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Subject: --> Rolling Boards for Potato Lefse -- Need recommendations/advice
Newsgroups: rec.food.baking,rec.food.cooking,rec.food.equipment,soc.culture.nordic

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From: noring[at]netcom.com (Jon Noring)
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 1996 21:08:19 GMT
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Hello,

As a proud Norwegian-American, I love potato lefse.  Potato lefse, for those
of you not familiar with it, is a sort of "soft tortilla" which uses a mashed
potato and flour dough.

But there's one problem.  The dough is *extremely* sticky.  Trying to roll it
out to be tortilla thin is very difficult.  For several years I used a well-
floured pastry cloth, but this never really worked that well (and it was a
pain in the kazisky to use).  No matter how careful I was, the dough would
always stick.  I'd end up having to flour the pastry cloth so much that the
texture and final flavor of the lefse became too "floury" for my taste.  I
also could not roll the lefse thin enough.  And after making about 20-30
lefse, the pastry cloth would be so trashed with stuck on dough that I'd
have to stop making lefse and do the unforgiveable and wash the pastry cloth.

Thus, I'd like to know if modern technology has produced a rolling board and
rolling pin with a surface that is *very* resistant, even impervious, to the
sticking of the stickiest potato lefse dough.  It must be superior to a well-
floured pastry cloth in this regard, which I've concluded does not work as
I want.

I'm sure I'll get feedback on tricks on how to use traditional equipment to
get the dough not to stick, but likely these tips will just add to the
complexity and time it takes to make lefse (but share them anyway).  I'm
hoping that modern technology has solved the problem of sticking dough and
would allow me to make lefse easy and painlessly.

Fortunately, I've solved the problem of cooking the lefse -- as a former
Minnesotan, I'm a proud owner of a Bethany Fellowship Lefse gridle which
works great (sadly, I've heard this gridle is no longer being sold -- it was
probably the best thing on the market to make lefse, cook pancakes, make
bacon, etc. -- the ultimate cooking surface.  Does anybody else make
something similar?)

Thanks.

Jon Noring

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From: rhall2[at]umbc.edu (hall robert)
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Jon Noring wrote:
>Thus, I'd like to know if modern technology has produced a rolling board and
>rolling pin with a surface that is *very* resistant, even impervious, to the
>sticking of the stickiest potato lefse dough.  It must be superior to a well-
>floured pastry cloth in this regard, which I've concluded does not work as
>I want.

I've had the same problem. In my efforts to keep the lefse from
sticking, I throw so much rye flour around that the whole kitchen
is covered in flour. There is such a thing as a teflon covered
rolling pin. But I've never tried one and can't tell you what
happens when the unstickable object meets the unremovable substance.

>Fortunately, I've solved the problem of cooking the lefse -- as a former
>Minnesotan, I'm a proud owner of a Bethany Fellowship Lefse gridle which
>works great (sadly, I've heard this gridle is no longer being sold -- it was
>probably the best thing on the market to make lefse, cook pancakes, make
>bacon, etc. -- the ultimate cooking surface.  Does anybody else make
>something similar?)

Lucky devil. Did you know that when you burn lefse in a frying
pan, the burned part looks exactly like bread mold? Imagine a
stack of what appears to be moldy lefse.

Bob Hall

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From: trudifru[at]ix.netcom.com (TRUDIE FRASER URISH)
Date: 10 Nov 1996 17:31:25 GMT
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Jon Noring wrote:
>Thus, I'd like to know if modern technology has produced a rolling board and
>rolling pin with a surface that is *very* resistant, even impervious, to the
>sticking of the stickiest potato lefse dough.  It must be superior to a well-
>floured pastry cloth in this regard, which I've concluded does not work as
>I want.

try this....i didn't have access to my marble rolling pin to make a
thin thin pizza crust (tortilla thin), so i used an ice cold filled
plastic water bottle (liter size, label removed). it worked so well i
now keep one in the fridge just for that purpose! trud.

Khatak

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From: Foundation for Health Services Research 
Date: Sun, 10 Nov 1996 20:26:38 -0800
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Jon Noring wrote:

> As a proud Norwegian-American, I love potato lefse.  Potato lefse, for 
> those of you not familiar with it, is a sort of "soft tortilla" which 
> uses a mashed potato and flour dough.

The most common name for this flat eat in this country is "lompe". It is what we 
normally will wrap around our hot dogs (or warm pølse "sausage" as it is called 
here, aka "Ei varm pølse med lompe og ketsjup og sennep. Takk." to keep our 
hands unburnt and contain the ketchup, etc.

> But there's one problem. The dough is *extremely* sticky. Trying to roll it
> out to be tortilla thin is very difficult. For several years I used a well-
> floured pastry cloth, but this never really worked that well (and it was a
> pain in the kazisky to use). No matter how careful I was, the dough would
> always stick. I'd end up having to flour the pastry cloth so much that the
> texture and final flavor of the lefse became too "floury" for my taste. I
> also could not roll the lefse thin enough. And after making about 20-30
> lefse, the pastry cloth would be so trashed with stuck on dough that I'd
> have to stop making lefse and do the unforgiveable and wash the pastry cloth. 

This, folks, is suffering. What is a "pastry cloth"? Sad, it is.

> Thus, I'd like to know if modern technology has produced a rolling board and
> rolling pin with a surface that is *very* resistant, even impervious, to the
> sticking of the stickiest potato lefse dough. It must be superior to a well-
> floured pastry cloth in this regard, which I've concluded does not work as
> I want.

A surface that prevents burning does not necessarely prevent sticking. I never 
had this problem (except for using moist equipment, which is interesting. The 
usual advise is to use a rolling board and a rolling pin (kjevle) made form 
*beech* (quite hard wood, but not the very hardest) and sanded to only a medium 
smoothness with #120-180 paper. This keeps some floor in the surface: You cover 
with flour and remove all with a stroke of your hand. The rolling pin should be 
7-10 cm thick (the word "pin" makes me think about something thinner), 
cylindrical and have handles that allows the kjevle to roll freely (high tech). 

> I'm sure I'll get feedback on tricks on how to use traditional equipment to
> get the dough not to stick, but likely these tips will just add to the
> complexity and time it takes to make lefse (but share them anyway). I'm
> hoping that modern technology has solved the problem of sticking dough and
> would allow me to make lefse easy and painlessly.

The most obvious and malicious comment would be that the old folks did it 
easily. I shall not mention that. Here is what I do, and in sober condition I 
usually have little problem: 

1 kg (2.2 lb) potatoes, cook (boil in water) until *just* tender *with peel*, 
then peel. This exact procedure prevents the potato turn into starch. This is 
where a lot of otherwise well groomed and civilized people go wrong.

Mash lightly and mix in 2-3 dl (a cup, cirkum) of wheat flour carefully, untill 
it feels right (like relatively hard bread dough). Use as little flour as 
possible. Don't overdo the mashing and kneading, or you will have sticky starch.

Make 4 cm (1.6 inch) ball. Toss a litle flour on the surface and distribute well 
with hand. Treat the kjevle likewise. Give the ball a controlled whack with your 
best (the one you hold your revolver with), flour treated fist and then flatten 
it nicely whith same hand. Use your kjevle next and make a lompe up to 8 inches 
in diameter. You may have to treat the kjevle and the surface with some flour 
once or twice. 

There should be a consistent, but *thin* (one particle thickness is ideal), 
layer of flour on the working surfaces (and ideally nowhere else). Use as little 
as possible, or the lompe will taste burnt flour and our pølse eating guests 
will understand that we have reached our level of incompetence. Again. 

I then use to ease it onto the kjevle with a 
longflat1"widethingylikeaknifebutnotsharp and transport it to the griddle or 
frying pan (a high quality iron pan that is not so deep, works OK), otherwise I 
tend to mess up the floor (which I do anyway, so who cares).
 
> Fortunately, I've solved the problem of cooking the lefse -- as a former
> Minnesotan, I'm a proud owner of a Bethany Fellowship Lefse gridle which
> works great (sadly, I've heard this gridle is no longer being sold -- it was
> probably the best thing on the market to make lefse, cook pancakes, make
> bacon, etc. -- the ultimate cooking surface. Does anybody else make
> something similar?)

Maybe from NAFTA will help? 

It doesn't taste any good, so serve with generous amounts of beer or wine. Or 
whatever you keep in the house. 

Arne Kolstad

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From: N/V/S Fazakerley 
Date: Sun, 10 Nov 1996 19:14:53 GMT
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The recipe I can find for lefse is 3lb mashed potato and 1lb rye flour
kneaded to a smooth paste. It also recommends you leave it till the next day
before rolling out and using. Presumably this ensures that the moisture from
the mashed potato is absorbed by the rye flour. Were you using rye flour?

Vibeke

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From: isoinc[at]skypoint.com (isoinc)
Date: 13 Nov 1996 19:29:07 GMT
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Jon Noring wrote:
: Fortunately, I've solved the problem of cooking the lefse -- as a former
: Minnesotan, I'm a proud owner of a Bethany Fellowship Lefse gridle which
: works great (sadly, I've heard this gridle is no longer being sold -- it was
: probably the best thing on the market to make lefse, cook pancakes, make
: bacon, etc. -- the ultimate cooking surface.  Does anybody else make
: something similar?)

Bethany is still making lefse griddles, which, as you mention also 
double as a nice electric griddle. They also make a lefse board 
with a cloth covering. 

We have both products in our kitchen specialties area, as well as most 
everything else that Bethany makes. 

Take care,
Dan

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From: djs5k[at]avery.med.Virginia.EDU (Debra J. Swanson)
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 1996 17:31:32 GMT
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  I don't know if this will help the sticky problem, as I have
never made lefse (but do love it!).  I tape some wax paper
(with Scotch tape) to the counter, usually two sheets taped
together, and then taped to the counter.  Then I dust it with
flour.  I do this for pie crust, dough for sticky buns, etc.,
so it should work ok for lefse as well.  The best thing about
this method is that it is clean, and cleanup is a snap!  No
messy pastry cloths for me.  My Norwegian-American husband
wants me to make lefse for Christmas, so maybe I'll give it a
whirl, (tho I stick to the Swedish recipes most of the time
from my ancestors).

Debbie

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From: nitcha[at]wolfenet.com (Natalie McNair-Huff)
Date: 19 Nov 1996 05:22:28 GMT
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After you rice your potatoes, try leaving them uncovered in the
refrigerator overnight. This dries them out a bit without changing the
flavor. Also try just using a large, smooth wooden bread board for rolling
them out. And I hope you have a real lefse rolling pin -- not one of those
ridiculously large cookie/pastry rolling pins. They don't work as well as a
small lefse pin because more of the pin surface comes in contact w/ the
dough, thus making the dough stick more. If you don't have a real lefse pin
then just go to a hardware store and buy a 1" diameter dowel and cut to
size.


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