Monday, December 20, 2010

How To Make Lefse

Here in German/Polish Wisconsin, the only lefse I've ever seen in a grocery store is a downright embarrassment to the real deal. Thick and square and cracks when you try to roll it up. That's why when we drove out to my mom's in Minnesota a few weeks ago to pick up my grandmother, we also picked up my mom's lefse grill, rolling pins and other lefse making tools. Plus Grandma Dee of course. Not a Norwegian herself, but one of the best lefse makers nonetheless. My grandfather was the Norwegian of the family and he loved lefse. He also loved Lutefisk but that's one Norwegian food I refuse to eat.

So with Grandma Dee here and all of the lefse making tools, we started by making a batch of 5 pounds of potatoes, yielding 2 dozen sheets of lefse. In less than one week, all of it was gone, so we peeled 10 more pounds of potatoes and started again. (The following photos are a combination of both rounds of Lefse-Palooza 2010.)

After boiling the potatoes until soft, rice the hot potatoes to make sure there are no lumps.
After ricing, mix in the cream, butter, sugar and salt, then chill overnight.

Divide the mashed potato mixture into 4 parts (8 if making a 10 pound batch) and add the flour. The recipe called for 1/2 cup but I think I ended up using a little more than that. Basically, the dough needs to hold together when you squeeze it and not be too sticky.
Next, prepare the tools. Heat up the grill to high or close to high for the first one then adjust accordingly after that. Next prep the rolling surface. The rolling surface would be the big round board with the cotton cover. Slide the rolling pin cover over the grooved rolling pin and flour the hell out of everything. I mean it, lots of flour or the potato mix will stick and leave a wet spot that will continue to stick for each piece of lefse you try to roll out. So bottom line, stock up on flour and get over the fact that your house will be covered in a layer of flour dust when you're finished. So much flour that the red lettering on the rolling board should not be visible.
Take a small handful of the potato mixture and roll it into a ball. Flatten the ball onto the board and start rolling it out into a circle making sure there is enough flour on the board and also the pin. Once the lefse is rolled out thin enough that you can see your hand through it when you lift it up, gently slide the lefse turning stick under it and very carefully lift it up (and make a little wish that it doesn't fall apart in transport) and move it over to the grill, turning the stick to lay it flat.

Cook on the grill until the underside is dotted with golden brown bubbles, then flip and cook the other side.

After both sides are brown and beautiful, remove from the grill and stack the hot lefse between clean kitchen towels.
Sometimes the lefse doesn't always turn out so round and beautiful. Sometimes it looks like Pac Man
But it all tastes delicious!
Lefse Recipe
5 pounds potatoes peeled, boiled and riced.
1 cup cream
3 T Butter
2 T Sugar
1 T Salt
2 Cups or more flour

Combine all ingredients except flour and chill. Divide potato mixture into 4 parts. Add 1/2 cup flour to each part when ready to roll. Flour board and pin well and roll out thin then carefully transfer to the grill turning once then stack between towels until cool. Fold and wrap in plastic then freeze the extras. Makes 2 dozen.

Updated: After all those photos and directions, I forgot to add how to eat the darn stuff. Oops! We like to roll it up with butter and sugar or cinnamon sugar but you could use jam or even thinly sliced ham and cheese for lunch.


Wild Child said...

Remind us what to eat in/on lefse. Yum!

Wild Child said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shady Lady said...

Looks delicious! Wonder if there's a gluten free version... Of course, you and Grandma Dee would have to fly out to Oregon to help with the process. :)

Aliceson said...

Oops! We like ours rolled up with butter and sugar.

LL Cool Joe said...

Love the set of photos! Now that looks tasty. I'd happily eat a Packman too. :D

Riot Kitty said...

Yum! We lived in MN until I was six and had many neighbors who made this.

I love your grandma's apron, too :)

Wild Child said...

BTW, the post I removed was somehow a double post. You'll have to tell me how the hot whiskeys go over on Christmas Eve. If it is snowing like they say it will be, these will be perfect for warming hands and insides. :)

Cindy Dahl said...

I was searing Google pictures for a picture of lefse and ran across a picture of Dee. I worked with Dee at Pillsbury for nine years and became good friends of Dee and Conrad.

Glad to see that you have learned the skill of lefse making from her. I am new to lefse myself. Thanks for sharing the story, pictures and memories! Happy lefse making! Cindy Dahl, Grand Forks