The ONLY Way To Grease Your Waffle Iron

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My youngest loves waffles by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating copyright 2014Our old waffle iron succumbed late last year after a brief but fatal encounter with our younger son during one of his routine incursions into the lower kitchen cabinets. I'm still not sure exactly what transpired down in that dark and shamefully dusty cabinet but the result was a sadly mangled and completely inoperable waffle iron. Here he is, my little waffle-powered explorer/destructor.

Life being the crazy show that it is with two young kids, it took me a couple five months to replace it. You see, it turned out to be much more complicated than I'd expected...

Should we go with one of the Belgian waffle makers that have become so ubiquitous of late or stick with the shallower 'Merican kind we'd had for so many years? What kinds of bells and whistles (seriously, waffle makers make loads of crazy sounds nowadays!) did we want? What brands were best? A few friends loved their Warings but could we (hopefully) be happy with something less expensive?

And, most importantly, was there any way to find a waffle iron without non-stick coating? 

Ham and cheddar waffles with fresh rosemary by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2012

I recycled all our non-stick pans years ago since I am skeptical about the safety of plastics in any food prep that involves either heat or long-term storage. And the non-stick coating on our dearly departed waffle iron had given up the ghost years before it fell prey to the enthusiastic grappling of our 16-month-old son. The teflon coating was badly scratched and chipped as the result of our habit of buttering the plates with a metal knife before pouring the batter in.

But I discovered that no one makes non-non-stick waffle irons anymore unless you want to get a cast iron one that you heat on the stove like a griddle and I knew I'd never use that. You can buy a used electric one on ebay from the 1940s -- back before Sunbeam and GE and the like had embraced the evil concept of planned obsolescence -- they still work!!!
Sunbeam W2A waffle iron
There's definitely something appealing about an appliance that was made in the 40's and is still going strong so I bid on one but did not win it. In the end, I was not too sorry since they looked enormous and we've got limited counter space.

In the end, I chose this extremely simple, Cuisinart waffle iron for $30. It's a lot like the one we had before, including the non-stick coating I'd hoped to avoid :(

BUT THEN I CAME UP WITH A GREAT NON-STICK-SAFE WAY TO GREASE IT!!!

In a moment of inspiration during our maiden voyage with the new iron, I grabbed the silicone basting brush out of the drawer, dipped it in the butter (we leave ours out so it was pretty soft) and gave the plates a quick once-over. Thanks to its many bristles, it covered every nook and cranny with fat in a moment and I didn't even have to dip back into the butter dish before greasing the other plate.

Using a silicon basting brush to grease the waffle iron by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating copyright 2014

Not only will it not harm the non-stick coating, it's also the perfect tool for this task -- so much more effective than a knife, fork or paper towel could possibly be. And I just threw it in the dishwasher when I was through. Just the kind of clean up I like :)

Oxo good grips silicone basting brush goes right in the dishwasher by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating copyright 2014

I used a fraction of the butter I'd have used with any other implement and although I'm not exactly happy about the teflon coating, at least I've figured out how to keep it where it belongs.

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4 comments:

Mia Pena said...

HI I broke my parents waffle iron today because I used cooking spray on it and it was nonstick so, yeah.....
As a punishment my parents are making me write a paper on why non-stick waffle irons were not meant to be sprayed with cooking spray or buttered because some chemical reaction mumbo jumbo. All in all if you do do that it won't be non-stick any more. So here I am researching articles about WAFFLE IRONS FOR PETES SAKE because this is what my life has become and I come across your article that says it's ok to put butter on them?! They are also making me buy a new one. So if buttering does work then maybe I won't have to please respond.

Eve Fox said...

Hi Mia,
first of all, good luck. Second of all, I'm not an expert but I do not see why you could not use any kind of spray or butter on a nonstick waffle iron. The only thing you can't do to one is touch it with metal as that destroys the non-stick coating which is why I like to use the silicon brush to do it - seems to work just fine and has had no ill effects on our waffle iron. Best of luck!!!

john said...

I like the brush idea, do you Olive oil would be better than butter. I wonder how butter does at high temperatures.

Anonymous said...

Have you considered buying a ceramic waffle maker? Non-stick ceramic waffle makers are available with no teflon and are PTFE and PFOA free.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The ONLY Way To Grease Your Waffle Iron

My youngest loves waffles by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating copyright 2014Our old waffle iron succumbed late last year after a brief but fatal encounter with our younger son during one of his routine incursions into the lower kitchen cabinets. I'm still not sure exactly what transpired down in that dark and shamefully dusty cabinet but the result was a sadly mangled and completely inoperable waffle iron. Here he is, my little waffle-powered explorer/destructor.

Life being the crazy show that it is with two young kids, it took me a couple five months to replace it. You see, it turned out to be much more complicated than I'd expected...

Should we go with one of the Belgian waffle makers that have become so ubiquitous of late or stick with the shallower 'Merican kind we'd had for so many years? What kinds of bells and whistles (seriously, waffle makers make loads of crazy sounds nowadays!) did we want? What brands were best? A few friends loved their Warings but could we (hopefully) be happy with something less expensive?

And, most importantly, was there any way to find a waffle iron without non-stick coating? 

Ham and cheddar waffles with fresh rosemary by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2012

I recycled all our non-stick pans years ago since I am skeptical about the safety of plastics in any food prep that involves either heat or long-term storage. And the non-stick coating on our dearly departed waffle iron had given up the ghost years before it fell prey to the enthusiastic grappling of our 16-month-old son. The teflon coating was badly scratched and chipped as the result of our habit of buttering the plates with a metal knife before pouring the batter in.

But I discovered that no one makes non-non-stick waffle irons anymore unless you want to get a cast iron one that you heat on the stove like a griddle and I knew I'd never use that. You can buy a used electric one on ebay from the 1940s -- back before Sunbeam and GE and the like had embraced the evil concept of planned obsolescence -- they still work!!!
Sunbeam W2A waffle iron
There's definitely something appealing about an appliance that was made in the 40's and is still going strong so I bid on one but did not win it. In the end, I was not too sorry since they looked enormous and we've got limited counter space.

In the end, I chose this extremely simple, Cuisinart waffle iron for $30. It's a lot like the one we had before, including the non-stick coating I'd hoped to avoid :(

BUT THEN I CAME UP WITH A GREAT NON-STICK-SAFE WAY TO GREASE IT!!!

In a moment of inspiration during our maiden voyage with the new iron, I grabbed the silicone basting brush out of the drawer, dipped it in the butter (we leave ours out so it was pretty soft) and gave the plates a quick once-over. Thanks to its many bristles, it covered every nook and cranny with fat in a moment and I didn't even have to dip back into the butter dish before greasing the other plate.

Using a silicon basting brush to grease the waffle iron by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating copyright 2014

Not only will it not harm the non-stick coating, it's also the perfect tool for this task -- so much more effective than a knife, fork or paper towel could possibly be. And I just threw it in the dishwasher when I was through. Just the kind of clean up I like :)

Oxo good grips silicone basting brush goes right in the dishwasher by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating copyright 2014

I used a fraction of the butter I'd have used with any other implement and although I'm not exactly happy about the teflon coating, at least I've figured out how to keep it where it belongs.

You might also like:

4 comments:

Mia Pena said...

HI I broke my parents waffle iron today because I used cooking spray on it and it was nonstick so, yeah.....
As a punishment my parents are making me write a paper on why non-stick waffle irons were not meant to be sprayed with cooking spray or buttered because some chemical reaction mumbo jumbo. All in all if you do do that it won't be non-stick any more. So here I am researching articles about WAFFLE IRONS FOR PETES SAKE because this is what my life has become and I come across your article that says it's ok to put butter on them?! They are also making me buy a new one. So if buttering does work then maybe I won't have to please respond.

Eve Fox said...

Hi Mia,
first of all, good luck. Second of all, I'm not an expert but I do not see why you could not use any kind of spray or butter on a nonstick waffle iron. The only thing you can't do to one is touch it with metal as that destroys the non-stick coating which is why I like to use the silicon brush to do it - seems to work just fine and has had no ill effects on our waffle iron. Best of luck!!!

john said...

I like the brush idea, do you Olive oil would be better than butter. I wonder how butter does at high temperatures.

Anonymous said...

Have you considered buying a ceramic waffle maker? Non-stick ceramic waffle makers are available with no teflon and are PTFE and PFOA free.