Is it a crepe, a pancake, an appetizer, a breakfast item, all of the above? Yes. Mlyntzi are a beloved Ukrainian thin pancake and enjoyed by many names and cultures across Eastern Europe.
"A blintz, blintze or blin (plural: blintzes or blini; cf. Lithuanian: Blynai, blynai; Russian: блин blin, блины (pl.); Polish: bliny; Ukrainian: млинці, mlyntsi; Yiddish: בלינצע blintze) is a thin pancake. It is somewhat similar to a crêpe with main difference being the fact that yeast is always used in blini, but not used in crêpes."
Traditionally yeast risen though today they are often chemically leavened and much more thin and crepe-like than the historic versions. But that also leaves more room for interpretation and enjoyment! There are endless options for toppings and fillings, both savory and sweet. A very traditional topping is sour cream or creme fraiche and caviar or lox. I am not a caviar or a lox fan. I like hot smoked salmon, not cold. I heard one family describe the joy of mlyntzi filled with chicken and mushrooms, which sounds delicious. I grew up with blintzes as a rare treat. Not sure where that came from as our town was Scandinavian in origin and Swedish pancakes were the big thing. Actually though, the thin and lacy pattern of a Swedish pancake is very similar to the way my mlyntzi turned out!
Incidentally, when any kind of filling (cottage cheese, farmer cheese, stewed potato, apples etc.) is rolled or enveloped into a mlynets (singular) and then lightly re-fried, sauteed or baked , it is called nalysnyk. I did try for a cottage cheese blintz style packet and the filling wanted to run out the lovely little holes in the pancake. Still tasty, but they were best as I chose to make most of them, rolled up with a lovely citrus curd and sprinkled with fresh berries and a touch of powdered sugar. A popular version, the citrus curd and I see why. You can also find unorthodox versions like nutella and strawberry now as well. Only the imagination limits the possibilities. Our host kitchen gave us two versions, one sourdough and one commercial yeast. I made the yeast version which turned out much more crepe-like than the sourdough evidently, though I did add a dollop of starter to mine for flavor. At least one other Babe made both versions and noted the sourdough was a thicker batter. So for a more easily handheld appetizer style mlyntzi or blini, try the sourdough option or reduce the milk in the yeast version. For a stackable, rollable, foldable option, go with the yeast version. They will both be delicious. I love a crepe-like pancake.
We would love to see your variations and topping ideas this month and share how it turned out! New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time. If you would like to post your results with a Buddy badge on a blog, let us know in the comments or on the Facebook page.
Mlyntsi (Ukrainian thin pancakes)
adapted from Darra Goldstein's recipe for Blini and Emilie Raffa's (The Clever Carrot) recipe for Fluffy Sourdough Pancakes
3 g active dry yeast
2 Tbsp (30 g) water at body temperature
1+¼ cups (304 g) milk [OR 70 g instant milk powder + 300 g water]
½ tsp (2 g) sugar
6 Tbsp (23 g) buckwheat flour (I used freshly ground hulled buckwheat)
1.5 Tbsp (21 g) butter
1 egg, separated (I added my egg, whole)
2 Tbsp (30 g) plain 3% yogurt (I used sour cream since we were out of yogurt)
½ tsp (3 g) salt
¾ cups (94 g) all-purpose flour
pinch baking soda
In a small bowl, whisk yeast into body temperature water. Set aside briefly.
In a medium size bowl, whisk together sugar, all but ¼ cup of milk (or milk powder and water), and the buckwheat flour. Make sure the mixture is smooth and retains no lumps. Whisk in the yeast mixture. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Melt butter and allow to cool a little before whisking into the egg yolk and yogurt. Stir this mixture into the buckwheat mixture, along with the remaining milk, salt, and all-purpose flour. Again, make sure there are no lumps; you want this mixture to be very smooth. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 2 hours. I decided to forgo separating the egg yolk and white and just whisked in the whole egg, skipping the whipping/folding step.
Whisk the egg white until stiff but not dry, then fold the fluffy egg white into the batter along with the pinch of baking soda. Allow the batter to rest for 30 minutes more. If the batter seems thick, carefully add warm milk a very little at a time. Emilie Raffa says that "The texture should be thick, bubbly, and pourable". My batter was thin and bubbly, a perfect crepe batter, but not thick as noted.
Heat a cast-iron pan. Spray or flick some cold water drops on the pan. If the water beads, the pan is at the right temperature. (If it lies there, the pan is too cool; if it steams up immediately, the pan is too hot.) Brush the pan with butter. Use about 2 tablespoons of the batter for each blin/mlynets. Darra Goldstein adds: "taking it from the top of the batter each time so that the rest doesn't fall". Swirl the pan to make a pancake that is about 5 inches in diameter. My batter gave consistent results whether from the top or bottom, still providing the requisite holes on top.
"Cook the blin or mlynets for just a few minutes, until bubbles appear on the surface, then turn and cook the other side until faintly browned. The blini are best served hot from the pan, but if they must be held, pile them in a deep dish, brushing each one with butter, and cover the top of the dish with a linen towel." - Darra Goldstein
The rest of the Bread Baking Babes
- Blog from OUR Kitchen – Elizabeth
- Judy’s Gross Eats – Judy
- My Diverse Kitchen - Aparna
- Bread Experience - Cathy
- Thyme for Cooking - Katie
- My Kitchen in Half Cups - Tanna
- Feeding My Enthusiasms - Elle
- Karen's Kitchen Stories - Karen