Saturday, January 3, 2009

Making Potato Lefse

Since my family has grown with the next two generations, my siblings and I do not all get together for Christmas like we used to. Instead we spend the holiday with our own children and grandchildren. We decided several years ago to start another tradition, the combination Family Heritage Fest/Celebration of our Mother's Birthday. Her birthday is December 28th, so we set a time as close to that date as we can. Our heritage is northern European, chiefly Swedish, Norwegian and German. We try to incorporate some ethnic foods in our fest feast. I am the lefse maker in the family. Potato lefse starts with mashed potatoes, made the usual way, with salt, butter and milk. This is about four cups of mashed potatoes. The potatoes must be completely chilled. Then I add just enough flour to make a dough that can be shaped and rolled out. I added about one and a half cups of flour to this mix. The trick is to add the least amount of flour possible to the dough and then keep lots of flour on the rolling surface. I have an old cotton flour sack that fits perfectly over a pull out cutting board. Shape the dough into balls.
Roll out each ball as thinly as possible, trying to keep the shape as round as possible. Keep adding flour to prevent sticking to the cloth or the rolling pin. You will end up with flour all over the place. It's just part of the process!
A special lefse stick is used to slip under the dough circle and lift it onto the griddle.
When brown spots form on the bottom, flip it over to cook the other side.
Get a buddy to help. It's more fun and much easier.
Stack the cooked lefse rounds to cool, keeping them covered with a towel so they won't dry out. You want them to stay soft.
When the cooking is complete, you can wrap the completed rounds in plastic and refrigerate until you prepare them for serving. To serve:
Brush each round with melted butter.
Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Cut the circle into wedges and roll each wedge.
Before serving, warm the lefse in the microwave (just like the ancestors did, of course.)
Stand back and watch it dissapear. The big kids love it, and so do the little ones.


  1. hey I could do that. but looks like a lot of work. I like making swedish pancakes and they are somewhat like that but without the potatoes. the grownups look a little dismayed at your offering but the little one is enjoying it. fun tradition.

  2. It is a lot of work!
    I caught the big kids in a bad pose, but they are responsible for the mound being diminished in the dish. That's why they are hovering at the counter.

  3. I love cinnamon sugar! Mmmm. I think the hardest part of the job is rolling the dough so that it doesn't tear or get too thin.

  4. Well. it certaintly looked like you had a great Christmas in Colorado. And celebrating a day for the rest of the family is a gread idea.

    I visited Sunlight Beach the other day and was disheartened by the burned out house. What a lot of work ahead of them. MB

  5. That is a lot of work, but they look the last

  6. Mmmmm.... that looks so delicious and so tempting to make.

  7. Oh, man, that looks like a lot of work but something that once a year is worth doing for the family. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the techniques. A picture is worth a thousand words when describing a cooking process. I'm going to try these for an appetizer this year. Again, thanks for sharing. Joann

  8. I am impressed big time! You deserve a halo for that one.

  9. They look delicious and right now I'm starved! But at least for tonight I'll have to settle for something that requires a less time and a whole lot less patience. They're beautiful and I just wish I could reach into one of those photos and snitch one! Thanks for a great post!

  10. These definitely looked good enough to steal a few off the plate when the cook isn't looking. I'm afraid my family will just have to settle for flour tortillas, fried in butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar. These past several years have seen me become the not so proud queen of a very lazy kitchen.

    What I love most of all is that it's a family trsadition. Family traditions are the BEST of all memories. They bring smiles, a sense of security and belonging to something important.

    You truly do have a wonderful family life, Linda. I love reading about it!

  11. What an excellent presentation and demonstration. Well done Linda! - Dave

  12. Oh wonderful.. I think I'll make some, they look so good, yum. I love seeing your cooking, and recipes, helpers and the crew that demolishes it all.. lol

    Keep up the good work!


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