Lefse is a traditional soft, Norwegian flatbread. Lefse is made out of flour
, and milk
(or sometimes lard
), and cooked on a griddle. Traditional lefse does not include potato
, but it is commonly added to make a thicker dough that is easier to work with. Special tools are available for lefse baking, including long wooden turning sticks and special rolling pins with deep grooves.
There are many ways of flavoring lefse. The most common is adding butter to the lefse and rolling it up. In Norway, this is known as "lefse-klenning". Other options include adding cinnamon and/or sugar, or spreading jelly, lingonberries or gomme on it. Scandinavian-American variations include rolling it with a thin layer of peanut butter and sugar, with butter and white or brown sugar, with butter and corn syrup, or with ham and eggs. Also eaten with beef and other savory items like Ribberull and mustard, it is comparable to a thin tortilla. Lefse is a traditional accompaniment to lutefisk, and the fish is often rolled up in the lefse.
There are significant regional variations in Norway in the way lefse is made and eaten, but it generally resembles a flatbread, although in many parts of Norway, especially Valdres, it is far thinner.
(thin lefse) is a variation made in central Norway. Tynnlefse is rolled up with butter
(or with butter and brown sugar
Tjukklefse or tykklefse is thicker and often served with coffee as a cake.
Potetlefse (potato lefse) is often used in place of a hot-dog bun and can be used to roll up sausages. This is also known as pølse med lompe in Norway, lompe being the "smaller-cousin" of the potato lefse.
Møsbrømlefse is a variation common to Salten district in Nordland in North Norway. Møsbrømmen consists of half water and half the cheese smooth with flour or corn flour to a half thick sauce that greased the cooled lefse. Lefse is ready when møsbrømmen is warm and the butter is melted
Lefse in the United States
Lefse is a Scandinavian treat that is especially popular around the holidays. Many Scandinavian-Americans eat lefse primarily around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Family members often gather to cook lefse as a group effort because the process is more enjoyable as a traditional holiday activity. This gathering also provides training to younger generations keeping the tradition alive.
The town of Starbuck, Minnesota, is the home of the world's largest lefse. In some parts of the United States, including Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Oregon and Washington, lefse is available in grocery stores. Norsland Lefse, a factory in Rushford, Minnesota, produces about a half million rounds of lefse each year.