Here I will cover some of the more basic tips I’ve come across or discovered that improve the efficiency of making chaffles, as well as the resulting end product.
Cooking Time – The Heat-Up Cycle
This subject has an enormous variety of units of measurement, or how to time your chaffle. Some recipes will tell you to cook your chaffle for a fixed amount of time, until the light on the iron goes off, or until steam stops coming out. All of these options are going to cause different results based on the model of waffle iron and how much batter is used. However, most waffle irons have something in common: they operate on a fixed thermostat that turns the heating elements on and off at certain temperatures.
This thermostat often makes an audible click when it cycles, so even if your waffle iron has no indicator light (or the light doesn’t work), you can still keep track of when the heating elements turn on and off by the loud click that it makes. So this means sources that say the waffle iron light indicates it is finished cooking are not quite accurate, the light simply means the waffle iron is heating up. In my experience, very few chaffle or waffle recipes will produce a finished product after a single heating cycle.
This brings us to “The Heat-Up Cycle.” This is my preferred method of timing the waffle iron, because this will give you the most accurate results. One half of a heat-up cycle is the time it takes for the light to either go on or off. Recipes that tell you the waffle/chaffle is finished after the light goes off are basically telling you to only allow for 0.5 heat-up cycles, since pouring cold batter onto the preheated plate will immediately turn on the heating elements. Bearing this in mind, virtually all heat-up cycles are going to start with the heating elements (and light) on. This means 1 heat-up cycle is the time it takes for the light to go from on, to off, to on again (bringing us back to the start of the next cycle).
The reason this is my preferred method of timing is because it is entirely based on the amount of heat that is being transferred to the batter. You will notice that on some batters, the light turns on and off quickly, and on others, it seems to take forever, so this is not just a function of the waffle iron, but on the density and composition of the batter being heated. For softer chaffle recipes, I tend to use 1.5-2.5 heating cycles, and for crispier recipes I’ll often use 3+ heating cycles. The ingredients used will also determine a limit to the number of heating cycles. Allulose, for example, will not tolerate a long time in the waffle iron as it browns much faster than standard sugar.
Another thing to keep in mind is some waffle irons reverse the lighting, so the light may turn on when reaching temperature instead of off. It may take some experimentation with your own waffle iron, but using the heat-up cycle will work on any model, different waffle iron models may just require adding or subtracting half of a cycle.
After Cooking – The Cooling Rack
It may be tempting to throw your finished chaffle straight onto a plate and throw a burger on it, but if it sits for any length of time, you will end up with a soggy chaffle. An easy solution is to use a wire rack to allow the remaining steam to escape the bottom of the chaffle as it cools down. This holds especially true if you’re planning to store chaffles to enjoy later.
When I make buns for a burger or sandwich, I make the chaffles first, then have them on the cooling rack before I’ve even started heating up a pan or turned on the grill. This ensures enough time for the chaffle to come down to nearly room temperature and expel most of its steam, firming up the texture and preventing a soggy bun.
If you’re planning to store chaffles in the refrigerator, it is very important to make sure they are completely cooled to room temperature beforehand, because even then they will still leave a small amount of moisture underneath when cooled further in the refrigerator.