but these sourdough waffles are hands down my favourite. They’re so easy, always bake up perfectly, and, best part, they’re prepped the night before.
Vegan waffles can be a bit fiddly to get right. Usually you need some kind of starch or other binding agent (banana, applesauce) and the texture can be wonky. With sourdough starter, though, they’re spot on without adding anything!
This recipe uses spelt flour (see below for subs), so the taste is more complex and a little nutty. They’re overall much more interesting than normal waffles. The outside is still crisp, with a nice soft inside, and a slightly chewy texture. Serve with classic maple syrup, applesauce, or something like a quick blueberry compote.
There is a fairly significant flavour difference from the sourdough, but it’s pleasant rather than overwhelming. If you’re looking for diner style waffles, though, this is not that. The taste is more mild than with a long-ferment sourdough bread, but there is a bit of tanginess.
If you tend to get a bit bloated or some slight stomach upset from normal waffles, you might be able to digest sourdough waffles a bit more easily, much the same as with bread. I usually have a bit of trouble with waffles but these ones are easy on the stomach due to the fermenting process.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Starter: don’t have a starter? That’s fine, you can use yeast instead! A teaspoon of yeast will do the trick and can be subbed in for the starter. The flavour won’t be as pronounced, and they’ll be slightly less chewy, but they’re still good.
- Spelt flour: this can be either light or whole grain. All purpose white flour, whole wheat, or other ancient grains like kamut or einkorn all work well. I haven’t tried making these gluten free.
- Milk: any kind of dairy-free milk with the exception of canned full fat coconut milk can be used here. Dairy milk, as is the case 99% of the time, can be used as well if you don’t need them to be dairy free. The waffles will have a slight yogurt scent if you use dairy milk.
Starter or Discard for Waffles
If you have an active sourdough starter and only use it to make bread, you’re discarding a lot of useable starter. This is a great recipe to make use of some of that discard! When you feed your starter, use the discard to mix up a batch of waffles instead of tossing it in the compost or whatever you do with it.
It does need to be quite active, though! If you’re storing your starter in the refrigerator, the discard from feeding it that first time won’t be strong enough to give these waffles a good rise. If that’s the case, you’ll want to use a starter that was fed about 12 hours beforehand, just like you would to make a loaf of sourdough bread.
What I’m saying here, is that if you feed your starter daily, the discard from that will work well. If you only bake once a week or so, use a starter that’s been fed and is active. Need a good recipe for less active discard? Try these sourdough crackers.
Please note that this recipe requires a 100% hydration starter. Mine is made with rye flour, but any active starter will work well.
Step by Step
Couldn’t be easier! You can see the process more clearly in the video or in the step-by-step photos below. Everything is mixed in one bowl, there are just 7 ingredients with no weird additives or hard to find ingredients.
After mixing, simply cover to rest overnight at room temperature (no need to clear out a shelf in the fridge) and then bake the following morning. The batter can rest for anywhere from 8-16 hours so there’s a flexible timeframe if you need it.
1. Mix the batter: whisk everything together into a smooth batter.
2. Rise: set aside to rise, covered, overnight. It should be bubbly and light.
3. Bake: don’t mix the batter again. Pour into a hot waffle iron and bake until golden.
4. Repeat: keep baking the waffles until all of the batter has been used.
How to Store
Storage: like any waffles, sourdough waffles will also soften as they cool and are stored in a container. To freshen them up, toast for a few seconds before serving. Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container for a couple of days.
Freezing: freeze cooled waffles in an airtight container for up to a month, and thawed in the toaster if you’d like.
- Know your iron: how you bake the waffles will vary between irons; I fill mine 90% full or it doesn’t reach the edges. Baking time will depend on the kind of iron you have. They should be golden but not overly browned as they’ll lose the softness inside if overcooked.
- Don’t whisk again: once the batter has risen, don’t whisk or mix it a second time before baking into waffles. You don’t want to beat the air out of the mixture.
- Use a hot iron: most electric waffle irons will have a light on top that changes colour when it thinks waffles are ready. Ignore this, it’s always wrong. Make sure the iron has really preheated before starting to bake the waffles, and take them out when they’re ready, not when the iron thinks they are.
More Ancient Grain Sourdough Recipes
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- 340 grams spelt flour*
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 500 ml oat milk
- 50 grams sourdough starter OR 1 teaspoon dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil**
- Add the flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt to a large bowl and whisk until combined.340 grams spelt flour*, 2 tablespoons coconut sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Add the milk, starter, and oil. Whisk again until just combined and no streaks of flour remain in the bowl.500 ml oat milk, 50 grams sourdough starter OR 1 teaspoon dry yeast, 2 tablespoons olive oil**
- Cover with a a tea towel and board or plate and set aside to rise at room temperature overnight, from 8 to a maximum of 16 hours.
- Once the batter has rested overnight, heat your waffle iron and bake the waffles as usual, filling the iron quite fully. Repeat until all of the batter has been used.
- Serve hot with desired toppings. These are best eaten fresh and will lose the outer crispness if stored. If you do have leftovers, toast briefly before eating.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
This was originally shared in March 2018. It has been updated with improvements to the recipe, new photos and step by step pictures, and a video as of January 2020.