gluten-free and dairy-free blinis

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

How to:

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!

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