Potato lefse is a Norwegian flat bread that is rolled out very thinly, and then baked on a very hot griddle.
The flatbread begins with mashed potatoes that are then allowed to sit overnight in the refrigerator to dry. You then hand knead in some flour to turn the mashed potatoes into dough.
Evidently, there are specialized tools to make lefse, including a round upon which the lefse is rolled, a specialized rolling pin with grooves, a lefse griddle, and a lefse stick. Alrighty then!
As much as I am willing to introduce new kitchen toys into my house, this might be a little too specialized, even for me.
For the griddle, I used a cast iron pizza stone.
For the fabric covered round, I wrapped a cutting board with a baguette couche (everyone has one, right?) and floured it heavily (any cloth will do).
For the rolling pin, I used a French rolling pin that I kept floured.
Instead of the lefse stick I used the rolling pin to transport the dough to the griddle as one would transport a pie crust.
I used a wooden spatula to flip and move the lefse while it baked.
I also made smaller lefses. The original recipe calls for 12. I made 24. So much easier for this beginner to handle.
This recipe for potato lefse is from Beatrice Ojakangas and is from the amazing book Baking with Julia edited by Dorie Greenspan. If you'd like to see Beatrice make her lefse, check out this video.
My Irish born husband loved these lefse slathered in butter. This was my favorite way to eat them as well... sort of like baked potato pancakes. They are traditionally served buttered and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.
According to Dorie, they can also be wrapped around hot dogs in lieu of a bun, and called "lumpa."
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 C heavy cream
2 T sugar
1 t. salt
1 1/2 C to 2 1/2 C all purpose flour, plus more for flouring the surface and rolling pin
- Cook the potatoes in enough water to cover, about 10 minutes. The potatoes should be fork tender, but not over cooked.
- Drain the potatoes and spread them out onto a baking dish to dry.
- Rice or grate the potatoes into a large bowl.
- Add the butter and stir until it is fully melted.
- Add the cream, sugar, and salt, and stir.
- Refrigerate uncovered overnight.
- When you are ready to make the lefses, prepare a work surface with a floured cloth (see above).
- Place a terrycloth towel onto the counter.
- Add a cup of flour to the potatoes and mix with your hand. Continue to add flour to the potatoes, one heaping tablespoon at a time, until you have an actual dough, and not just stiff mashed potatoes. For me, it took an extra cup of flour.
- Divide the dough into 24 balls.
- Heat an ungreased griddle to 450 to 500 degrees F.
- Roll a dough ball out to a very thin pancake, and place it onto the griddle. Cook for one to two minutes, and then flip it over to cook the other side.
- Place the lefse onto the terrycloth towel and cover with part of the towel, like an accordion (see the video).
- Serve warm, slathered in butter (my preference) or butter and cinnamon sugar.
To see how other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers fared, check out this link.