Meet Monsieur Gaufrier

This french waffle iron, or Monsieur Gaufrier as I call it, has to be the most stubborn thing I’ve ever stripped and re-seasoned.

Many of you know how much I love to play with my old treasures. The weather was fantastic: sun all week but way below freezing temps. Perfect time to fire up the grill and enjoy a burger or two. While I was at it, I picked that old french waffle iron from my Box of Misfits to start restoring it.

I thought it would take 3-4 days since I had a full week of work and only about two days of daylight each day to work on it, but little did I know that it was over two weeks before I could celebrate the maiden bake and enjoy that first waffle.

Day 1 (a random tuesday): After an hour on the 300°C gas grill, all the rust is burned away and the old patina starts to come off in flakes. Wire brush tomorrow, looks like an easy enough job.

Day 2 (wednesday): the iron met with the wire brush, got another two hours on the grill, more wire brushing, hot soapy water and a nylon brush, then the hair dryer because the handles were superglued in with gunk and the iron was too big to dry in the oven. The outside was squeaky clean by then, the insides super stubborn and still yucky.


All the black easily flaked off, just to present another layer. And then another. And another. Generations of grime! I have an inkling that this might take a bit longer than anticipated.

Day 3 (thursday): I have the afternoon off, time to get out the big guns

Since the gas grill won’t cut it, I prep a charcoal chimney full of briquettes and Monsieur Gaufrier spends about 6 hours on a bed of white hot briquettes in my tiny old grill. Regular checks with the laser thermometer tell me he has a constant body temperature of 550°C / about 1.000F for at least 5 of those 6 hours. And he still doesn’t let go of all the gunk! He’s a very strongwilled frenchman!

It’s dark by now. I take Monsieur G. into the kitchen and scrape his insides with a tiny chisel, afterwards he gets a hot bath with soapy salt scrub. I dry his wet behind with my hairdryer, he gets another facial with the small chisel to clean up the rest. 
There are still some weird patches, but there’s nothing more I can do except sandblast him. I hereby declare him CLEAN ENOUGH.

Looks like the outside wasn’t as clean as I thought, because during his nap on the coals, an imprint emerged on the outside

I found out he’s a No.17, made in the foundry in Guise Aisne, a small town in the north of France, about an hour by car from Belgium.

Day 4 (friday): I had a full day of work, did the weekly grocery thing afterwards, and it was nearly dark when I got home. The couch called, so nothing happened on the waffle iron front

Day 5 (saturday): I got up with the mindset to finally clad Monsieur Gaufrier in his new coats, but it started raining. Not too hard, just a kind of constant drizzle. Typical! Who needs sunshine on the weekend when it was fantastic weather all week while I was at work? 🙄
I managed to get the iron all slicked up and on the grill nonetheless, but it was a challenge. Had to take it back inside to cool a bit and apply the next coat, then carry it outside under a towel to plop back on the grill. Can’t have rain drops getting in the way of the perfect patina. The grill itself has a lid, so once it was in there, things were ok. At least for a while.

But then it got colder and started raining much harder, to the point where the rain is pelting the grill and cooling it down too much. It’s a tiny old thing, just the size of a shoebox. I don’t feel like firing up the huge bbq just for that one iron. I’m done for the day.

The forecast promises more rain tomorrow, but also sun for the start of the week (no surprise there since I’ll be at work then), so I’ll finish the iron monday or tuesday.

For now, he’s sporting two splotchy layers of coconut oil with markings of the grill’s grate. It looks even worse due to the under-cabinet lights. It’ll even out with the next 2-3 coats. Waffle irons have a slightly different shape than a frying pan, so applying a super thin layer of oil with a cloth is impossible. I use a silicone brush and I’m very generous with the coconut oil.
What’s on there wipes clean and doesn’t feel sticky, so all’s good. It’ll get to a deep, shiny black once I’m done.

Day 7 (monday): The weather agreed with my plans and Monsieur Gaufrier got two more coats of coconut oil. Unfortunately, things came up at work so that the first bake will have to wait a bit.

Days 8-15: parent teacher conferences, emergency team meetings, long days at work, more bad weather, step-mom’s bday that came with cake,… no waffles except a tiny frustration batch of pumpkin waffles I made in an electrical waffle iron. But that’s just not the same.

Day 16 (wednesday): the pumpkin waffles are gone, and so is stepmom’s leftover birthday cake. The weather is great, and I can finally test the waffle iron.

Monsieur Gaufrier is still a bit clingy at first, but things work out in the end. The iron fits only a surprisingly small amount of batter, but it bakes up super crispy without burning. The grill is a mess though, because I constantly overestimate the amount of dough I need. Never had that with the other irons. I guess I need to designate an old cookie sheet to catch the overflow. But first, I have flavor bars and gas burners to clean 🙈

The project is done, another waffle iron joins the work force.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: