This is becoming a theme — yet again I had jars of starter bubbling all over the kitchen. We fancied smoked salmon, and I was sure it must be possible to use sourdough for blini. A quick Google and I found a recipe on a Spanish blog of all places, but it’s a blog I followed till it went dormant, so I felt confident that it would work. I was right; they were delicious. Just as good as the Delia recipe that was my standby up to now, and without all the cream.
The following is my adapted recipe. Use buckwheat flour if you can, for authenticity. I didn’t have any, so I used wholegrain spelt instead. I have an electric plancha which is perfect for cooking these as it remains at a low, even temperature — otherwise use a griddle or large heavy frying pan, over a low heat.
This made about 30 blini; halve the recipe if you want fewer, but they freeze really well. I wrap 6 or 8 together in flat foil packets and freeze them in ziplock bags. Then you can just take out as many packets as you need and warm them through in the oven. They are just as good with butter and honey as they are with salmon or caviar.
1 sachet instant yeast
185g sourdough starter
85g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp sugar
60g buckwheat flour (or substitute wholemeal flour)
1/2 tsp salt
2 medium eggs
Depending on the flour you use, you might need to adjust quantities. The end result should be like a thickish pancake batter.
Warm the milk slightly and add the starter and yeast. Whisk until blended. Add both the flours and the sugar, stir again, cover with clingfilm or a plastic bag, and leave to double in size. This should take 1 – 1 1/2 hours at room temperature.
Separate the eggs and set the whites aside in a large bowl. Stir the yolks into the batter with the salt and leave for about another hour; the batter should now be spongy and bubbly.
When ready to cook, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold them gently into the batter with a metal spoon.
Heat your pan or plancha over a low heat and smear with a little butter. Once it’s hot, ladle on small dollops of batter, whatever size you want your blini to be. They will cook quite quickly; once the top surface shows bubbles and is drying out a little, turn them over with a spatula and cook the other side. As they are done put them on a plate covered with a folded teacloth to keep them warm.