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All good chemical leavened waffle recipes I have had (the ones from New best recipe, Bittman, etc.) instruct me to melt solid fats before adding them to the waffle batter. I only once tried a recipe which uses the creaming method for adding butter to the waffle batter, and I didn't like it. The result was like badly baked cookies, with a crumbly texture instead of soft and elastic. I never found out if it was the method or the ratio which created this bad texture.

Now I bought a whole recipe book dedicated solely to waffles. It has many different recipes, savory and sweet (for the savory recipes, the butter is creamed without sugar, and the eggs are added to the creamed butter). All solid-fat recipes use the creaming method. I find this very strange.

Is it a good idea to cream the butter in waffle batter? How are creamed-batter-waffles different from melted-fat-waffles?

update An example recipe

100 g butter 
75 g powdered sugar 
1 sachet lemon essence 
3 eggs 
250 g flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
200 ml milk 

Give the butter with the powdered sugar and the lemon essence into a bowl 
and beat it into a foam. Add the eggs one by one, mixing vigorously. 

Mix the baking powder into the flour, place it on the egg-butter foam, and 
fold in together with the milk. If the batter is too thick, add some more milk. 

This is the waffle part only, the actual recipe specifies chocolate glaze to dip the waffles in, and fruit salad as a side. Any language stiffness is probably due to the fact that I tried to do a very literal translation from German and should not be interpreted as incompetency on the recipe writer's side :)

Update 2 There was one obvious way to see if the recipe is any good. I made the waffles from the above recipe.

The result was not good. The waffles have a texture between cakey and gummy. Not directly crumbly, but not soft and elastic like normal waffles or pancakes. I also looked into the New Best Recipe and found a wildly different ratio. If normalized for flour amount, the NBR recipe has 1 less egg, half the amount of butter, no sugar at all, and 3.5 times the amount of liquid, as well as more leavening. Now I have to make this recipe without creaming and the NBR recipe with creaming to get a conclusive answer :( Unless somebody has already tried it and can answer it for me.

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Can you post a representative recipe, along with its technique instructions? My initial reaction is: just because someone put the recipe in a book doesn't mean it is a well designed recipe. If there is any real reason at all, my guess is that this is actually to soften the butter (creaming it without sugar does nothing else much, it certainly doesn't introduce significant air), so that when you add the eggs you get an emulsion more easily. –  SAJ14SAJ Mar 13 '13 at 18:33
    
@SAJ14SAJ actually, creaming does a lot for the leavening of cookies and cake batters. It creates micro air-pockets which are expanded by the baking powder; the baking powder itself can't create those. This is why you have to cream with butter (shortening has the micro pockets by the time you buy it), reference: Cookwise. But I never had any trouble with leavening melted-fat waffles, even when I didn't beat the egg whites to foam. –  rumtscho Mar 13 '13 at 18:43
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Yes it does, in the presence of sugar. Those air pockets are cut in by the sharp edges of the sugar crystals. –  SAJ14SAJ Mar 13 '13 at 18:44
    
@SAJ14SAJ agreed. I overlooked that part in your comment. I still don't know if this is just a badly designed recipe aping working cake recipes, or if it has some advantage over melted-fat recipes. That's why I'm asking the question even though I admit that I was thinking on the lines of "badly designed" myself. –  rumtscho Mar 13 '13 at 18:49
    
It is curious. Let me look at your updated post and see if I see anything :-) –  SAJ14SAJ Mar 13 '13 at 18:50
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2 Answers 2

  • Butter in liquid state is more easy to mix and get an homogeneous batter.
  • Given enough effort, creamed butter does the same thing.

By effort, I mean making sure not to overlook tiny lumps of heterogeneous batter; otherwise the texture will be different. Also, if you are mixing the eggs with some lukewarm butter, it may be a health concern if you don't use the batter right away.

If you had a crumbly cookie-like texture, then my first thought is that the ratio was not correct or something was missing.

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At first read I suspect the creaming method is being used to reduce the amount of gluten in the final product, ideally resulting in more tender finished product. The flour is to be 'folded' into the fat/sugar/egg emulsion allowing it to coat the flour before the water (milk) is added. This order of operations is almost exclusively done to reduce the gluten. Now, whether that is 'good thing; or not is between you and your taste buds.

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Except that the order of operations and gluten formation minimization would be equally true with melted butter. –  SAJ14SAJ Mar 14 '13 at 11:50
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