The experience has been fun, and it's a day of bonding for all the women involved. I look forward to it, but I'm dog-tired at the end of the two-day process.
The Lefse is rolled and grilled on Saturday, but the process starts on Friday and oftentimes on Thursday. On Thursday, I usually try to get my 20 pounds of potatoes boiled and riced (less to do on Friday, and it helps the whole process move faster if we have potatoes ready to go at different steps). Friday morning or afternoon, a group of us continue to peel and boil potatoes. Different 'stations' are set up: ricing, mixing, and balling. The potatoes need to be riced after boiling. Then, they are mixed with butter and powdered sugar. This mixture is refrigerated until cool. When cool, the mixture is riced a second or third time. After ricing, flour is mixed in and 1/3 cup dough balls are formed. The dough balls are placed on a sheet or tray, covered with a flour sack towel and refrigerated until the next morning. This process continues until all potatoes are boiled, riced, mixed, balled, and refrigerated! It can be a long day, but it does provide plenty of opportunity to visit with good friends.
Saturday morning, I and my mom usually arrive at the church kitchen early to set up (8a). Inside the kitchen, we set up 6 to 7 rolling stations, and this year we had 8 griddles. Women take turns rolling or watching the griddles. The women who watch the griddles are responsible for flipping the lefse and taking it out to the cooling area when it's grilled on both sides.
Just outside the kitchen, in the social hall, we have a row of tables set up for cooling the lefse. Lefse are stacked approx. 10 deep on tops of a layer of absorbant towels and covered with flour sack towels or lefse cozies. When coole, they are folded in half and then in thirds. Three lefse rounds are stacked and stored in a quart-sized ziploc freezer bag. Again, this day can be long! I mopped the floor at 3:15p this year!
Over 400 rounds of lefse were grilled . . . the fundraiser was a success! Next year, one of the moms suggested we have lefse tacos. Since I forgot to eat dinner this year, that sounds like a wonderful idea. Hopefully by documenting it here, I will remember!
Here's the recipe we've used for the past four years.
Lefse – Recipe used by Familia
10 lbs red skinned potatoes (yields about 4-5 qts.)
¼ tsp. salt
½ pt. whipping cream
½ c. butter
3 Tbls. Powdered Sugar
¾ c. flour (plus extra for rolling)
Peel & boil potatoes in water with ¼ tsp. salt added. Mash with potato masher (we rice the potatoes with a Kitchen Aid mixer and the grinder attachment – it’s much easier than a potato masher or ricer!) & add whipping cream, butter, & powdered sugar. Mix together by hand. Rice this mixture at least twice. Cover with a towel and refrigerate (a cool garage is better) overnight.
After cooling, rice the potatoes a third time. Measure 3 cups riced potatoes into a bowl and add ¾ c. flour. Mix by hand until thoroughly blended (if you’ve done this for many years, you may be able to tell that more flour is needed at this stage to make the dough firmer). Form into 1/3 cup balls. Roll immediately into 12” rounds on a heavily floured pastry board, or cover with waxed paper and refrigerate until ready to roll. It is better to refrigerate the balls and take out as needed. **We have started to prepare the dough balls the day before, with mixed results. We learned a lesson the first year . . . dough balls can only be in one layer – not stacked in the pans or bowls. We also use flour sack towels to help absorb moisture while in the refrigerator.
Grill the rounds on a lefse grill. Brown the first side, then turn and brown the second side. Remove from grill and stack 10 deep between absorbent towels (flour sack or lefse cozies). When cool, brush away excess flour. Fold each round in half and then in thirds. Three round will fit nicely in a plastic Ziploc freezer bags.