I am up late doing this blog for the newsletter because I’ve been making lefse dough, lots of it. In the morning, customers who ordered bags of lefse for Thanksgiving will pick up their rounds and folks will keep coming throughout the day. I love it! I get excited that so many people get excited about this tradition of serving good lefse for perhaps my favorite holiday. I can’t think of anything better than giving thanks.
I enjoy making these holiday batches, but it’s hard work. Of course, one way to reduce the work is to use instant potatoes. However, I like the flavor a little more that comes with boiling potatoes with the skins on, so I don’t usually go the instant route. With boiling potatoes to make lefse dough, I’ve learned how to lessen the work, so here are four tips on how to stress less and smile more when making mega amounts of lefse.
1. Use Instant Pots
I boil potatoes in pots on the stove, plus I use Instant Pots. I can boil the same amount of potatoes in the Instant Pot as the pots on the stove, and I can program the Instant Pots to have the potatoes done at a certain time. They are electric, so I don’t have to use burners on the stove. And if I am not available when the potatoes are done, the Instant Pot keeps them warm for at least an hour. All in all, using Instant Pots gives me flexibility and makes it possible that I am not overwhelmed with all my potatoes getting done at once.
2. Use a Food Grinder
The grinder has a grinding plate with holes that are about the same size as ricer holes. After the potatoes are cooked, I peel the skins and use what’s called a stomper to feed the potatoes into an auger that pushes the spuds through the grinding plate (see opening photo). I skip the mashing potatoes step by using the grinder. However, I don’t skip hand ricing entirely. I hand rice the potatoes that have gone through the grinder to get as many lumps out of the dough as possible. I’m sure there is a grinder plate that has smaller holes yet, but I’m concerned that pushing potatoes through the grinder twice may leave them too soupy. Plus, ricing is traditional and not using a hand ricer in making lefse just wouldn’t seem right.
3. Use a Cushioned Mat
This mat is a must when I make lefse. I have one in my kitchen and carry one to markets when I roll there. Use one of these mats. Your feet, knees, hips and back will thank you — and let you know loud and clear when you are not standing on the mat when rolling.
4. Use Compression Socks
Keep your feet happy. After making lefse for hours and hours, my dogs are barking and my calves are calling! I have always used shoes with good arch support, but I also wear — and sell — Burlix Graduated Compression Socks. They are wonderful, and I’m not going back to plain old socks for lefse making. I also wear them when I do a lot of standing in the shop. And during the winter, they add a bit of warmth, which is always good.