Lefse

Beloved by Norwegians everywhere, this traditional flatbread is a mainstay similar to a thick crêpe (or thin pancake). While in Norway lefse was traditionally made from any of a variety of flours, when brought to America it became strictly potato-based — because potatoes are what most Norwegian immigrants were able to grow quickly and successfully here. No longer a daily bread for most, lefse is a must from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Served at room temperature, spread with butter and rolled up, it often accompanies a holiday meal. A sprinkle of sugar or cinnamon-sugar makes it a light, sweet snack any time of the day.
Prep
25 mins
Total
4 hrs 13 mins
Yield
1 dozen 6" lefse
Lefse

Instructions

  1. Combine the potatoes, 4 teaspoons flour, butter, cream or milk, salt, and sugar, mixing gently just until well combined.
  2. Refrigerate the mixture for several hours, or overnight.
  3. Gently stir in the 1/3 cup flour.
  4. Pull off about 1/12 of the dough, which will be a generous 1-ounce piece.
  5. Starting with this one ball of dough, roll it on a well-floured surface to about 6" in diameter; it will be quite thin. Keep in mind lefse is a soft, fairly delicate bread, thanks to its high percentage of potato. And it's difficult to specify exactly how much flour to add, given the variance in what type of potatoes you use, how you prepare them, and how you measure. If you find your first ball of dough impossible to roll, add just enough flour to the remainder of the dough that you can roll a ball out and move the resulting round to the griddle. It helps to flour the rolling surface thoroughly, and keep it floured.
  6. Cook the lefse on a griddle preheated over medium-high heat (about 375°F). Cook on one side until speckled with brown spots; flip over, and cook the other side the same way. Repeat with the remaining dough; you'll cook 12 lefse in all.
  7. Serve lefse warm or at room temperature, spread with butter and rolled into a cylinder or folded into quarters; add sugar or cinnamon-sugar for a sweet treat.
  8. Store lefse flat, wrapped in plastic, for several days at room temperature; freeze for longer storage.
  9. Yield: 1 dozen lefse.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Yukon Gold, chef's, white potatoes, or other boiling (rather than baking) potatoes are appropriate here. Start with 10 to 11 ounces potato to yield about 1 1/2 cups cooked riced potato. Ricing the potatoes, rather than mashing them, will produce the best results. But if your only option is mashed, use 1 cup.