But then I tried to use it. This waffle maker was a different shape and a smaller area, so I set the timer a bit shorter.
Not short enough.
Have you ever cleaned a waffle iron with burned on batter on both sides? Ugh.
Twenty or so minutes later, I set the waffle iron outside to dry properly. I have a sneaking (and mostly illogical) fear I might have shorted out our other waffle maker by trying to clean it, and I didn't want any water at all in the electrical areas for the next try.
Our vegetarian au pair, Filip, was keen to do the next waffle. He made lots of waffles back in Germany, and I hoped he could work some magic.
Sadly, he also faced a long cleanup job. But he reported crucial data - the waffle was already getting too brown on the outside while still drippy in the middle.
Did I get just what I paid for? Was this a defective waffle maker? Maybe it could only cook non-vegan waffles?
We'd both had enough experimenting for one day, and the (again painstakingly clean) waffle maker went to hide in the cupboard. I was tempted to give up and buy a new waffle maker that understood me.
Before giving up, I did some research, starting from the brand on this sturdy old waffle maker - Ralta. From there, I learned a lot about waffles.
Our other waffle maker was Scandinavian style (heart-shaped with diamond spacers).
Our new one is Belgian style (square with squares). (pic)
You can also have American waffles (circle with squares).
Belgian waffles need a doughier batter with extra rising ingredients, not the drippy one I used before to cover and fill the large heart-shaped area of the Scandinavian style. There's no time for that water to cook out.
The Belgian recipes looked more involved and I feared I might be choosing between no waffles or complicated nonvegan waffles. But I found my dream recipe for 100% Wholewheat Vegan Belgian Waffles. Instead of yeast and eggs, I can use baking powder and vinegar to make the waffle rise in the 3-4 minute cooking time the Belgian waffle needs.
For true Belgian waffles, you can't cheat like this because it changes the taste, but luckily I don't care. I just want vegan waffles from my free waffle maker!
Then, and only then, Try Again
Just like magic, in about 3 minutes the thick batter slid gently off the waffle maker onto the serving plate as golden brown waffles.
My next challenge is to learn to make perfect pancakes on my cast-iron skillet so I don't need a waffle iron.