Smart Waffle, Sage by Heston Blumenthal

Toasted Coconut Blueberry Waffles by Sage Smart Waffle

What is it?

An upmarket take on the waffle iron by high-end appliance company Sage by Heston Blumenthal.  It’s the waffle iron used at home by Duck & Waffle Head Chef Dan Doherty and brunch hero @symmetrybreakfast – if it’s good enough for them, then it’s good enough for me.

How much?

£169.95, from Sage

What do they say?

The Waffle Maker That Knows the Correct Cooking Time

Good waffle batters start with sticky ingredients. How do you make crispy golden waffles without the mess ?

The wide wrap around moat catches and cooks overflow for easy cleanup.

With Waffle IQ™, the cooking time is automatically calculated to suit your waffle style and colour.

Simply select  Belgian, Classic, Chocolate or Buttermilk, your preferred colour from light to dark and pour in the batter mix – the waffle maker will do the rest.

There is also a custom setting which allows you to set your own waffle style

What’s in the box?

1 x Waffle iron. 1 x Batter-measuring cup. 1 x Recipe card. 1 x Leaflet explaining the science behind waffle-making and the theory behind the design nuances – This is Heston after all.

Cinnamon Bun Waffles by Sage Smart Waffle
Cinnamon Bun Waffles

Hands-on

The first thing you’ll notice is the build quality: reassuringly big and heavy, but sleek enough that you won’t begrudge it taking up room on your kitchen counter.  As I write it’s survived two weeks in our relatively small kitchen; other, smaller toys haven’t fared so well in the past.

The interface is simple – switch it on and it starts heating up.  As it does that, pick from the 4 pre-determined settings or choose your own, each with a 12-stage modifier that lets you choose how dark or light you want your waffle to turn out.  Bask in the cool blue light emanating from the backlit LED screen; feel nostalgic for high-end audio equipment with each satisfying click of the selection knob; remind yourself that this collaboration of design and engineering acumen has one purpose, to provide you with waffles.

Performance-wise, it’s pretty flawless.  You wait for it to heat up, pour the batter in, and then it gives you a countdown.  Wait for it to beep at you three times, open the lid and you’re presented with perfect waffles, every time.  I’ve made, I can’t tell you how many waffles since getting the machine, and every single one has been properly browned, deep, crispy on the outside and fluffy and doughy inside.  

The “Waffle IQ” technology might sound self-aggrandising, but it actually works.  When I made waffles from chilled, pre-prepared batter I noticed that the countdown was a couple of minutes longer than when using fresh batter – this means that the thermostat used to bring the heating plates up to temperature can also feedback the temperature of the batter and adjust the cooking time.  

There’s a moat around the actual griddle plates to catch any spill-over and cook it rather than letting excess batter spill over and blemish the exterior design or your kitchen surfaces.  You’d have to play pretty fast and loose with the instruction for this ever to come into play though; I’ve cooked all sorts of creations and never spilt a drop.  

One thing that isn’t mentioned in the product description is probably my favourite feature and the real MVP – a floating hinged lid.  Not all heroes wear capes, and this modest little addition is what lets the griddles accommodate things other than batter – I’ve enjoyed glory waffling grilled cheese, ciabatta and cinnamon bun dough, and discovered that Krispy Kreme donuts are exponentially better when compressed, toasted and imprinted with a grid.

Krispy Kreme Donut Waffles
Waffled Krispy Kreme Donuts – The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast

I was speaking to somebody on Twitter who said that he would have to convince the family that one of these would be a sensible purchase – if you’re in this position then save your energy and just buy one, the waffles will do all of the convincing for you.  I’ve tinkered with several Waffle irons over the years, and the others don’t come close to this.

The Downsides?

Size – The luxury of cooking two huge waffles at a time comes at a price, it’s a big lad.

Price – There’s no denying it’s a well-designed, well-constructed bit of kit, but the £170 price tag means this one for home-cooks who are serious about their waffles, or maybe small professional kitchens.

Cleaning – If you put it through its paces cooking cheese pastries and glazed donuts like I have, it can be tricky to get the plate sparkling again, for regular waffle use though it’s pretty much self-cleaning.

Kitchen, Cupboard or Bin?

You’ll want this on hand on the kitchen counter, just in case of emergency.  You’ll be surprised how many waffle-emergencies become apparent when you’ve got one of these.

Use it to make

Toasted Coconut Blueberry Waffles

Toasted Coconut & Blueberry Waffles (Recipe coming soon, check out my other Waffle recipes in the mean time though)

 

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