Norwegian Potato Flatbread Lefsa

My recipes are grain free, refined sugar free, and many are dairy free. I am a lot more confident this year than last year. I started my dietary journey a year ago in October. Last year I was a lot more depressed and dreaded the holidays as there were so many things I could not have or didn’t think I could make. What a difference a year has made. This year I only see opportunities to recreate my families favorite dishes but without grains, refined sugar and limiting my dairy. My journey to create a better health for me and to heal some if not all of my autoimmune illnesses. I won’t bore you with my illness list.

This year I am excited to have most of my Scandinavian traditional foods. I am still working on getting a couple of recipes just right. I will be disappointed if I can’t convert all my traditional recipes to be grain free. The holidays just won’t be the same without them. I not only getting ready for Thanksgiving but for Sankta Lucia (Santa Lucia), and Christmas. I normally make a traditional Swedish Julbord (Swedish Christmas Smorgasbord) with some adjustments for a small family. I am excited to share these upcoming recipes with all of you.

My mother is from Sweden and my husband’s mother is full blooded Norwegian. We both grew up eating traditional Scandinavian food. We both ate Lefsa growing up. My mom had Norwegian friends who would make us some and give it to us. Or if we went to a Son’s Of Norway or Daughter’s of Norway event then there was always Lefsa. My kids have grown up eating it as well. My husband’s Norwegian grandmother who lived to be over 100 used to make Lefsa all the time. What is Lefsa you ask? It is a traditional Norwegian flatbread made with riced potatoes. The first breads of the world would have been flatbreads. Most countries around the world have a flatbread and are some of the oldest recipes known to man.

If you are of Scandinavian decent then you already know what Lefsa is and it is a part of every holiday menu. Lefsa is eaten by Norwegian and Swedes and probably the rest of Scandinavia. It is just not Thanksgiving or Christmas without Lefsa.  While it’s a tradition there are places in my town where we can purchase frozen Lefsa. The most popular places to purchase premade Lefsa in the USA are places in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and probably elsewhere. I used to make Lefsa every year. I have been making Lefsa for over thirty years. This year I did not want to feel deprived. I put my mind to it that I was going to create a grain free recipe. I was excited and hesitant. I wanted so badly for it to turn out. Success it was delicious.

Lefsa recipes are heirloom recipes among Scandinavian families. They are handed down from generation to generation. While there are places that you can purchase Lefsa most families still make it today it is a part of their holiday traditions.

I wish I could tell you that it was easier than the white flour version. If you have never made Lefsa before it is not for the faint of heart. If you have made it before then you know how frustrating Lefsa is to make as it often sticks or tears and then have to reroll, sometimes again and again. But if you manage to get a piece of grain free Lefsa to the griddle and it tears slightly just gently push it back together with your fingers but be careful as the griddle will be hot (this seems to be a little more forgiving than the white flour version). Making Lefsa is a lot of work and tradition but eating fresh Lefsa off of a warm griddle with butter melting on it and cinnamon sugar is such a decadent treat. Of course when Lefsa is being made everyone in the household wants at the very least one piece right off the griddle.

I am not sure how long Lefsa has been around there are some who say it the original goes back to Viking times. I could not find any evidence to support that claim. We do know that Norwegian immigrants brought it to the states where it is still made the traditional way sometimes from hundreds of years ago. Originally it was made on hot iron griddles. Today there are electric griddles and that is what I use.

There seems to be a debate on how to eat Lefsa. I have found that most Norwegians prefer their Lefsa with a smear of butter and a little sugar. If going refined sugar free might I suggest a little sprinkling of monk fruit sweetener. Yet most Swedes prefer to eat Lefsa with cinnamon sugar. Hence the Great Lefsa debate simple sugar or cinnamon sugar. If going refined sugar free might I suggest coconut sugar with a little cinnamon add to it. These are the traditional ways to eat lefsa. You can serve as an appetizer if you cut a lefsa (with butter and sugar or cinnamon sugar) into pieces add toothpicks if needed.

To make Lefsa you can use other equipment other than the Norwegian tools but I have never made it that way so would be no help in giving any advice on how to. The traditional tools are a potato masher ricer, a cloth covered pastry board with a removable cloth that you can wash, Lefsa rolling pin with grooves around it, a painted Lefsa stick and I use an electric Lefsa griddle. If you already have these items in your home you are all set to make my grain free version of Lefsa. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family.

This dough still sticks to the Lefsa rolling pin just not as bad as with regular flour. I did find that clean up was a little easier with the grain free version. I did have a harder time getting my lefsa into a circle. I tried to get them as round as possible. Please only use Swan Potato Flour in this recipe.

Nutritional Facts are for 30 pieces and listed below and does not include butter and sugar or cinnamon sugar.

 

8 cups potatoes

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup butter

1 1/2 cup cassava flour

1 cup potato flour

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Peel and cut up about 4 large potatoes. (after peeling and cutting three potatoes I realized I needed another potato to get 8 cups riced.)

 

 

Cook potatoes with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook until the potatoes are cooked through. Don’t overcook the potatoes as they will be too watery to use. Drain potatoes right away so they won’t soak up any more water.

*Note (You may want to keep potato water for gravies or soups.)

 

 

 

Allow potatoes to cool slightly. You will need two containers to rice the potatoes into. Rice potatoes while still warm into the first bowl then rice the potatoes again into the second bowl. Rice potatoes 3 – 4 times for the fluffiest potatoes.

 

 

Once the potatoes are riced a first time put them through the ricer a second, third and maybe even a 4th time. Once they are riced for the last time add cream, butter, cassava flour, potato flour, and salt together. Once combined well divide into balls. Knead each ball for about 1 minute. Next, make balls out of the dough approximately 4 oz.  I ended up with 30.

 

LaRena's Corner
Lefsa Dough

 

Pull out your Lefsa making tools. Pull out your Lefsa rolling pin and Lefsa stick. If using an electric Lefsa griddle pull it out and plug it in and preheat to around 350 F and 450F. I cooked mine at 450. Use a Lefsa board with a removable pastry cloth and prep it by lightly flouring it with extra potato flour.

 

 

 

Next using a Lefsa Rolling Pin roll out each lefsa ball into a thin round of about 8 – 10 inches around.

 

 

Using your Lefsa stick very carefully slide under the Lefsa. Using the Lefsa stick gently roll the Lefsa off the stick and onto the griddle.

 

 

Bake until lightly browned approximately 3 minutes and then using Lefsa stick gently pick up the Lefsa and flip it over. Bake until the other side is lightly browned. Remove lefsa and place on a plate. Stack with the remaining Lefsa you will make onto of the plate.

 

 

*Notes place a little potato flour on the side and place a small amount on the pastry board and each dough ball. Then carefully roll out with a Lefsa Rolling pin. If Lefsa should crack while on the griddle squish together with fingers. Be careful as griddle is hot.

While the Lefsa is cooking on the griddle roll out the next piece of Lefsa onto the cloth covered Lefsa board. Be careful not to forget to about the Lefsa on the griddle. Continue rolling and baking on the griddle until all the dough has been made into Lefsa.

When Lefsa dough is all cooked allow it to cool (that is if it lasts that long).

To eat spread with butter and sugar or coconut cinnamon sugar combination.

 

 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 30.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 158
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10 g 15 %
Saturated Fat 6 g 31 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 27 mg 9 %
Sodium 25 mg 1 %
Potassium 218 mg 6 %
Total Carbohydrate 18 g 6 %
Dietary Fiber 1 g 6 %
Sugars 37 g
Protein 1 g 3 %
Vitamin A 8 %
Vitamin C 10 %
Calcium 1 %
Iron 4 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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