International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Lefse

Lefse rolling pin

(Norwegian potato flatbread)

Image Creative Commons by lancefisher

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Lefse is a flatbread from Norway — similar to a flour tortilla or chapati — that is generally made with a potato-based dough and grilled on a flat griddle. Traditionally lefse is rolled out with a grooved rolling pin that prevents air pockets and is turned with a special wooden paddle.

Lefse is not as common in Norway as it once was, but it has retained its popularity among Norwegian Americans, who often serve it around the holidays. Variations include hardangerlefse, or krotekaker, made with wholewheat flour and dried for long storage.

Makes about 12 to 15 lefse

Ingredients

  • Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks -- 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
  • Cream or milk -- 1/4 cup
  • Butter -- 4 tablespoons
  • Sugar -- 2 teaspoons
  • Salt -- 1 teaspoon
  • Flour -- 1 1/2 to 2 cups

Method

  1. Add the potatoes to a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium flame and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, 15-20 minutes.
  2. Remove the potatoes and drain well. Put the potatoes through a ricer, or mash until smooth with a potato masher. It should make about 4 cups. Stir in the cream or milk, butter, sugar and salt. Cover and cool completely in the refrigerator.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, stir enough flour into the potatoes to make a dough that is only slightly sticky but not too dry. Remove the dough to a well floured worksurface and knead lightly until smooth.
  4. Pinch off egg-sized portions of the dough and roll into balls. Press each ball lightly to form a patty. Using a floured rolling pin, roll each patty out into a thin round about 8 to 10 inches in diameter and about 1/8-inch thick. Lightly flour each round as you complete it and stack them together.
  5. Preheat large dry griddle or skillet over medium-high flame. Add a lefse round to the griddle and cook for about 1 minute, or until light brown spots appear on the bottom. Flip the lefse and cook on the other side another minute or so. Remove to a platter, cover with a soft towel and repeat with the remaining lefse rounds.
  6. Spread a piece of lefse with soft butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, roll it up and serve with hot coffee. Or just serve your lefse as the bread accompaniment to a Scandinavian meal.

Variations

  • Whole-Wheat Lefse: Replace half of the flour in the recipe with whole-wheat flour.
  • Make the lefse smaller or bigger and thicker or thinner according to your preference.

Notes

  • Wrapped tightly, lefse freezes well.