In the first Basic Chaffle Tips, I discussed the use of the Heat-Up Cycle for timing the cooking of chaffles, and the importance of letting the chaffles cool on a wire rack to prevent sogginess. In Part II, I will discuss accurate measurement of ingredients, and how minor differences in cheese can affect the final product.
Calibrating Your Chaffle Accuracy
Two simple tools for accurately reproducing results are a digital kitchen scale, and a graduated measuring cup. By using these, you can recreate the same recipe over and over, even if using different brands of the same ingredient that may look or feel different. Eventually, after making the same recipe over and over enough times, you’ll be able to use your calibrated eyeball to put in just the right amount of ingredients each time.
The importance of the kitchen scale can not be emphasized enough, an important lesson I learned when making dough balls before my low-carb days. The kitchen scale plays an important role in the second half of this article, because when using ingredients of different densities, it may appear that you have the same amount by volume, but it may be completely different. I also briefly touched on this in the Extra Cheesy Chaffle Bun recipe, that grated parmesan cheese and powdered “parmesan” cheese will have a significantly different volume for the same amount by weight (1 tbsp powdered vs 1/4 cup finely grated, both come out to 8g by weight).
So many factors go into the density of an ingredient, that it can vary drastically between different brands, or just between how the ingredient gets processed before use. This means that using a measuring cup alone may not be accurate enough, but by weighing the ingredients, we know we are adding the exact right amount every time. In some recipes, this is not very critical to success, but in others, it can lead to an absolute failure.
The second part of accuracy is the volume (I know I just said volume isn’t all that reliable, but hear me out). I always mix my main batter in a graduated Pyrex measuring cup, because experience has taught me that when using dash mini’s to cook chaffles, 1/2 cup on the Pyrex cup will yield about 2 chaffles (depending on how much the batter expands). This gives us a rough rule of thumb of 1/4 cup per dash mini chaffle. With lighter batters that whip easily, or batters with many ingredients, I will often find the batter level at 3/4 cup, meaning a yield of about 3 chaffles (sometimes 4 thanks to expansion).
By using a scale and a graduated measuring cup, you can accurately make your batter by weight, then quickly assess how much to pour onto the waffle iron based on the volume. I don’t use a scale every time I make a chaffle, but it is critical if you want to create results that can be reproduced.
The Greatest Grating
In this part of the article, I will discuss how variations of the same ingredient can affect the finished chaffle. In this example, we have three sets of chaffles made with the plain old chaffle recipe of 1 egg and some mozzarella cheese. In the image above, we have from left to right, pre-shredded low moisture mozzarella, finely shredded block mozzarella, and food processor chopped block mozzarella. In all three, 50g of cheese was used, and the chaffles were cooked for 2 heat-up cycles.
First up, the low moisture, part skim, pre-shredded mozzarella cheese. This is the fastest and easiest method for making a chaffle, but is it the best? Well that depends on what you’re looking for. Of the three, this one came out the crispiest, and had the largest “crumb,” the most “roll-like” of these chaffles. There was noticeable cheese flavor of the mozzarella.
Next up is the finely grated mozzarella off the block. This style of mozzarella is most often called “deli” mozzarella, because it’s not quite fresh mozzarella (comes usually in ball shape in a liquid), and it’s not quite the low-moisture variety we find in the pre-shredded selection. The advantages of this are that it has no anti-caking agents in it, it’s whole milk instead of part-skim mozzarella, and you can finely control how you use it (as we will see here).
Finely grated, it appears to take up a lot of space, but once stirred in, it came in just under a half cup (less than the pre-shredded cheese). Grating 50g of this cheese this fine took a long time, and was certainly the most effort of the 3 options tested. Also, since this deli mozzarella has a higher moisture content than the pre-shredded cheese, a lot more steam was produced, which caused significantly more expansion.
Despite the increase in expansion, this finely grated mozzarella had the smallest crumb of the three, and a delicate looking texture. I would also describe the taste and texture as quite eggy. The outside was crispy, but not as crispy as the first.
Finally, we have the food-processed block of deli mozzarella. For this, I cut 50g off the block and broke it into chunks. I put the chunks into a food processor and pulsed it until I had small chunks (like riced cauliflower).
This was then incorporated into the egg, although you could easily just toss the egg into the food processor at this point as well. For a single serving of chaffles, this is probably the most time consuming, considering preparation and cleanup, but if you are making a larger batch, this is a very efficient choice. But how does it compare?
This was a pretty good compromise between the pre-shredded and finely grated chaffles, it had a large crumb and a lot of expansion, thanks to all the extra moisture. This was also the chewiest of the three, and didn’t have much egg or cheese taste.
Final verdict: for the least effort, or for the crispiest results, use pre-shredded low moisture mozzarella. For a chewier, delightful texture, or if you are planning on making more than a single serving, the food processor deli mozzarella is the way to go. If you don’t have any pre-shredded cheese, but do have a block of deli mozzarella, skip the fine grater, and just use the coarse grater.
Soft cheeses like mozzarella don’t grate well, and the results of the fine grating were not really worth the effort. I would say it would make a pretty good sweet chaffle recipe, with its cake-like crumb, but I’ve found ricotta to be a much easier and quicker method. The only exception where I would recommend finely grated mozzarella, would be if you are making a sweet chaffle and need it to be a little bit firmer without adding any stiffening agents.