The 10 Best Waffle Makers
10. Chef's Choice WafflePro Express
9. Krups GQ502D
8. Oster DuraCeramic
7. Cuisinart WAF-F20
6. Hamilton Beach 26030
5. Presto FlipSide
4. Black & Decker WMB500
3. Gourmia GWM420
2. Oster CKSTWF2000
1. All-Clad Classic Round
The Magic Behind The Waffle Maker
The waffle maker is an extremely efficient kitchen appliance that allows you to make your favorite tasty griddle cakes in a matter of minutes. Without one, it would be nearly impossible to replicate this popular morning treat. In fact, if trying to make waffles on a traditional flat griddle or pan, you would end up with something more akin to a pancake, just with a slightly different flavor.
Waffle makers cook waffles in two ways, simultaneously. The heated plates fry the exterior, while the closed container steams the interior. This is why they are able to create waffles that are crispy on the outside, yet light and fluffy on the inside. The teeth and gaps on the surface of a waffle maker's cooking plates are essential, as they increase the surface area of the waffle thus caramelizing a larger portion of the batter by way of the Maillard reaction. The combination of the crispy exterior and textured pattern of a waffle are what allows it to support the variety of toppings so many of us love to heap on top of them. After all, what is a waffle without some berries and whip cream on top?
Not only do waffle makers allow us to create a unique kind of griddle cake, but they also make it easy and convenient, due to the internal thermostat. This thermostat provides two services: it tells us when it is time to put the batter in, and also when it is time to take the cooked waffle out. Most makers will have an indicator light that turns off once the griddle plates are heated up enough to start cooking a waffle. When the waffle is finished, most will make an audible tone of some sort to alert the user that it is time to remove it.
Despite what many people think, cleaning a waffle maker isn't actually that onerous. They are a few simple tricks to it. One method is to pour a small amount of water onto the griddle plate while it is still hot. Quickly close the lid, wait a few seconds, and then flip the griddles. The steam created will remove any stuck on waffle batter, and then you can just wipe it off with a soft-bristled brush. Another option is to use a heat-resistant, soft-bristled brush that is slightly damp and use it to wipe at the baked on batter while the maker is still hot. As with the first method, this second method also relies on steam.
How Do I Know Which Waffle Maker Is for Me?
The first step in choosing a waffle maker is determining if you are a square waffle person or a round waffle person. While it might not make much difference to the average consumer, those of us who take our waffles seriously have a sure preference and just won't be satisfied with the wrong shape.
Now that you have that out of the way, consider how many people you will be making waffles for at any given time. If you just plan on cooking for yourself, then a machine that produces one waffle at a time will be fine. On the other hand, if you plan on making that special someone waffles on Sunday morning and want to eat together, or if you are cooking for your entire family, then a machine capable of making multiple waffles simultaneously is a must.
Next you will need to determine if you prefer a more traditional maker or one that flips. Flip waffle makers are nice because they make it easier to evenly spread the batter, resulting in professional looking waffles that are perfectly uniform. They also allow you to get a thicker waffle with less batter. Oftentimes, to get a perfectly browned, consistently thick waffle with non-flipping models, you will have to use a little bit of extra batter, which results in it spilling over and dripping down the sides of the machine, making a mess. Of course this doesn't mean that you can't get a perfect waffle with a traditional model, it may just take a little more practice to get the hang of it.
After you have purchased your waffle maker comes the most important step; pulling it out and actually using it. All too often, people go out and buy a waffle maker, but then never actually use it. They just hide it away in some kitchen cabinet where it sits and collects dust. Don't be that person. You never know what kind of inspiration will hit you when cooking your waffles. In fact, Bill Bowerman, the co-founder of Nike, was first inspired to make the company's legendary waffle trainer sole when cooking waffles on a waffle maker.
A Very Short History of the Waffle Maker
Did you know that waffle making has been around for a really long time? We're talking pre-Jesus here folks. The precursor to the modern waffle first appeared in the Neolithic era sometime between 6,000 and 2,000 B.C.E. The name waffle comes from the French word gaufre, (waffle), and the root for that is the old French word wafla, which means "piece of a beehive."
The granddaddy of the waffle was a wafer, served at fancy dinners as a table filler once the meal had been finished and cleared during the late Medieval period. The great-granddaddy was a griddlecake made on a hot rock around a fire long before that.
The first waffle plates were made of cast iron and people flipped them using a pair of long tongs. Making waffles used to be a laborious process which took careful planning and lot of flipping to get them just right, otherwise they either burned or were undercooked. Luckily, the modern waffle make made this a thing of the past and now they are so easy a child can make them.
The first stove-top waffle iron was patented in America by Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York in 1869. It was made of cast iron, and fairly cumbersome, but compared to the hundreds of years previously mentioned above, it finally allowed one to flip a waffle easily.
The first electric waffle iron was patented in 1926 by Charles M. Cole, who lived in Oakland, California and probably cared very, very much about his family; it allowed for two waffles to be cooked at the same time. Whether we have finally reached the pinnacle of waffle making technology has yet to be seen, but whatever the end result is, it will certainly be tasty.