Lefse – It’s Not Just for Christmas!

Although that seems to be the only time of the year that I make it! In truth, my Norwegian grandparents probably ate it every week. They  most likely swapped between lefse, plain flat brød, and grov brød. I don’t make it often, but I do hate to see the lefse griddle hanging out in the back of the closet…it looks lonely and unloved.

So, let’s make some lefse! I’m no expert, just counting on my DNA and a few sessions with my host grandmas in Norway and my auntie after college. We start with…potatoes.

I usually do half of a five pound bag.  Boil the potatoes in water with a little salt, just like you would for dinner. I usually quarter or eighth mine, depending on how big they were. This batch was big so I did eighths. Boil them until they are done (fork tender).

For about 2.5 pounds of potatoes (red or white, it doesn’t matter), mix in

  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • Salt to taste

Mash them ALOT. You want them smooth. Some recipes call for heavy cream…I used table cream, and I’m almost certain my aunt used whole milk. Definitely use real butter! My aunt just stashed the leftover boiled and mashed potatoes until her mixing bowl was pretty full, which let her move directly to the lefse making.

Now you get to rest! Let the potatoes cool down, put a lid on the bowl, and stow them in the fridge overnight. They are OK for up to three days this way.

Now it’s Day 2; time for the fun!

Traditionally, lefse is baked an a large flat griddle. I have my mom’s lefse baker from Bethany Heritage Grill. You can order them online. A large flat griddle will work, or a cast iron griddle, we are looking for a baking temperature of 425 degrees F or (220 C). 

Other helpful tools is a cross hatch rolling pin, seen below, and there is also a grooved rolling pin, both available online. The experts use both, and I am not an expert, so I use a regular rolling pin and my beloved cross hatch, which I brought home with me from Norway. Helpful tool #2 is a pastry cloth. I don’t have one of those either, so I use an old flour sack type towel. Finally, helpful tool #3 is a lefse stick, also available on line. Alas, I don’t have one of those either, so I use a fork and a yard stick. See, I’m living proof that improvising can work!

Now that you are aware of the tools that will help you deter disaster, it is time to begin. Remove the potatoes from the fridge and use a heavy duty spoon to break up the potato mixture. Add 2 cups of flour and mix it in. It will look terrible, but give the potatoes a little time. Dump it out and give it a knead or two or three for good measure, then start making large fist sized balls. If it feels sticky, add another 1/2 cup of flour, so you can shape the dough.

I got 20 good sized balls out of this batch. By the time I had rolled them all out, I had used just under 4 cups of flour for the total batch. When you start rolling, think “pie crust.” Because I don’t have a pastry cloth, I start by rolling on the table, then transfer to the towel. I’m terrible at rolling, so I do what works for me. You are going to roll these out to about a 14 inch round, so they will be VERY thin. Keep that in mind and be generous with the flour!

Once you have the round rolled out, you will need to transfer it to the griddle. This is where the lefse stick comes in! I lay my stick on the dough, and the bring the towel over the top. Pull the towel back, and gently lift the lefse to the griddle. You will lay the bottom half out, then roll the rest off the stick.

While that lefse is baking, you can start rolling the next one. You know it is done, when you see brown spots on the cooking side, and it looks kind of dry. The edges will also get a little bit crisp. Using the fork if necessary to get the stick under the lefse, gently flip it over and bake the other side.

Baked lefses can be stacked on a clean cotton towel, just fold it over to keep them from drying out while you bake the others. Once the batch is done, you can fold each lefse in half, and again, to make a quarter circle. Stack them and put them in air tight bags. Leave some out to enjoy now, and freeze the rest for later. I like mine with some butter and a little bit of sugar sprinkled on them, rolled up. One lefse is usually 2-4 servings; as a kid we were only allowed a quarter of a lefse during coffee time, but the adults got halves…we always tried to sneak seconds!img_0905


13 thoughts on “Lefse – It’s Not Just for Christmas!

  1. I love lefse and used to make it with my (now passed) neighbor. She had the grill, rolling pin and cloth BUT I have the stick!!!!!!!! LOL!!! We used to milk cows and used their milk…….the butterfat content was crazy high (the cows were Jerseys!). We have a lefse making company in the next town (not unusual, this is a Norwegian/Swedish area!!!!!) and the recipe they use is very close to yours and mine!!!! I do miss the fun of the process, though. I always ‘riced’ the potatoes (oh yes…..did I mention that I, also, have a potato ricer…….very necessary!!!!!!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We just made another batch to send back to school with Girl 1, and I expect there will be more in the making this winter. It is such a satisfying treat, better than cookies or cake in my opinion! Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I found a little cafe in my area that makes lefse I was so excited and bought a bag of 10 for my mom & 10 for me, but it was, made to thick & just didn’t taste right so making it ourselves is the way to go😀.
        That is nice if you to give some away! I have a brother & if he doesn’t help make lefse or Crub he doesn’t get any 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And once you get going, it’s not really that big of a job. I do envy the set up my aunt had in the basement….nice big table for rolling and the iron, and the ability to sweep the flour out the door when finished!

        Liked by 1 person

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