This is the recipe my family has always used. It's adapted, my aunt tells me, from the original 1896 Fannie Farmer recipe. It yields a lacy, buttery, high-rise waffle that's not too sweet. My waffle iron is the Belgian style, with deep, large pockets, but this would work well on a smaller waffle iron as well, probably with double the yield.
Makes about a dozen Belgian waffles
3 1/2 teaspoons yeast
2/3 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk (1 percent, 2 percent or whole)
1 1/2 cups seltzer
3/4 cup melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 cups flour
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast with the warm water, and let stand for 5 minutes. Once the yeast has proofed (fine-bubbled foam appears on the surface after 5 to 10 minutes, "proving" the yeast is alive; if the mixture just sits, the yeast needs to be replaced), add the lukewarm milk, seltzer, melted butter, salt and sugar.
Beat in 3 cups of flour with a whisk. Cover. Let stand at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours, until spongy. (I've found that if you let it stand too long, it can overproof, losing some rise and souring a bit. You can chill it to retard the rising.)
Preheat the waffle iron. While the iron's heating, beat the eggs with the baking soda, then stir them into the risen batter. Cook the waffles in the iron. If the batter starts to push the iron lid up, hold it down by the handle for a more thorough rise. The waffles are generally done when the steam has completely subsided. If the batter starts to lose some of its leavening power as it waits for the batches of waffles to complete, you can whisk a pinch more baking soda into each portion of batter before you add it to the iron.
If you can't serve them immediately, you can hold the waffles on a rack in an oven preheated to 150 degrees for about an hour.
Orange Whipped Cream
1 cup cold heavy cream, straight out of the fridge
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
Grated zest of 1 orange
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the cream on low-medium speed until it begins to thicken. Add the sugar and orange extract and beat to soft peaks, then fold in the orange zest. Serve with the waffles and warm maple syrup.