Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lefse, Lefsa, We Love Lefsa!

Lefsa is very much a part of my family's tradition. We usually had lefsa for Christmas, and if we were lucky and Grandma was visiting we would have it at other times too. My Mother loved lefsa , as did we kids. Although Mom was a good cook she rarely made lefsa. She would ask her mother to make it and send it via Greyhound Bus to our city, then Mom would drive downtown ( which was NOT close to home )to pick up the package of lefsa at the bus station. Mom would give each of us girls 1 piece and and save the rest of this precious package of lefsa for herself.

I LOVE lefsa. I hate potatoes in almost all edible forms, but lefsa is the exception. ( shown above,Suzanne Toftey's Lefsa Girl)

Lefsa , pronounced lef-sa, is the Norwegian tortilla, sort of.You need very little to make lefsa. Shown above is the lefsa rolling pin with it's special ridges, the long flat lefsa stick which makes it easier to lift the lefsa and turn it onto the griddle. The ingredients for lefsa are potatoes, flour, shortening, and a few dashes of salt. The recipe:
  • 2 cups riced potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tablespoon shortening
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of flour
Boil whole and unpeeled enough potatoes to give you 2 cups of riced potatoes. When I can push a fork easily through the potatoes they are done. I take them off the stove and drain them. While they cool a little I assemble the other needed items.
I get out my potato ricer ( shown above ) found especially at Scandinavian stores and IKEA. I also begin to heat my griddle for cooking the lefsa and I put out the cooling racks on the counter, and place clean toweling on the racks for placing the lefsa hot off the griddle.

Whole unpeeled potatoes boiling ( above ) .After the drained potatoes have cooled a little, peel them by hand. I need a pot holder to hold the hot potatoes as I do this.
Put the cooked and peeled, but still hot potatoes through the ricer. Add the shortening and salt, then half the flour , using your hands to do the mixing. This allows you to feel the dough and gauge the necessary flour. Knead in the rest of the flour as desired while rolling out the dough. You want the dough to be soft and smooth,very pliable... not too sticky, not too dry.Note that using too much flour will give you a hard dough that cooks up to the consistency of shoe leather or cardboard,the kind Norwegian jokes are told about.

Roll the dough into golf ball size balls with your hands, then place the ball of dough on a floured surface, flattening with your hand and turning over on the floured surface to begin rolling out with the lefse rolling pin. Roll the lefse out as thin as possible-this might require you to stop and flour the rolling surface and the rolling pin every so often, then sliding the flat lefse stick under it to release it from the rolling surface, you should be able to use the stick to carefully lift the rolled out lefsa ( which will resemble a tortilla ) and place it onto a hot griddle. The size of my lefsa cooking surface determines the size of my pieces of lefsa.
When one side of the lefsa is slightly brown, turn the lefsa over using the lefsa stick and cook up the other side. After the lefsa is cooked nicely on both sides lift it off the griddle and place it on the cooling racks. The coffee is brewing, the soft butter and cinnamon and sugar are out. We eat a few pieces as I cook up the rest of the batch.
When I was in high school my Grandma Berg visited us and taught me how to make lefsa. I make lefsa often enough and although it is a family tradition at Christmas to have this as our breakfast, I also make it a few times throughout the year. Lefse is indeed a common thread running through my family. I taught my daughter, and my youngest son's wife to make it after I bought them a lefse rolling pin, lefsa turning stick, and potato ricer. My son's wife makes this frequently. I plan on teaching my grandchildren how to make lefsa and while doing so will tell them about their Great-Grandma Berg who taught me. And of course there is this, I LOVE to eat LEFSA!
Butter the lefsa and after adding whatever else you want to put on the lefsa, roll it up and enjoy!My side of the family usually ate lefsa just buttered, or buttered with cheese and / or meat inside . My husband's family ( the Burnsons' ) eat their lefsa with butter, cinnamon and sugar. Those Burnson's do have the sweet tooth! Quite a few in our family are extremely lactose intolerant and a lactose free margarine works quite well too, but as shown above, I always roll out and specially mark the lefse that I have gone ahead and prepared just for them.


  1. It all looks great. As soon as I get time to sit at the computer I'll contribute and add to my blog etc... Great start! Thanks!

  2. well I did it. not sure how but I finally figured it out. I had a little trouble at first but then I went back and read your e-mail and followed the directions and now I just posted and it worked. This is kind of exciting:):)

  3. Wow! So fun to find someone else who does lefse! My Grandma (of German descent) used to make it every Christmas. We eat it with butter and sugar as well.