Feb 2, 2019

Potato Lefse - Norwegian Flatbread

Potato lefse is a Norwegian flat bread that is rolled out very thinly, and then baked on a very hot griddle. It looks like a crepe, but tastes like a buttered baked potato. 


Norwegian Potato Lefse

Potato lefse can be served with both sweet or savory fillings, including butter and brown sugar or jam, and they can also be used as a wrap for salads and meats.

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.

Potato lefse

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, these might be a little too specialized, even for me (update: I bought the rolling pin... sheepish grin).

Norwegian lefse potato crepes

What can you use to substitute for the lefse equipment? 


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 lefse. The original recipe makes 12 very large lefse. I made 24 smaller ones. It was so much easier for this beginner to handle.

Rolled up potato lefse


This recipe for potato lefse is from Beatrice Ojakangas and is from the amazing book Baking with Julia edited by Dorie Greenspan.  The book, published in 1995, is a collection of the recipes from Julia Child's PBS show where well known bakers would show Julia how to make their specialty.

Some of the contributing authors include Flo Braker, Marion Cunningham, Marcel Desaulniers, Johanne Killeen, Nick Malgieri, Alice Medrich, Joe Ortiz (who wrote the ground breaking bread book, The Village Baker), and my idol, Nancy Silverton.

It even has a wedding cake recipe contributed by Martha Stewart.

My Irish born husband loved these lefse slathered in butter and sprinkled with scallions. 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."

This week, the From Our Dinner Table group is sharing recipes using potatoes. Be sure to check out everyone's dishes using potatoes.

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Potato lefse is a Norwegian flat bread that is rolled out very thinly, and then baked on a very hot griddle. It looks like a crepe, but tastes like a buttered baked potato.  #lefse #potatoes #crepes



lefse, flatbread, potatoes
bread, flatbread
Norwegian
Yield: 12 large or 24 smaller lefse
Potato Lefse - Norwegian Flatbread

Potato Lefse - Norwegian Flatbread

ingredients

  • 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

instructions

  1. Cook the potatoes in enough water to cover, about 10 minutes. The potatoes should be fork tender, but not over cooked.
  2. Drain the potatoes and spread them out onto a baking dish to dry.
  3. Rice or grate the potatoes into a large bowl.
  4. Add the butter and stir until it is fully melted.
  5. Add the cream, sugar, and salt, and stir.
  6. Refrigerate uncovered overnight.
  7. When you are ready to make the lefses, prepare a work surface with a floured cloth. I wrapped a cutting board with a linen towel and then dusted it with flour.
  8. Place a terrycloth towel on your counter.
  9. 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.
  10. Divide the dough into 24 balls.
  11. Heat an ungreased griddle to 450 to 500 degrees F.
  12. 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.
  13. Place the lefse onto the terrycloth towel and cover with part of the towel, like an accordion.
  14. Serve warm, slathered in butter (my preference) or butter and cinnamon sugar. Jam and preserves work nicely here too. 
Created using The Recipes Generator

52 comments:

  1. I need this in my life. My grandma still sends me lefse each Thanksgiving and Christmas because I no longer live in Minnesota :) I never have made them because I thought the only way to make it was with the specific tools - but I'm very excited to hear you don't necessarily need them!

    I always ate it with butter and just plain white sugar.

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    1. Thanks Sarah =) Now you can try making them!

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  2. I should have made a full batch. These were fantastic! Your pictures are gorgeous!

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    1. They were much better than I expected too Monica. Thanks so much!

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  3. Yours turned out beautiful :)

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  4. Beautifully done :-) These were new to me, but I think I like them.
    I was very glad to be able to make these without any special tools - a Silpat mat, a long rolling pin, a cast iron skillet and a big fat spatula were all that was needed

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    1. I think I like them too. Especially slathered in butter. I'm not so sure about the hot dog idea =)

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  5. Half Norwegian here, and I have none of the specialized tools! :)

    Yummy lefse! Your pictures make me want to make a big floury mess in my kitchen all over again to make more. :)

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    1. Thank you Dawn. It was a big floury mess for sure!!!

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  6. Great looking lefses. I don't have any of the tools either and did fine without them. This was an interesting recipe to try. Glad they were so good! :)

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    1. Me too. At first I asked, "is this worth it?" They actually are great the next couple of days too thank goodness.

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  7. They look amazing!
    Who needs the specialized equipment when this result can be achieved with regular utensils and a bit of expertise for certain :)

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  8. I had a feeling you would be back! These are somewhat bread-like - a stretch, I know. ;)
    Your lefse looks amazing. I would have preferred smaller ones - good thinking!

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    1. I still have the cheesecake ingredients in my fridge =) The smaller size was so much easier.

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  9. Wow! I wasn't organised enough this week, but would love to make these in a make up week!

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    1. These were surprisingly good. I had to get back into TWD, and as much as I doubted this recipe, we've been thrilled.

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  10. they look terrific! I didn't have the tools either, but was glad to see they could be made with what I had in the kitchen already.

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  11. Great looking lefse! Now I going to google what is a baguette couche :)

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  12. Would have loved to see the video, but there was no link for it. :(

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    1. Hi! If you click on "this video" you should be taken to it. I just tried it and it worked. If it doesn't, then google Beatrice's name+Martha Stewart+lefse

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  13. I tried these last year but yours came out better

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  14. Even though I grew up in a Mennonite family on my maternal grandparent's side, I didn't experience lefse until college in the home of a sorority sister. We went with her mother to a German deli in the U District (University of Washington) and she bought several types of cured meats , mustard, and potato lefse. Back at their home, she rolled the meats up in lefse, poured us each a dark beer and said "Eat." It was love at first bite. I have always meant to learn how to make lefse but somehow never got around to it. Now you've pushed me over the edge. I might even buy all the special equipment. Yeah, I'm an equipment junkie too. Great post, thank you! :-)

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    1. Please let me know what you end up doing!! Especially if you get the extra equipment!

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  15. I love this recipe! 1. It's made with mashed potatoes. 2. Great subs for the specialized tools! I made lefse with my friends earlier this year for the first time. It was so much fun, but I never thought I would make these at home, since I don't have all the tools, and only recipe I found asks for potato flakes. Now, I'm going to try this recipe out!

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    1. Thanks so much! Let me know how it turns out!

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  16. Wow very impressive. I would love to make some in the near future. I bet they taste way way better than store bought!

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  17. Very interesting. For years I've been trying without success to find info on a recipe my Grandma made when I was a little kid, back in the 50's-60's. It looks and sounds very much like this lefse. Only issue is that Grandma came from Czechoslovakia! Does anyone, given suspected similarity to lefse, have any insight into what Grandma made for us, I do believe she used leftover potatoes, and we did butter them but definitely no cinnamon.

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  18. Wow. These look ah-mazing. And the possibilities for what else to do with them are endless! They kind of remind me of a thin onion pancake that my grandmother used to make (German-inspired). We roll ours around German potato salad, or slather with sour cream. I will definitely have to try this version!

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    1. Thanks Dee Dee! That onion pancake sounds amazing!

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  19. wow, these sounds absolutely wonderful!

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  20. I love these - so old fashioned and wonderful. I'd love to try them. I had to laugh at the thought of a special rolling pin, a lefse griddle and a lefse stick - even you and I, as gadget-crazed as we are, can't imagine having those.

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    1. Not to mention the fabric covered "round!" Right?

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  21. Oh my gosh Karen...these sound amazing...you continue to impress me each and every day.

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  22. I love lefse! We do not make them at our house, but a have friends that make them for Christmas and I just love them!

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  23. This potato nut can't wait to try these lefses!

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  24. I've never had these but I want to make them now. They sound so good.

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  25. Wow! Yum. The only time I've ever had lefse was in Norway...wrapped around a hot dog. So interesting. I'll have to give yoursa try soon.

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    1. I have heard of the hot dog wrapped in lefse but haven't tried it yet!

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  26. Your husband and I have a lot in common with our Irish roots and I am with him as I need these lefse! We eat a crazy amount of potatoes and always have extra! I make gnocchi and now I must make these tasty treats! They would be great with a good beef stew also! yummo!

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    1. I need to learn how to make gnocchi. It is on my bucket list!

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  27. I had to check out the lefse rolling pin. It worked really well in the video I watched! I'm sure we'd love these I've probably fill them with eggs and spinach, but a hot dog sounds pretty good, too!

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