The title is not hyperbole. I am giving you two hot lefse-baking tips — hot, as in temperatures of up to 500 degrees F — that allow you to get full power to your most valuable lefse-making tool, your grill, and to prolong its life.
I have several lefse grills that I use for my lefse classes, but during my last batch of classes I discovered I had two grills that no longer worked because the electric probe controls were shot. They had burned out. If you’ve had your lefse grill for a while, you may have had this problem. So …
Hot Tip #1: Purchase a second probe control.
In the “How to Use Your New Grill” section of the Bethany Heritage Grill instructions, it reads: “It is not recommended that the probe control be used continuously for periods of more than 1 ½ hours at maximum temperature. At that time, allow the probe to cool down for 30 minutes before re-using. Alternate probes may be used to continue baking.”
I had never alternated probes in all my years of making lefse, which probably explains why my probe had burned out. I now have an alternate probe.
Here is how Roxie Svoboda, president of Bethany Housewares, summed it up when I interviewed her for my latest book, Keep On Rolling! Life on the Lefse Trail and Learning to Get a Round: “If you alternate the controls, you’ll have better luck making your grill last longer. Have two controls; we sell just the control separately. Put a different control in every hour, and let the other one cool off. We have people get together as a family and bake for eight hours. The grill is OK; it can handle it. It’s the control that you should change every hour or so.”
Hot Tip #2: Modify your old grill for a new control probe.
I bought new probe controls for my old grills, but the new probe controls didn’t fit snugly into the receptacles of the old grills. The probes didn’t go into the receptacles far enough for the grills to heat up sufficiently to bake lefse. Hmmm. So I emailed Roxie, asking if Bethany carried controls that would fit old models.
She responded that Bethany did not have old controls, but new controls work in older grills “with a slight modification.” Here’s how to modify your old grill for a new probe (see photo opening this blog):
- Turn over your old grill. You’ll see two screws that secure the aluminum shield wrapping around the receptacle into which the probe control fits.
- Loosen those screws and slide the shield toward the center of the grill.
- With the shield in its more central position, re-tighten the screws.
This allows the new probe control to fit deeper into the receptacle and supply full power for a 500-degree grill.
“If this does not solve the problem,” added Roxie, “you may have a grill that has larger prongs [probes] that were produced for a short period about 30 years ago, before we purchased the company.”
In this case, the solution is to replace the larger probes. You need to send the grill and the probe control to Bethany, who will replace the larger probe with a smaller one. The charge is $20 plus shipping. Roxie advised to include a note in the shipping box that has your name, address, phone number, and a brief description of what you would like done.