Norwegian Lefse Story
This Lefse Story is all about an old traditional food of Norway. Ones again, the Norwegians have given one of their old favorite foods many names.
A dear child has many names, and Norwegian Lefse is no exception.
This "ole" Norwegian traditional food is called lefse, lefsa, lopse, lumpe, kline, klinge, and more. Sometimes it is shaped thin and soft, and sometimes it is thick and soft, and would you believe some varieties are thin and crisp.
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Lefse is a wafer-like thin bread, and sometimes it is not, but it is always flat and round.
Some types of lefse are made with potatoes and some are not. Because there are so many interesting varieties, you will find links to recipes for some of them at the end of this page.
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In Norway, certain kinds of lefse can be purchased at the supermarket, but even today, Norwegian homemakers bake them at home. In the United States, with over 53 million Norwegian descendants, the lefse-baking tradition is very strong.
How to bake lefse:
These days, lefse is usually baked on an electric griddle, "lefse baker" (takke in Norwegian), but not always.
If you don't have a griddle, you can bake smaller size lefse in an ungreased cast-iron frying pan.
In "the olden days" all flat-baked foods (flatbakst), such as lefse, småbrød (also called rømmebrød/sour cream bread, because it is made with sour cream), and flatbrød, was made in Eldhuset, a special, separate house utilized for preparing foods.
Flatbrød was and still is at times served with dinner, it is not a dessert-type bread. Many varieties of lefse:
Thin, crisp lefse (without potatoes), småbrød and flatbrød, require no refrigeration, but must be kept dry and stored in an airtight container.
The reason I say thin is because there are thicker, soft varieties, as well, that require refrigeration, such as, Hardangerlefse, Nordlandslefse, and Mørlefse.
How to prepare dry, crisp lefse:
To prepare crisp lefse (without potatoes) for serving, you must first dip the lefse into a bowl of lukewarm water and place it between paper towels or dish towels to absorb excess water and wait a few minutes.
Instead of dunking the lefse in warm water, I watched my mom holding dry lefse under running lukewarm water and then place them on a large dish towel and put paper towels between the layers. In minutes they were ready for being spread with butter, cinnamon, and sugar. YUMMY!
The many ways to prepare and enjoy lefse:
The traditional way is to spread lefse with butter and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on it. To serve, roll them up and cut them at an angle, and enjoy. (see picture above)
All lefse varieties can easily be used to make appetizers and sandwiches. Fill them with your favorite hard or soft cheeses or spreads, salads, kinds of seafood, or meats.
Potato lefse lends itself well to making lovely canapés, because of its pliability and large surface.
Spread colorful, tasty fillings directly on the surface and roll them up. Cut them into 1-1/2 to 2" size pieces and poke a toothpick through each piece to hold it together.
Arrange them with black or green olives, grape tomato, green or red pepper, and maybe a small sprig of parsley, use your imagination. Use color and shapes to make an appetizing treat.
It's easy to create an attractive and delicious presentation utilizing seafood or other fillings without interfering with the flavor of lefse.
Potato lefse is a favorite with lutefisk lovers. "Can't have lutefisk without lefse"- "u no". My cousin Adora has a great recipe for this one.
Nordlandslefse, another " Norwegian deliciousness", is about 1/4 inch thick and is a soft variety. You don't need a griddle to bake this one. It can be baked on a cookie sheet in the oven or on an iron frying pan.
I'd like to say that Norlanslefse is my favorite, but in reality, ALL LEFSE are my favorites.
Mom baked them in the oven, but also on a griddle, takke, in Norwegian.
This variety can be served in many ways as well. The Norwegian traditional way is to spread it with butter and sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top. It requires refrigeration and will freeze well. Believe me, it is so delicious you can dream about it, at least I do.
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Potato Lefse Recipe
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