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I've been making gluten free pancakes for some time (with varied, but usually good, success) and want to try my hand with waffles as I recently bought a waffle iron.

I intend to use a slightly modified version of my pancake recipe as most recipes online seem to be close to that. I intend to modify the recipe from my post above to this:

  • 250ml semi-skimmed milk (green top for those in the UK)
  • 250g gluten-free flour (measured with scales)
  • 3 fresh medium eggs (bought the day before, stored in fridge, 'medium' here is actually kinda small, hence the larger number)
  • 1/2 tbl spoon of vanilla essence, aka a 'splash' (the more the better, I've found!)
  • 2tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 50g melted unsalted butter

I reason like this:

My pancake mix, while not watery, does not look like it would sit well in the waffle iron, so I'm thickening it with a more even milk/flour ratio. I'm not including the bicarbonate of soda or salt, etc, because my understanding is that those are there to react with elements which gluten free flour does not possess (in any effective quantity.)

(I am somewhat ignorant of the reactive process involved with bicarbonate of sofa, but tbh the only effect it's had in my gluten free cooking is to give a weird, unpleasant taste.)

I will probably whip the egg whites into stiff peaks, but tbh I would prefer to just make the thick version of pancake batter and pour that onto the waffle iron.

Should I include the egg white whipping and bicarbonate, etc, to achieve edible/tasty/actual waffles?

Am I misunderstanding the recipe of waffles to be essentially the same as pancake batter when it is, in fact, something else?

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You misunderstand the purpose of salt and baking soda/baking powder. Your waffles will likely not be great if made from your suggested recipe.

  • Salt is there as flavor. Virtually all recipes for baked goods (which broadly includes pancakes and waffles) include salt, and will taste bland without it.
  • Baking powder is there to leaven the waffles. It does not significantly react with gluten (what?), but with acidic ingredients. (It's unusual to see baking soda in a recipe without something like lemon juice or molasses or cream of tartar, but golden syrup is mildly acidic, so perhaps that's the idea behind that recipe.) If there's no chemical leavening, whipped egg whites are crucial.

Pancake batter and waffle batter are closely related, but differ in certain key aspects.

  • Waffles will steam without browning until they throw off a certain amount of moisture and so they need a lower hydration or they'll end up leathery. (You've guessed about the lower hydration already, but that's not just a matter of adjusting the flour-to-milk ratio.)
  • Waffles need to leaven significantly more than pancakes. The lower hydration helps with this, as do the whipped egg whites.
  • Waffles need to crisp up, so waffle batter generally has a higher fat content than pancake batter.

It sounds like you're something of a novice baker, and so I'd advise you to start with a readily available gluten-free waffle recipe and then tweak from there, rather than to try and rework a pancake recipe into a waffle recipe.

  • Thank you. Yes, I completely am. I can make tres leches. That's as advanced as I've gotten so far. You say readily available, so I found this (recipe ridiculously far down the page): glutenfreepalate.com/gluten-free-waffle-mix-recipe but it also needs this: tinyurl.com/yyr586vn - which is the frustrating thing about gf baking; all the extras. – Matt W Sep 19 at 9:58
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    Any baking powder will do. And baking powder is not specific to gluten-free baking. – Sneftel Sep 19 at 10:02
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    My advice: Go to the website of whatever gluten-free flour brand you use, and use the waffle recipe they list there. If you don't find one there, look for recipes elsewhere that specifically mention your brand. That's one significant difference with gluten-free baking: the flour varies a great deal more, so recipes are more specific to the brand. – Sneftel Sep 19 at 10:03
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    Yeah, the key to that recipe is that it calls for self raising flour. If you have non-self-raising flour, you can add baking powder, but for GF it might be easiest to get their GF self raising flour (particularly if you're doing pancakes and waffles, rather than loaves of bread). Also note that that recipe calls for regular (salted) butter, so if you use unsalted make sure to add a couple of pinches of salt. – Sneftel Sep 19 at 11:56
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    Not only do they need to rise, they need to push. The leavening power needs to be great enough to keep the waffle pressed against the top cooking surface until the waffle is crisp enough to hold its shape. That's a tricky cooperation between leavening, egg, and oil, and it's more difficult to get right with GF flour than it is with regular flour. – Sneftel Sep 19 at 12:56

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