What a great way to start the day with a waffle-filled plate and various delicious toppings. Unfortunately, waffles taste best when they are served fresh from the iron. Storing them for some time could result in degradation of taste, texture, and aroma. It is due to this reason that you need a waffle maker to prepare fresh waffles to jumpstart your energy levels every morning. It should be noted however that there are different types of waffles with their respective waffle makers.
Although you can still prepare a Belgian waffle in an American waffle iron, the problem is that it will lack its signature thick size with deep pockets. This is because American waffle irons have shallow grids that produce thinner waffles. Therefore, you need to select the type of waffles you enjoy most before you can decide which waffle maker to purchase. Here is a buying guide for the best American waffle makers.
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Types of waffle makers
Waffle makers are categorized based on how many waffles they make at a time. They include:
* Single waffle makers have a top and bottom grid that integrate to cook one waffle at a time. They have the lowest output.
* Double waffle makers have two different configurations that work independently of each other to produce two waffles at a time. This means that you can cook two different waffles at the same time, due to independent temperature settings.
* Stacked double waffle makers have two irons stacked together one over the other. Once the batter is filled in the top iron, the bottom iron is flipped above to allow filling. Both irons use the same temperature control.
* Special waffle makers produce special types of waffles. A good example of these type of waffle makers are churro waffle makers, which produce churros only. There are also waffle cone makers that produce very thin waffles that are wrapped into ice cream cones.
* Multi-purpose waffle makers work primarily as waffle makers. They can also be used to cook other delicacies, such as pocket sandwiches, cinnamon rolls, eggs, and bacon. Waffle makers with removable plates also come with pancake makers and flat grills.
How many waffles can it make at a time?
Evaluate the number of people you will be making the waffles for, before deciding which type of waffle maker will suit your household needs. Waffle makers cook between one and four waffles in one instance. If you are by yourself, you can go for a unit that produces one waffle. If your household comprises several members, then go for the four waffle maker. It is advisable however to always go for the one that makes more waffles.
You can always store the extra waffles in the refrigerator for those busy weeks when you have no time to prepare the batter and cook waffles in the morning. We have to warn you in advance though; the stored waffles will not be as tasty as the freshly cooked ones. An easier way of knowing the cooking capacity of the waffle maker is checking out its “waffles per hour” listing. For instance, single waffle makers have an output of 20 – 35 waffles per hour, while double waffle makers can produce 40 – 60 waffles per hour.
Are there waffle makers that are easy to clean?
You have probably experienced the painful process of cleaning a waffle maker. The sticky mess of batter is hard to get to when it is splattered below the grates. The good news is that there are waffle makers that are actually easy to clean and you should definitely check them out. Some have removable plates that are dishwasher safe.
Alternatively, you may opt for the nonstick waffle makers, as they are the easiest to manage. They are very convenient because they use considerably less amount of oil and their nonstick surfaces allow waffles to come out full and unbroken. Care must be taken however not to scratch the nonstick surface, as this would expose the metallic surface, which will result in burnt spots on the waffles. Therefore, always use plastic tongs and not metallic ones to safeguard the nonstick surface. Another factor to consider is whether the waffle iron has channels or mechanisms that prevent overflows and spillages.
How fast does the waffle iron cook?
You also need to consider the cooking time of the waffle maker. You do not need a unit that will keep you waiting for long in the morning when you have to get to work. On average, the typical waffle maker takes about 5 minutes to prepare a waffle. Therefore, any unit offering a lower cook time than this is obviously ideal. Another equally important factor is the reheating time between batches. Premium models offer continuous cooking, while others have to undergo some reheating period before they can cook the next batches. If you go for the reheating types, then ensure the wait time is less to avoid inconveniences.
How do I know if the waffle maker is ready to cook?
Most waffle makers use lights and sound to indicate: when the plates are ready for batter; the waffles are cooked; and when they are preheated and ready for the next batch. A sound indicator is however more convenient, as it allows you to do other chores when the waffle is cooking. A light indicator requires you to be there to prevent the waffle from being burnt to a crisp.
Others have a digital display with a timer that counts down till the waffles are ready. If these types of waffle makers are above your budget and you opt for a cheaper one with no indicators, then monitor its steam output. When you see no steam, then the waffle is almost ready.
Does it have a heat control feature?
You need a unit with a heat control function to allow you to have a say in the finished product. A crispier waffle? No problem just set it to high temperature. With a heat controller, you will be at liberty to create whichever type of waffle you want. The controller should be easy to read and understand. For instance, you do not need a heat controller with a Celsius reading when you only know the Fahrenheit temperature.