A couple of readers have asked for a primer on the making of lefse, the traditional Norwegian potato flat bread. There's no recipe, per se. Lefse is more of a praxis. Here are some tips.
1. Humintel. Since there's no recipe, you need to study with an experienced lefse-maker. If you don't have an elderly Scandinavian expert in your family, you'll have to cultivate sources this year in time for next year's baking season. Drop by the local Norse home, or stand a few rounds at the Sons of Norway. If you get really desperate, hang out at the Ikea cafeteria. (Just don't remind your new friends that Ikea is Swedish.)
2. Special equipment. A grooved lefse rolling pin, a lefse stick, several flat pans or griddles. Some people use a special lefse griddle appliance, but I don't know what the point of that gadget is. All you need are flat non-greasy cooking surfaces, preferably several of them. Lefse is all about the parallel processing.
3. Ingredients. Starchy potatoes, all-purpose flour, salt. Don't put anything else in your lefse. As my grandmother says, "Some people will put water in to get themselves out of a jam, but then they're really in trouble." Water makes the dough too sticky.
4. Setup. Seriously consider masking your kitchen, as you would for painting. There will be flour everywhere. Take all non-essential items off the counters before you start.
5. Peel as many potatoes as you think you'll need. Five or six large potatoes is probably a good start. Cut them into sixths. Add salt to taste. Boil/steam them in a covered pot until they are very tender. Drain them well. Let them stand until they are cool enough to handle. The potatoes should be so well-cooked that you can reduce them to a fluffy pile of starch with a fork, don't let them get gluey. Taste the potatoes, add more salt if desired.
6. Put the potatoes in the bowl of a standup mixer with the dough hook. With the mixer running on low-to-medium speed, gradually add the flour until you get a dough that looks stiff enough to roll out. This is where you need your experienced lefse-maker's advice. This year, it took about 2 parts potatoes to 3 parts flour to get a dough that we could roll out.
7. Divide the dough into manageable chunks. Shape these into logs on a floured work surface. These logs should be about the diameter of a tennis ball. You're going to slice off pieces of dough from the logs to roll out.
8. Heat up your flat cooking surfaces. Medium-low heat is about right. Don't grease the pans.
9. Slice off a piece of dough a little thicker than the palm of your hand. Dredge the piece in flour and roll it out to the thickness of a tortilla. My grandmother uses two rolling pins: An ordinary smooth rolling pin for the actual rolling and the traditional scored rolling pin for the final decorative pass on each side.
10. Slide your lefse stick to transfer the finished lefse to the hot griddle. Cook for a minute or two, then lift up the edge with the stick to see if it's turned golden brown yet. If not, give it a little more time. When you think it's ready, flip it over and cook the other side. The second side should take less time to cook than the first. If you notice bubbles forming in your lefse, smack them down with the stick. (This is fun.) Finally, transfer the finished lefse to a rack to cool.
11. Repeat steps 9 and 10 until you've cooked up all your dough. If you find you can't roll out the dough because it's too sticky, you may need to put the dough back in the mixer and add more flour. If a workable dough starts to get sticky, it may help to chill the dough for a few minutes before you resume rolling.
12. When the lefse are cool, transfer them to a cookie tin. Refrigerate them until ready to serve.