The Lefse Purity League

Husband and I rolled out about 75 sheets of lefse on Halloween.  Husband considers us lefse purists. We would never use mashed potato  flakes, as many do, in our lefse. We try to use store-bought, ND grown russet potatoes along with white potatoes we grow in the garden. My recipe calls for lard, and we use our own home-rendered lard, as well as organic heavy cream, sugar,  and flour. We rice the dough twice.  The recipe is one I got from a local church member who got it in California  from a Jewish woman married to a man of Norwegian heritage. It doesn’t get much funkier than this.

I rolled out the dough and put it on the griddles. Husband fried and flipped and transferred the lefse to towels to cool.  We used two griddles. This year we realized that one of our griddles was defective, so that meant a quick trip to Ace Hardware for a new one, along with another flipping stick. ( I got tired of sharing the one we had with Husband as he fried and flipped.) We now have his and hers flipping sticks.

I have two pastry boards, three pastry board covers, and multiple cotton covers for my lefse rolling pin.  The pastry board and covers are great for rolling out pie crusts, too. You can’t let the cloth get damp or the dough sticks and you get holes in your lefse. It is really important to keep the dough as cold as possible before you roll it out. I know that I have rolled it thin enough when I can vaguely see through the dough the red letters imprinted on the pastry board cover that say Bethany Pastry Cloth. This is an Iowa company that sells everything you need for lefse making.

All my relatives identified as being of German heritage. None of my relatives  ever made lefse. I learned to make lefse here in ND, in a German church with very few people of Norwegian heritage, but many who insist on making lefse every year.  I am continually amused as  keeps reassessing my DNA  and now tells me my DNA is 17% Swedish.  I don’t know if Swedes make lefse, but I know what lefse is supposed to be like.  Mashed potato flakes indeed!

For what will you accept no substitutes? What equipment do you have that you consider essential?

47 thoughts on “The Lefse Purity League”

  1. Renee, I do believe that Swedes make and eat lefse. An old friend used to talk about the Swedish taco, which his family ate as Thanksgiving leftovers: lefse base, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, lingonberries. Fold and eat.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Anytime a traditional food jumps the pond, there’s no predicting who all will adopt or transform it to incorporate it into their own culinary tradition. Some people will call that appropriation, but I don’t think cooks anywhere care what it’s called so long as it’s tasty. Flatbreads of various traditions make excellent pizzas, I see no reason lefse couldn’t be used as a base for one. I would think that a gravlax pizza would make perfect sense, at least it would to me.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Good morning! I laughed at the term “lefse purest“ but I am a “tool snob“ so I can relate.
    Just yesterday I bought myself a new hammer. I had a hammer in my tool belt, just a regular 20 ounce claw hammer, and I set it down one day while working at the theater and have not found it since. So I have been using hammers from the theater, and they work just fine. But they’re kind of cheap. And they’re not “my” hammer.
    And as long as I saving big money anyway, I bought myself a new hammer. It’s a nice, made in the USA, 20 ounce, ripping hammer. (A ripping hammer just means the claw on the back is flatter rather than curled. Good for using to claw and ripping at things, the more curved claw is better for pulling nails. Although both work for both jobs.)
    It was also a last ditch effort to find my old hammer.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. It makes me crazy when Husband is in the middle of doing something in the kitchen and stops because he can’t find just the right knife or tool he thinks he needs for the job, regardless of whether there is a time or stove issue.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. After years of getting those little cuts on my hands from trying to clean out cans for recycling, I bought one of those smooth edge can openers. It’s pretty cool invention. Another advantage is the if you are trying to get the last bit of tomato paste out of the can with a spatula, the spatula doesn’t catch at the top of the can – there’s no little ridge there.

    I guess I am just more of a canned goods cook than a home-rendered lard type cook.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. “I will accept no wine before it’s time!” (Anyone remember who said that?)

    Since I’m a ‘moderation in all things” guy, I can’t think of anything that’s a “must-have” or an “only this will suffice.” I do laugh at my golf buddies who only play one type of golf ball and insist on using a new golf ball to start every round. What a waste of money! I haven’t purchased a golf ball in more than 20 years (I win a few sleeves now and then in league, and I find dozens of gently used balls in the weeds, ponds, and woods in our course. The best round of golf I ever shot in my life was with a used Top-Flite XL2000 ball, widely considered at the time to be only worthy of the worst players. Pfft! As long as it’s round and has dimples, it’s good enough for me.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 5 people

      1. My niece likes white wine, but doesn’t like chardonnay. She is a sauvignon blanc person. She hates anything that is described as “buttery”…although I always think “buttery” sounds kinda good.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I used to be “into” chardonnay back in the 90s. I think I drank so much that I got bored with it. So many seemed to taste the same. It’s still one of my least favorite white wines.



  5. Fun discussion!
    I will no longer substitute margarine for butter, unless I’m cooking for someone with dairy allergies, and then it has to be Earth Balance or something.

    Equipment: My hand held egg beater – works in many recipes that say to use a mixer, and I’ve always enjoyed the sound of it and the vibration. And I now have the perfect bowl with a non-skid bottom.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Interesting the origin of your lefse recipe, Renee. I’ve probably mentioned before the my Grandma Britson’s recipe has no potatoes (which is why I didn’t know about ricing them). She landed, at age 16, in Roland Iowa, a Norwegian “colony” if ever there was one, and apparently learned a version out of the norm…

    Is the home-rendered lard difficult, Renee? Rendered from what?
    If I’d known, you could have had my griddle – I doubt that I will ever make it again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We got some really lovely pork fat last year from a farmers market in Minneapolis. I cut it into really small pieces and put it in the crockpot until it melted and any non-fat stuff dropped to the bottom and all the liquid rose to the top. I poured it into jars and froze it. It is oddly healthy, unlike grocery store lard which is hydrogenated.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. It is important to get really fresh fat, preferably leaf lard, or the fat around the pig kidney. It is hard to come by.


  7. I have way too many kitchen toys and studio art tools so I’m not even sure where to start with this one. In the kitchen it would be my stand mixer and my food processor. In my studio, I use my die cut machine on almost every card I make so I’m guessing that would have to be one of my most useful tools in there.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Today I am researching a tool for my grandma’s flatbread recipe. She used a checkered-patterned rolling pin which I have found online. I may purchase the toll and make the flatbread for the upcoming holidays. We have decided today that we will huddle in the house for a few weeks while we wait for COVID to pass. I will work from home, and go out in my mask and my shield with hand sanitizer in hand.

    Liked by 2 people

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