Makes 9 wafels
These Belgian-style yeasted wafels, a delicious breakfast or sweet snack, became a guest favorite at our Ferry Building Cafe and remain beloved today. They are tender and fluffy inside, with a crisp, sweet outer crust that makes syrup unnecessary.
Bloom the yeast in a small bowl with the lukewarm water for 5 minutes. It should begin to foam.
Melt the butter in your microwave or over a pilot light or very low heat, stirring as it starts to melt. You are aiming for the consistency of pudding, soft enough to stir with a whisk or spatula; it should not be liquid or contain solid pieces. If it melts to a liquid state, cool it, stirring occasionally, until it is opaque again.
Sift the flours, granulated sugar, and salt into a large bowl.
Crack the eggs into a medium bowl. Add the vanilla extract, or split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the eggs. Whisk vigorously to blend eggs and break up any clumps of vanilla.
Add the eggs, butter, and yeast mixture to the flour mixture all at once. Whisk until fairly smooth, but do not overmix.
Cover batter and let rest at room temperature until doubled in size. This will take 1-2 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen. You may also refrigerate the batter overnight for a slower rise.
Gently fold the pearl sugar into the dough. Let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Preheat a waffle maker (Belgian style if available) to medium-high heat.
Scoop ½ cup to ¾ cup batter into the waffle maker (start with the smaller amount and increase as needed) and sprinkle a bit of additional pearl sugar on top for extra crispness. Cook until browned and crisp. Serve immediately, and then cook the remaining wafels until you run out of batter. We don’t recommend syrup with these, but a tart jam is lovely!