Lefse is a traditional soft, thin, Norwegian flatbread that is made with leftover potatoes, flour, butter, and sometimes milk or cream and cooked on a griddle. Special tools are needed to prepare lefse, such as a lefse stick—a long wooden instrument that resembles an extra-long paint stir stick—and a circular lefse board, for rolling out paper-thin sheets.
Traditionally lefse was eaten with lutefisk, a type of preserved cod that is not always a favorite of the younger generation. But there are plenty of other ways to enjoy this Scandinavian favorite—spread ‘em with butter, sprinkle them with sugar, or top with jam. They can be used as a crepe, or rolled around all sorts of fillings like a wrap. They can be eaten hot or cold, or eaten on the side with a meal just like bread. The possibilities are endless!
- 5 cups cooked, mashed or riced potatoes (Russet potatoes are best)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- While the potatoes are hot, combine them with the salt and butter in a stand mixer or a large bowl. Mix or stir until no lumps remain (think of smooth mashed potatoes).
- Let stand covered until the potatoes are cool, then add the flour. Work the flour into the potatoes by hand, kneading it in thoroughly, or use a stand mixer with the dough hook attached. (You can use a rotary egg beater as well.)
- Preheat an electric griddle to 450°F (you can also use a 12-inch cast-iron skillet if you don’t have a griddle). Spread out a big bath towel or flour-sack dish towel on the counter or table (avoid using towels that are laundered with scented detergent or dryer sheets).
- Form patties of the dough, each about the size of a tennis ball (a measuring cup can be useful for making sure the resulting lefse sheets are all the same size). Place one patty at a time on a generously floured lefse board, pastry cloth, or other large, flat surface. Roll out the dough into a 12-inch circle, making sure it is evenly thin throughout.
- Using a lefse stick, carefully slide it under the middle of the lefse sheet, making sure to keep the end of the stick down so it doesn’t poke through the dough. Lift the stick gently from the board. Matching the edge of the sheet to the edge of the grill, lay the sheet down and unroll it onto the griddle in one smooth, quick motion.
- Bake the lefse until small brown spots appear on the underside and bubbles appear on top like a pancake, 1 to 2 minutes. Then flip and repeat on the other side. Lefse cooks very quickly; don’t ignore it too long or it will burn before you know it!
- Transfer the finished lefse onto the towel. You can stack several sheets on top of one another in a shingle pattern, then start another layer and stack those. Then cover them with a thin cloth or another towel, and set them aside to cool.
- When they have completely cooled, fold the lefse in half, then half again so you have a round-edged triangle. Store them in zipper-lock freezer bags. They will keep in the freezer for at least 6 months.