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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.

In Norway, it is called lopse, lefse, lefsa, 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.

It is a wafer-like 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.

More of my lefse story...
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 always. 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.

If you don't have a griddle, you can make smaller size lefse and bake them in a cast-iron frying pan.

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 that there are thicker, soft varieties 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 dunk it 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, I watched my mom holding dry lefse under running lukewarm water and then place them on a large dish towel and place paper towels between the layers.

Ways to prepare and serve lefse:
Spread lefse with butter and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on it. To serve, roll them up and cut them at an angle. (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 for making lovely canapés, because of its pliability and large surface.

Spread colorful fillings directly on the surface and roll them. Cut it into 1-1/2 to 2" size pieces and stick a toothpick through it 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.

Most fillings can be used without interfering with the flavor of lefse. It is very easy to use to make an attractive and delicious presentation.

Potato lefse is a favorite with lutefisk lovers. "Can't have lutefisk without lefse". My cousin Adora has a great recipe for this one.

Nordlandslefse 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.

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.

Hope you enjoyed my little lefse story.

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Foods of Norway
Nordlandslefse
Potato Lefse Recipe

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