The modern waffle has its origins in the wafers—very light thin crisp cakes baked between wafer irons—of the Middle Ages. Wafer irons consisted of two metal plates connected by a hinge, with each plate connected to an arm with a wooden handle. The iron was placed over a fire and flipped to cook both sides of the wafer. The irons were used to produce a variety of different flat, unleavened cakes, usually from a mixture of barley and oats, not the white flour used today.
In 14th-century England, wafers were sold by street vendors called waferers. The modern waffle is a leavened form of wafer.
Medieval waffle law:
In medieval Europe, vendors were permitted to sell their waffles outside of churches on saints’ days and during other special religious celebrations. Competition at the churches eventually became very heated, and at times violent, so that King Charles IX of France imposed a regulation on waffle sales, requiring vendors to maintain a distance of at least deux toises (4 m/12 ft) from one another.