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1/2 cup warm water (about 105 to 110 degrees, so not too hot)
1 packet (1/4 ounce, 7 grams or 2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 cups milk, warmed (again, not too hot
1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until lukewarm
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Oil or melted butter for the waffle iron
Powdered sugar, syrup or berries for serving
The night before: Pour warm water in the bottom of a large (larger than you think you’ll need because the batter will rise a lot) bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top and let it dissolve and foam ever-so-slightly for 15 minutes. Stir in half the milk, all of the butter, then half the flour, all of the salt and sugar, then whisk. Then add the rest of the milk, then the rest of the flour and whisk out most of the lumps.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set out on the counter overnight.
The next morning, whisk in eggs and baking soda until smooth. Heat waffle iron** (a thinner one is better than a Belgian-style one, as these will not rise enough to fill a tall one out) and coat lightly with butter or oil. Ladle in 1/2 to 3/4-cup batter per waffle batch. The batter will be very thin and will spread a lot in the pan, so err on the side of under-filled until you figure out the right amount. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Waffles can be kept crisp in a warm oven until needed. If you only want to make a few at a time, the batter keeps well in the fridge for several days.