Sourdough Blini (Gluten-Free)

DSC02993I have not posted anything about my gluten-free sourdough starter for a little while.  That is misleading.  The sourdough starter has continued to demand a lot of attention and produce a lot of pancakes and Estonian style dark sourdough bread in my house.  I have given away quite a lot of it.  In fact, if any of you folks live in NYC and would like to trade two cups of excellent gluten-free sourdough starter for a bag of sorghum flour, drop me a comment!  I  feed my starter once a week and make pancakes or bread and more recently these gluten-free sourdough blini.  I adapted the recipe from the excellent and erudite food blog The Winter Guest.  If any of you have a not gluten-free sourdough starter you should make the recipe from The Winter Guest.

I find this recipe hilarious because it uses sourdough starter and yeast AND whipped egg whites.  It reminds me of the “attach it three-way” method of puppet building which is… When wondering how to attach any part of a puppet to any other part, one should always attach it three ways.  For example:  Hot glue said parts together, then staple gun them with an industrial stapler, then wrap the whole thing in duct tape.  Puppets get handled very roughly in performance and it is not uncommon for two methods of attachment to fail, but it is rare for THREE methods to malfunction.  For those of you who are confused as to how we got onto the topic of puppet building, I will let you know that in addition to be ing an obsessive cook, I am also a puppeteer and puppet builder.  Weird but true.  ANYWAY, this recipe is in the “leaven it three ways” school of blini making.  The result is excellent.  These blini are flavourful and have a wonderful fluffy, chewy texture.

If you read this blog, you may or may not have noticed that I do not use yeast in my baking.  I am a good cook and a good baker, but almost everything I have ever made with yeast ends up leaden and yeasty in flavour.  At some point I offended the yeast fairies.  They refuse to do their magic for me.  Before I made these blini for first time I spoke to my sourdough starter and I asked it to please speak to the yeast fairies on my behalf and tell them that I was good person who really wants to bake my own bread and blini.   It worked!  So now it’s making a lot more sense that I am a puppeteer right?  I am clearly finding a way to channel my crazy into my career choices.

I did also finally buy some good quality yeast from the refrigerator section of my health food store.  So it was either the “leaven it three ways” method, or the higher quality yeast,or the conversation between my sourdough and the yeast fairies that made this recipe work for me.  Oh and I also got a thermometer.  The yeast should be awakened by milk that is between 110 degrees and 115 degrees.


This recipe uses a Buckwheat Teff Mix that I have been mixing up in big batches and using a lot lately.  I use it for my Dark Sourdough Bread, Sourdough Buttermilk Gingerbread Pancakes, Carrot Ginger Cupcakes.  For these blini I am certain that you could replace the Teff with more buckwheat if you liked.



  • 4 ounces Teff flour (you could replace this with more buckwheat flour for this recipe)
  • 4 ounces Buckwheat flour
  • 4 ounces arrowroot starch (corn starch would be an acceptable substitute)
  • 4 ounces potato starch (not potato flour!)
  • 4 ounces tapioca starch

Mix them all together!  This will make 20 ounces, so you will have a some leftover.  Use the leftover mix in place of regular flour to make Dark Sourdough Breaddelicious pancakes or Carrot Ginger Cupcakes


Adapted from  The Winter Guest

  • 1 cup warmed milk (ideally between 110 and 115 degrees)
  • 3/4 tablespoon  yeast
  • 2/3 cup ripe sourdough starter
  • 1 cup gluten-free buckwheat teff mix (recipe above)
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 medium eggs separated into yolks and whites
  1. Blend the yeast into the warmed milk until dissolved. Add the sourdough and mix well. Add 1 cup buckwheat teff flour mix and sugar, cover and let it ferment until double in bulk and bubbly (between 1 hour and 1 and 1/2  hours depending on the strength of your starter and the warmth of your kitchen).  I let it rise until it starts to bubble and churn!  Very exciting!  In my kitchen this happens in a little under one hour.
  2. Add the egg yolks to the batter along with the salt.  The batter will deflate although it will still have a lot of bubbles (see photo below). DSC02981
  3.  Let it ferment again for half and hour to an hour.  It will fluff up again (but possibly not as much as the first time).  DSC02983
  4. When the batter is risen again, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and gently fold them to the batter, so as not to deflate them.
  5. Heat a skillet or pancake pan and add half tablespoon of butter (or bacon grease if you’ve got it).  Ladle 1/4 cup portions of dough into the hot oil. Let them cook until bubbles appear before flipping them over and cook the other side.  The second side will cook faster.  Add more butter or fat to the skillet as needed.

I like to serve the blini with sour cream and dill along side a nice bowl of hot borscht.


9 Comments Add yours

  1. Rebecca says:

    Erin – I would happily happily swap for some starter! And I believe talking to your resident yeast faeries to be a perfectly sensible thing to do.

    1. Rebecca says:

      (my email is Thanks!!

      1. Fabulous! I’ll email you!

  2. natewright says:

    If you managed to offend the yeast fairies, what hope is there for the rest of us?

    1. I know! I generally have such good relationships with my domestic spirits. But you know, no one can get along with everyone all the time.

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