This year our family Christmas meal will begin with blinis. I used to have a recipe for them, given to me by someone who claimed it was absolutely authentic: his daughter had brought it back from Russia where she had spent some time studying. However, the paper on which it was written has disappeared, probably a victim of my recent urge to live more “minimalistically”, or at least attempt to clean up a house full of accumulated “stuff”! Anyway, I remember that those particular blinis were made from a mix of wheat and buckwheat flour, and fresh baker’s yeast. You also had to make a bread starter a couple of days before, so it wasn’t exactly a simple recipe. If you search on the net, you will find numerous ideas to make blinis, a lot of them using baking powder, and others, with yeast. I decided to follow the recipe given by Florence Artaud’s on her site (makanaibio here), with no starter and all buckwheat flour, with the following twists: half buckwheat and half gluten-free oats for a milder flavor, non-dairy milk, and dry yeast – my guts do not like fresh baker’s yeast bought at the baker’s, probably because of the unavoidable traces of gluten bound to contaminate it. As I always have SAF yeast in my house it is more convenient for me. I have not noticed any difference in rising using dry yeast versus fresh yeast but I did change the amount used.
I do not own a special blini pan; I simply cook them in a very large nonstick skillet. I manage to get at least 6 pancakes out of one batch. There are other priorities on my current “wish list”, as far as culinary equipment goes. For instance, I dream to have a manual pasta machine in order to make my own gluten-free lasagna, something I have already tried with mixed success: it is difficult to roll out an evenly thin dough. Any tips, dear neighbors? One last thing on these blinis: they freeze very well and only need to be defrosted (a few seconds in the microwave will do the trick) at serving time — a real bonus!
Ingredients (for 24 small blinis)
– 4 g dry yeast (such as SAF yeast), soit environ 1,5 cc
– 250 ml / 1 cup lukewarm non-dairy milk, such as soy or almond milk
– 100 g / 3.5 oz gluten-free oats, ground (or none if you choose to go full buckwheat)
– 100 g / 3.5 oz buckwheat flour
– ½ tsp all natural sea salt
– 2 whole eggs, beaten
– some olive oil for cooking
1. Pour some of the lukewarm milk over the yeast and set aside to foam.
2. Measure out and mix the oats, buckwheat flour and half teaspoon salt in a bowl.
3. Add foamy yeast, remaining non-dairy milk and beaten eggs. Mix together with a fork – no need to beat though. The batter is thicker and stickier than a crepe batter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for an hour or two. I often place a blanket over the bowl. It’s winter, after all!
4. When the batter has risen, warm up an oiled nonstick skillet. For each blini, take a small amount of batter in a large spoon, and push it down with the help of a second spoon onto the warm pan. Cook both sides on rather low heat. I usually flip my blinis over when bubbles start forming at the surface.
I am planning to serve them with a choice of avocado slices, smoked salmon, Parma ham, and lactose-free cottage cheese. This way there should be something for everyone. January 2019 update: blinis are also excellent topped with a savory nut spread!
I wish you all a very happy holiday season, dear neighbors. So long!