Our Waffle Maker performance TestSelf-Mixed Recipe

Matthew Lee
Matthew Lee
Reviewer
Lap Vo
Lap Vo
Head of RTR
Tuyet Pham
Tuyet Pham
Professional Chef
Nguyen Ntk
Nguyen Ntk
Visual Specialist
Updated

The waffle that your machine produces dramatically depends on the kind of batter you use. The proportions and the ingredients can drastically affect the quality and texture. So, to best reflect the performance level of each waffle maker, we test them using three different recipes.

By comparing the scores between each recipe, you can see how well the performance of the waffle maker carries between different recipes. On a grander scale, you can also see how it fares against other models on the market.

This article is about our self-mixed recipe, designed to ascertain how the waffle maker deals with a made-from-scratch batter. The recipe is made by Tuyet Pham — our in-house chef.

Why the Test Matters

Despite the widespread availability of pre-mixed batter, many people still prefer to make their waffle batter from scratch.

It’s not just because it’s simple and cheap to make but also because self-mixing allows for greater versatility. You can change the proportions of the ingredients to suit your taste. As such, a waffle made from a self-mixed batter will always taste better than one that’s baked from an out-of-the-box batter mix.

Since this is the definitive way to make waffles for so many people, it is one of the most important parts of our performance tests. It makes up 40% of the overall performance score.

Testing Recipe

Our chefs have adapted popular waffle recipes into our own and change the proportions to suit our taste.

  • 3/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ½ teaspoons oil
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 ¼ honey
  • A pinch of salt
Self-Mixed Testing Recipe

Testing Procedure

Our testing methodology is built from the ground up. For each step that you see in this guide, there would be countless trials and errors and meetings behind them. It took us an entire month to finalize the testing structure and began testing in earnest.

Step 1: Mix the flour, baking powder, salt together to create a “dry component”; preheat the waffle maker

Step 2: Crack and separate 2 eggs, whisk the egg whites until it creates a foam

Step 3: Combine the egg whites, milk, oil, honey, and vanilla extract together to create a “liquid component”

Step 4: Combine the dry and liquid components together into a mixing bowl

Step 5: Whisk until the two components are mixed together

Step 6: Ladle the batter into the waffle maker

How Did We Find the Most Optimal Temperature and Time Settings for Our Waffle Makers?

No two waffle makers are similar to one another. Each one will have a different control system. The arrangement and strength of their heating elements will also undoubtedly differ. As such, it makes it very difficult for us to compare the performance of each model accurately.

That’s where the calibration test comes in. The primary goal of this test is to find the optimal temperature and time setting that would result in the best-quality waffle. It allows us to judge each waffle maker more fairly. It also makes it easier for us to compare them all with one another by equalizing all models to their best.

We first use the accompanying user manual to find the temperature and timing settings recommended by the manufacturer. The first batch is produced with this setting.

After our in-house chef has judged its quality, our reviewers make adjustments based on their recommendations (lowering temperature, increasing time, etc.)

We repeat this process until we have found the best settings possible based on the quality of the last waffle.

How Did We Find the Most Optimal Temperature and Time

The Calibration Process

We perform a minimum of three small tests to figure out the best cooking time for each waffle. These tests only aim to find the best cooking time for each waffle maker. Temperature is usually adjusted to around 180°F and 200°F and fixed there. For waffle makers that don’t have a browning level dial, we wait until the plates’ temperature is between this range, then pour the batter in.

Performance Test

After the calibration phase came the actual performance test. The waffle is cooked in accordance with the pre-established temperature and timing settings. Then, the products are assessed by our reviewers and chef.

Scoring Scale

A finished waffle is scored using three key metrics: coloring (35%), texture (25%), and taste (40%).

Coloring

For a waffle to be considered “visually appealing,” its coloring must be just right. It should be a perfect golden brown. The color shouldn’t look so dark that it seems burnt, but not so light that it feels like the batter hasn’t been thoroughly cooked.

We decide the waffle’s overall scoring based on the general color tone of the waffle’s crust.

In addition to the color tone, we will also consider the uniformity of the coloring. The color tone should spread evenly throughout the waffle without unusually dark or light spots. Scores are deducted accordingly based on how heavy the discolorations are.

  • Golden brown, uniform color distribution: >=9.5
  • Light or dark gold, minimal discolored spots: 8 - 9.4
  • Light or dark brown, multiple discolored spots: 7 - 7.9
  • Very light gold or very dark brown, multiple discolored spots: 5 - 6.9
  • Pale gold (undercooked) or black (charred): <=5
Bella waffle maker 8 minutes
Bella waffle maker — 8 minutes — Score: 7.5
Oster waffle maker 5 minutes
Oster waffle maker — 5 minutes — Score: 4
Cuisinart WMR-CA 2 minutes
Cuisinart WMR-CA — 2 minutes — Score: 6.5

In cases where coloring differs between the two sides of the waffle, the total score is calculated by averaging the individual score of each side. The score is then subtracted per the five-level scale above. With each degree of difference, 0.25 is taken off from the total score.

For example, let’s say we have a waffle with one side with perfect coloration (10). However, the other side was undercooked and got a 5.

We have an average score of 7.5. Then, based on the degree of difference between the two waffles being four levels, 1 point is deducted (0.25*4). Therefore, we have the total score for the waffle being 6.5.

Texture

Texture refers to the softness of the waffle. The perfect waffle should be pliant enough to melt on the tongue but not so soft that it would break apart when picked up, either. Additionally, it shouldn’t be so burnt that it becomes crumbly.

We also note the number of air bubbles present inside the waffle. They’re formed via a process called aeration. Air bubbles contribute to the waffle’s fluffiness. The more numerous and pronounced the air bubbles we observe in the waffle’s core, the better the final score.

  • Perfect (Multiple bubbles observed, perfect springiness, and interior is fully cooked): >=9.5
  • Excellent (Displaying a decent number of air bubbles, decently springy, interior is fully cooked): 8 - 9.4
  • Good (Good number of bubbles, springy but may not fully come back to original shape, interior is fully cooked): 7 - 7.9
  • Mediocre (Small number of bubbles, springiness is minimal): 5 - 6.9
  • Bad (Little to no bubbles observed, does not return to original shape at all after compression, inside is undercooked and runny): <=5

Taste

Palettes can differ vastly from one person to another. Some people prefer their waffles to be soft, fluffy, and sweet, while others like them dark, crispy, and bitter.

Because the test is such a subjective factor, we rely on interviews. When a test batch is cooked up, we deliver them to our in-house chefs for tasting and grading. Using a 0-10 scale, they will grade the waffles based on the overall quality.

Directly overseeing the taste-testing process will be our chef, Tuyet Pham.

Self-Mixed Taste

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