Simple Norwegian Lefse Recipe

Scandinavian lefse is a traditional Norwegian-style potato flatbread that could be considered the region’s version of a tortilla, or, as recipe developer Miriam Hahn describes it, a “doughy, moist pita bread” (only without the pocket). Lefse is typically made with fresh potatoes, and making it using the traditional method can be kind of a hassle as it’s not all that easy to get the dough just right. Here, however, Hahn uses mashed potato flakes: “They save a huge step and really simplify this recipe.”

Lefse, on their own, don’t have a great deal of flavor since they are primarily composed of flour and potatoes, but they’re typically eaten with butter and maybe with jelly or a sprinkle of sugar. Hahn also suggests serving them with peanut butter or honey and says they can also be used to make wrap sandwiches. You could even use them for gyros or tacos — think Scandinavian fusion!

Gather the ingredients for Norwegian lefse

Apart from the potato flakes, the rest of the lefse ingredients are basic staples. You’ll be using flour and salt from the pantry, water from the tap, and milk and butter from the fridge.

Make the lefse dough

Heat the water, butter, and salt in a pot over medium heat. Once the mixture starts to boil, turn off the stove. Stir in the milk, then pour this mixture into a bowl with the potato flakes. Stir it up, then knead in the flour, 2 tablespoons at a time.

Chill and form the lefse

Take the dough and form it into a cylinder, about 10 inches long. Wrap the log in plastic and stick it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Once the dough is chilled, unwrap it and slice it into 20 equal-sized pieces. Flatten each piece into a circle on a piece of waxed or parchment paper. Top the paper with another piece, then roll the lefse until it’s as thin and flat as you can get it (as long as the resulting circle still fits in the pan).

cook the lefse

Heat up an ungreased cast iron skillet or an electric skillet on high, then, when it’s hot, take a rolled piece of lefse and put it in the pan. Using a fork, knife, or spatula, lift it up around the edges to ensure it doesn’t stick. After 40 to 50 seconds, check to see if the underside of the lefse has charred or brown spots. If so, flip it and cook it for another 30 seconds, or until the other side appears to be similarly charred. Repeat the process for all 20 pieces, storing the cooked lefse under a damp towel as you go.

Hahn does say that the dough can be made in advance, advising that it be wrapped in plastic and stored in the fridge for up to a few days before you slice, roll, and cook. As far as cooked leftovers go, she says to keep them in an airtight container with some paper towels to absorb excess moisture. To reheat them, you can wrap them in a vapor paper towel and cook them in the microwave. That way, Hahn says, “they stay nice and moist.”

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