Blini are yeasted buckwheat pancakes from Russia. Usually served with sour cream and caviar, they can be eaten with a variety of sweet and savory fillings, limited only by your imagination. I mentioned in a post that I had 4 blini recipes but I found several of my cookbooks also contained recipes for blini. After reading through 12 recipes I decided to make two of them, from Bob’s Red Mill and The Russian Tea Room Cookbook by Faith Stewart-Gordon, because she would know.
First recipe, Bob’s Red Mill Yeasted Buckwheat Pancakes, well, this is code for blini, the actual definition of blini. I chose this recipe because 1 substitution made it vegan friendly.
Make a sponge by mixing the following ingredients and rest in the fridge overnight:
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
1 ¼ cup warm water [¼ cup of water for proofing the yeast, 1 cup for the batter]
1 cup pastry flour
½ cup buckwheat flour [Bob’s Red Mill buckwheat flour]
In my test I used ¾ cup buckwheat and ¾ cup all purpose flour, most recipes called for an equal ratio of white and buckwheat flour, 1 ¼ cup room temp water [SAF yeast, does not need proofing].
Next day, mixture should be bubbly, mix in:
¼ cup hot water
1 Tablespoon cane or brown sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons melted butter or substitute coconut oil
Rest 30 minutes. Drop batter by medium sized ice cream scoop into a lightly greased electric skillet or griddle turning after the top is covered with holes and edges look set. Don’t look away, blini cook fast. Made about 18, 3” diameter blini, 3” is a good size to wrap around fillings.
Notes: Super easy to make. Love that there is no dairy or eggs. My cheap electric skillet is way too hot, used the water droplet test and set temp to 275 degrees F. I ate them with mango pepper jelly, tofu ranch dip, ham, mustard, red dragon cheese, and a very nice cheddar, in various combinations. Liked these better at room temperature. The 18 yield is a guess because I lost track of how many were eaten during cooking. 1:1 would make again.
Russian Tea Room Cookbook
1 1/3 cups sifted flour
1 1/3 cup sifted buckwheat flour
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 2/3 cups milk
½ cup butter, cut into small pieces
4 eggs, lightly beaten
In a large bowl, combine flours, yeast, sugar and salt. In saucepan combine milk and butter until butter melts and milk is warm, not hot, [105 – 115 degrees F]. Stir milk and butter into flour mixture, stir in eggs, beat at low speed 1 minute or whisk by hand 3-5 minutes. Cover and rest 1 to 1 ½ hours in warm place until doubled and light and bubbly. Stir down, spoon about 3 tablespoons batter for each blini and cook on hot griddle, turning when top is bubbly and edges set. Don’t look away, blini cook fast. Makes 36 4” blini. [I used the ice cream scoop as described above and made over 40 3” blini.] 1:1 would make again.
Notes: Both of these recipes produced good blini but the Russian Tea Room blini was softer, fluffier and more pliable. That could have been a function of the blini learning curve and the temp of the skillet. They are tender and soft, perfect for rolling around a filling. I like the fact that there is no overnight wait time, or egg separating. Many recipes call for separating eggs, beating the whites and folding them into the batter and I avoid that. Obviously it makes a lot of blini, but you can freeze them on trays and pack into bags. Either of the recipes would be great fun to serve at a party, like fondue parties of old, a blini party! Park the electric skillet on the table with the batter and various toppings and let people make their own!