The brass spoon is made by the amazing Ann Ladson.

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In between the various degrees of educations throughout my life, formal or social, if you asked me, I’d probably say that I expected the least practical return from my continuous study in all of Disney’s animated movies around the 90’s. More specifically, the cartoons, the classics, starting somewhere with The Little Mermaid and ending abruptly with Tarzan. All the magic produced at the height of Disney’s prime according to my verdict, before digital animations barged in and all of a sudden, for no reason at all, everybody and so did the magic, literally or figuratively, all just stopped singing. Call me nostalgic, or even outdated, I rekindle with those movies from time to time, almost needfully, like talking to a childhood friend who never grew old. As far as I’m concerned, they don’t make shit like that anymore. But anyhow, my point is, as much as I treasure the purity and endurance of this relationship that has regretfully outlasted many, little did I think, that it was gonna bring me the bacon. In fact, more than bacon, a couple weeks ago, it brought me a hunk of 30-days dry-aged wagyu bone-in rib eye.


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A couple weeks ago, on an unsuspecting and otherwise uneventful night hanging out with a good friend who created The Taco Bar in Beijing, a bet was raised between us regarding our disputed knowledge on this particularly serious matter. Whoever the loser was, would have to cook dinner for the other party, implying high stakes considering we both knew it wasn’t going to be something like tossing spaghetti with Prego. Fortunately, with the same level of certainty I held even before the fallout, I’m glad to inform that, of course, I won. Years of publicly singing Part of Your World, had paid off. A week later, I watched the parade of a meticulously aged, sickly marbled chunk of bone-in rib-eye slumbering in its deep maroon-hue, into my star-struck oven who had never hosted such prestigious guest. Although well-earned (…), I have to say, that, was a good meal to remember.

However, the settling dust from that night which had left me wondering wasn’t the beefy main attraction, instead, it was a jar of frizzly waffle-batter that finished it off. The batter was a recipe that my friend was testing from Chef Steps, a video-centric blog that is sort of like “Modernist Cuisine meets home-kitchen“, which was quite different from the other more-broadcasted raised waffle recipe that I’ve seen everywhere else. Both recipes are yeasted but instead of overnight, this one is only bloomed for 2 hours, with an additional ingredient called “diastatic malt powder” that supposedly, with its active enzymes, aids fermentation, texture and flavours. But by how much though? Now this, is where it makes me want to play a bit of devils’ advocate.

Yes, I agree that Chef Step’s waffles had a delicately lacy and crispy crust, but not incomparably more than what the overnight raised waffles also create. Then in terms of the argument that the “diastatic malt powder” aids fermentation and therefore enhances flavours, which I’m sure it does, but in this particular case, I have to say that I couldn’t confidently detect the “extra maltiness” that it promises. I used the Best Waffle Maker to create this waffle and although delicious, I felt like it was missing something. In fact, if it’s “maltiness” that you want, meaning the complex… whole-grain-ish… the wheaty aroma that lingers behind a sip of good beers, then I believe I’ve got the next best cheat. Without going all “diastatic” on myself, I can simply turn to an Asian home-essential that could add that extra maltiness to, not just waffles, but all baked goods. My friends, say hello to roasted barley tea.

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Unlike actual “malts” which are germinated cereal grains that have been dried, roasted barley tea is made from raw and un-germinated barleys. But it permeates deeply of similar aromas, almost coffee-like in large ratios, but subtle and wholewheat-y in small quantity. If you’ve never brewed this type of tea at home, chances are that you’ve enjoyed it right before a meal in a Japanese or Korean restaurant, a cup of aromatic liquid that smells like a handful of wheat-grains being rubbed between your palms under the sun. How could I have missed it all these years?! To miss utilizing its “imposter maltiness” in cooking, well, until now!

Omitting the malt powder but keeping the convenience of the quick rising of this recipe, I added just a heaping tsp of powdered roasted barley to the batter for a test-run. The result was a batch of still crisply laced and airy waffles with supple interiors, but lingering behind, was the imagery of walking through a harvesting wheat-field. Not overpowering or intrusive, the aroma blends so naturally with flours that without being notified, nobody would suspect a “secret ingredient” except for thinking that… there’s something to it. In short, it makes white flour-pastries taste extra wholewheat without the grainy texture. And to think that its application goes beyond the limit of fermented recipes, I jitter at the thought of adding it to other maltiness-deprived items such as muffins, cookies, quick breads or even cakes. Ice cream? Sounds like it could use some, too.

If brewing a jar of perfectly iced and refreshing barley tea is not enough reason for you to go now and buy a bag, well now, you have no other excuses.



Right after mixing.

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After 1 hour of rising.

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After 1:30 hour of rising.



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Yield: about 8 waffles

Recipe adapted from Chef Steps


  • 1 1/2 cup (187 grams) pastry flour, or all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 tsp (4 grams) instant dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp (4 grams) roasted barley tea powder
  • 1 tsp (4 grams) sugar
  • 1/3 tsp (2 grams) salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1 grams) baking soda
  • 1 1/3 cup (332 grams) whole milk
  • 4 1/2 tbsp (62 grams) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 large eggs
  • Another 1/4 tsp (1 gram) baking soda


  1. Pulverize roasted barley tea in a spice-grinder until it resembles the consistency of finely ground spices. Keep in an air-tight container until needed.
  2. Whisk pastry flour or all-purpose flour, instant dry yeast, roasted barley tea powder, sugar, salt and baking soda in a large bowl, then set aside. Heat whole milk and unsalted butter in a pot until it reaches 115 F/46 C (or until it becomes too warm to leave your finger in for more than 5 seconds). Whisk to melt the butter thoroughly, then beat in the eggs until smooth. Add the liquid to the flour-mixture, and whisk until smoothly combined (some tiny lumps are fine). Cover the bowl with plastic-wrap and let rise for 1:30 ~ 2 hours at room-temperature, or until it has fully doubled. You can also mix the batter right before sleep, letting it rise in the fridge for 8~9 hours. The mixture should look very frizzy and bubbly.
  3. 30 min before cooking, sprinkle in the extra 1/4 tsp of baking soda and stir gently until even (there will be some loss in volume), and let sit for 30 min. Preheat your waffle maker on high, then turn down to medium-high heat (about 8 on a scale of 1~10). This batter doesn't expand like crazy, so I would fill it up to 90%. Cook for about 6 min until golden browned and crispy. They would only stay crispy for 10 min, so serve immediately.


I didn't quite understand the first 1/4 tsp of baking soda in the dry mix from the original recipe, because the warm milk will activate it and it'll loose it's leavening powder when it comes to cooking. But I leave it there anyways just because it's harmless, then I added an extra 1/4 tsp of baking soda right at the end so it can do the job that it's supposed to do.

  • Ursula @

    August 27, 2015 at 12:42 AM Reply

    They look perfect! Love yeasted waffles…

  • rebecca | DisplacedHousewife

    August 27, 2015 at 1:09 AM Reply

    How I love waffles and anything malt-y. These look delicious!!

  • Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous)

    August 27, 2015 at 1:11 AM Reply

    i love barley tea! a waffle flavored with it sounds so good, and now i’m having one of those stupid moments where i’m asking myself why i didn’t think of that.

  • Courtney | Fork to Belly

    August 27, 2015 at 1:36 AM Reply

    It’s 10AM and I can’t even handle how much this is making my tummy rumble. Look at all that crispy crunchiness!!!

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    August 27, 2015 at 2:49 AM Reply

    Those look like they melt in your mouth!! Holy smokes. So yummy.

  • John Neely

    August 27, 2015 at 3:57 AM Reply

    The baking soda moves the pH a little in the alkaline direction, which encourages browning.

  • cynthia

    August 27, 2015 at 3:59 AM Reply

    Barley tea!!!!! As always, Mandy, you are a genius. These waffles look amazing.

  • katie @ butterlust

    August 27, 2015 at 4:15 AM Reply

    Your creativity never fails to amaze me, this is such a genius recipe! And I couldn’t agree more with you on the Disney front. I think the “Sing-along” VHS tapes I owned in the early 90s got more play than the actual movies did — where did the effing music go?! ….I maaaay have done a fully-choreographed rendition of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” at a karaoke hh with my coworkers last week. [fist bump]

  • Wendy

    August 27, 2015 at 10:14 AM Reply

    My hapa husband introduced me to Barley tea years ago. He makes it by the gallon in the summer time and keeps it in the fridge. The hakujin in the house (that would be me) drank it as a coffee substitute–hot with milk–through two pregnancies, when I somehow lived without caffeine. I love the flavor of Barley tea and am inspired by your recipe. Many thanks!

  • maya

    August 28, 2015 at 6:23 AM Reply

    holy shit, i’m TOTALLY buying a waffle iron tomorrow to make this.
    along with some pearled barley to make my own barley tea (yeah, good luck with that, right??)

  • Claudia | The Brick Kitchen

    August 28, 2015 at 6:42 AM Reply

    LOVE this. have never made yeasted waffles but you have converted me – and roasted barley tea?! sounds amazing.

  • Kara | Sorghum and Starch

    August 28, 2015 at 11:59 AM Reply

    These waffles are absolutely gorgeous!

  • Joanne

    August 28, 2015 at 5:56 PM Reply

    just curious! if i did everything except put in the roasted barley tea, would it still be an awesome crisp and light waffle but without the maltiness? :P

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      August 28, 2015 at 7:36 PM Reply

      Joanne, it will work fine! Just less malty :)

      • Joanne

        August 30, 2015 at 11:34 PM Reply

        thank you!! :) excited to try it!

  • todd wagner

    August 29, 2015 at 5:49 AM Reply

    You dominated that waffle iron, Mandy. DOMINATED.

  • Kate

    September 3, 2015 at 4:36 AM Reply

    Wow, I can almost taste those crispy edges right this very minute. The hardest part is probably waiting for them to rise. Yum!!

  • maya

    September 6, 2015 at 5:13 AM Reply

    came back to report that these were totally awesome!
    made them twice – once using a mildly failed attempt at making homemade roast barley tea (just toasting some pearl barley and grinding away in the spice grinder), came out crispy and delicious.

    second attempt was a triple amount of the recipe (using malt powder this time) to feed a 30 person luncheon which turned out a great success (i had my mom bring her iron so we can double up on speed). served em with malted chocolate ganache and a caramel creme anglaise into which i’ve whisked a truckload of praline paste. so so good

  • Joe

    September 16, 2015 at 2:38 AM Reply

    I love your blog, love your recipes, love YOU! I look forward to your new posts!

    Regarding barley tea – I know you said that it is ungerminated. I home brew beer and I’m wondering if I could use the roasted barley malt grains I use for brewing. Beer malt is partially germinated then roasted to halt the process. That may have even been what you were going after in the first place and used the barley tea as an alternative.

    I’m going to try it anyway, but didn’t want to pass up a chance to tell you how much I love your work.

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      September 16, 2015 at 6:29 PM Reply

      Joe, the roasted barley tea I used are those common from Korean/Japanese grocery stores. It has a deep, almost smokey and coffee-like flavour. I didn’t think it was germinated because it wasn’t necessary for the tea-brewing purpose? Germinated barley has some kind of active enzyme that aids fermentation, which is I think, the kind for brewing beer. If you ever try roasted barley tea for brewing beer, let me know how it turns out!! And thanks for visiting :)

  • Litha

    November 8, 2015 at 7:53 AM Reply

    I love this site Mandy. I want to buy a waffle iron but am dizzy with the choices. Any advice?

    Thank you!

  • Mary

    December 19, 2015 at 9:15 AM Reply

    these were soooooooo good with honey butter! love it!

  • James

    February 9, 2021 at 5:26 AM Reply

    Hi Mandy!
    Can’t wait to try these – do you use hulled or unhulled barley tea? My Asian grocer has both, as does Amazon…

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      February 9, 2021 at 2:12 PM Reply

      James, hm interesting I am not sure. I gonna guess the one I used was hulled.

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