1 3/4 cup milk (whole, low-fat or skim)
8 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 cups (10 oz) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract.
Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the butter is melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool milk/butter mixture until warm to touch (80-105 degrees F, or thereabouts - if it's hot on a finger, it's too hot). Meanwhile, whisk flour, sugar, salt and yeast in large bowl to combine. Gradually whisk warm milk/butter mixture into flour mixture; continue to whisk until batter is smooth. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla until combined, then add egg mixture to batter and whisk until incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 12 and up to 24 hours.
Following manufacturer's instructions, heat waffle iron; remove waffle batter from refrigerator when waffle iron is hot (batter will be foamy and double in size). Whisk batter to recombine (batter will deflate). Bake waffles according to manufacturer's instructions (use about 1/2 cup for a 7" round iron or about 1 cup for a 9" square iron). Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree oven on a baking rack, single layer.
Always refer to the yeast package for the specific temperature info, etc... Instant yeast does not need to be proofed in hot liquid; still, if the milk is too hot when mixed in the yeast will croak. Letting the batter raise in the fridge overnight controls the rate of rise AND allows flavor to build.
Pairs Well With
I'm a big fan of any recipe that can be done in stages. This one is perfect because you make the batter the night before, leave it in the refrigerator, and in the morning, all you need to do is plug in the waffle iron and you're ready to go. They come out of the waffle iron crisp and golden dark, but still soft inside, with a great flavor.
This recipe is from Cook's Illustrated; they do extensive testing on recipes to determine the best techniques to use for any particular dish. They're usually my go-to source for any basic recipe.