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Video: Krina Lefse Topping

Gary’s note: This is the final installment in Les Olsen’s three-part blog about krina lefse, a “very yummy” lefse, as Les puts it. The previous blogs (below) covered the tools for making the base krina-lefse round as well as the lore about krina lefse in Les’ family. This blog includes the topping recipe and a video on the fun application of the topping to the base round.


This is my family’s recipe for krina lefse topping:

2 eggs

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup milk

2 cups flour

Beat eggs until mixed. Add milk. Fold in cornstarch and sugar. Fold in 1-1/2 cups of flour. Then add just enough flour until when you pull a spoonful of topping out of the bowl, it will stretch and tear (see video). When the topping is thick and stringy, it will hold the pattern.

Take a round of krina lefse, place it on the countertop and place a large spoonful of topping on the lefse. With the spoon’s edge, spread the topping over the entire lefse round, all the way to the edges. If the edge is not covered, it will brown too fast.

Use the krina tool to scrape the excess topping off the lefse. Spread the topping in one direction, leaving only the ridges of topping.

Now use the krina tool to make the pattern in the topping. You can create your own pattern. We use my grandma’s pattern (see photo and video). I wonder how many pieces of lefse my grandma, mom, and I have finished with this pattern.

Between the krina lefse tool and the lefse turning stick is Les’ krina lefse topping pattern.

Place the lefse with topping on a baking sheet and put under the broiler. Set the broiler on low and the rack 6 inches below the broiling element. Here is the tricky part: Watch the lefse to make certain the topping turns only a light golden brown. This takes about 2 minutes under the broiler. Do not close the oven door. If you broil the topping too fast, it will bubble up off the lefse. Remove the round, and to keep it from curling, stack your rounds under flour sack towels and the heavy ¾-inch plywood (see video).

Final Preparations for Eating

You may wonder when you finally will get to eat krina lefse. Well, your stack of krina lefse will keep for months. After a few days the lefse will dry and harden.

When you are ready to eat krina lefse, run each round of lefse under warm water and place it between flour sack towels. DO NOT STACK. With a spray bottle, mist the lefse and towels every 5 to 10 minutes. The lefse will soften to an edible state in approximately 1 to 1-1/2 hours. At that point, butter the side without the topping, and apply cinnamon and sugar to taste. My cousins in Norway mix the butter, cinnamon, and sugar together and apply. Place the two pieces of prepared lefse together, topping sides out. Cut into wedges and serve.

Here is an alternative to cinnamon and sugar: In 1997 while in Norway, I visited a restaurant in Rognan where the heated krina lefse was served with melted brown cheese, sour cream, and butter. Very yummy!

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How to Make Krina Lefse & Flatbrød

Gary’s note: This is the second of three parts of Les Olsen’s fascinating blog about his family’s flatbrød and a very special type of lefse: krina lefse. Learn how to make it just in time for your Super Bowl gathering!

Krina lefse tool.

Krina lefse is named for the tool (see photo) used to put a pattern in the topping of the krina lefse. My father made this tool for his mother in the mid-1930s. Before then, I do not know what she used to make the pattern in the topping. Dad and I made several wooden krina tools almost two decades ago to give to the American nieces and nephews for Christmas. My wife’s 90-year old cousin had a wooden krina tool hanging on her wall in her kitchen. She knew what it was but had never used it. I purchased a manufactured krina tool in Norway in 1998 at the Husfliden (a store in Norway for handcrafts). It was made of brass with very deep ridges that left too much topping on the krina lefse and would not hold the pattern made by the tool in the topping.

Here is the easy recipe for making flatbrød, a thin cracker cooked on both sides, or the base for krina lefse, cooked on only one side with the topping put on the other side after cooling:

1/2 cup refrigerated butter—not softened

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 cups white flour

2 cups boiling water

In addition to the 2 cups white flour listed above, approximately 4 cups of white flour will be kneaded into the base after you add boiling water

Mix whole wheat and white flour in a large bowl. Cube butter and mix again.

Now the only hard part: Pour enough boiling water—about 2 cups—on the flour/butter mixture to moisten the flour and melt the butter. Mix with a spoon to moisten all of the flour/butter mix. Moisten so the base is “sticky” not soggy.

After the flour/butter mixture is moist, the butter is melted, and the base is cool enough to work with your hands, start kneading in approximately 4 cups of white flour, 1 cup at a time until the dough, when poked with your finger, returns to only a small dimple.

Ready to Roll

Roll the dough into a 3-inch-diameter log. Cut the log into 5/8-inch slices. Roll these slices into balls, about 2-inches in diameter, and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap to keep from drying out, and put balls in the refrigerator. This amount of dough will make approximately 30 rounds.

Before rolling flatbrød or the base for krina lefse, hand flatten each ball on a pastry board sprinkled with about 3/4 of a tablespoon of flour on the center 4 inches of the board. Flour both sides of each flattened ball.

You are ready to roll either flatbrød or the base for krina lefse.


When rolling flatbrød, roll the flattened ball into a 14-inch diameter round, thin enough to nearly see through to the pastry cloth. Lift the rolled dough from the pastry board with a lefse stick, place it on 400+-degree griddle, and brown both sides. Put the baked flatbrød in a 170-degree oven for 2+ hours to make it very crisp. Then spread with butter and enjoy.

A stack of flatbrød in the oven.

You can eat flatbrød with dinner, soup, or as a snack. My grandma made mountains of flatbrød at Christmas. During the Christmas season at our house, our daughter’s first stop is to check the oven where we store the flatbrød. And now her 4-year-old daughter is asking for flatbrød with butter.

Krina Lefse

When rolling krina lefse, roll the flattened ball until until the round is about 11 inches in diameter. My cousin taught me to use a 10-inch (or larger) stock pot lid to cut the lefse perfectly round after rolling and before placing on the griddle.

I should note that when rolling the krina lefse, my grandma and mom never cut the lefse with a stock pot lid. When they fixed krina lefse for serving to family and friends, they hand trimmed the rounds to make them round. The trimmings were what the kids got to fill up on; the good stuff was served to guests. Of course, the kids also were allowed a piece of the good stuff.

Bake the round on the 400+-degree griddle until tiny bubbles form on the lefse. DO NOT FLIP THE ROUND. Remove from the griddle and stack between two ¾ x 12 x 12-inch plywood boards wrapped in white flour-sack towels. This keeps the lefse from drying out too quickly and curling.

A stack of krina lefse ready for topping.

Next blog: Video showing how to make and apply the tasty topping for krina lefse.


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My Story of Krina Lefse and Flatbrød

Gary’s note: Everyone has a lefse story, and this is Leslie Olsen’s. This blog is the first of a thorough, three-part look at Leslie’s family, their rolling pins, their flatbrød, and their krina lefse. You are probably familiar with the simple-yet-delicious flatbrød, but you may not know about krina lefse, which is as yummy of a treat as you could desire. The lefse rolling pin Leslie describes here is unique in that it tapers at the ends. It was carried from Norway by his grandmother.

My paternal grandparents came from the Lurøy community, west of Mo I Rana, Norway, to Anacortes, Washington, between 1905 and 1910. They were married in the Anacortes Lutheran Church on December 27, 1910.

My grandmother brought a lefse rolling pin with her, made by her father who had the only treadle lathe in the area. The rolling pin measures 26-1/2 inches tip of handle to tip of handle. The rolling area is 17 inches, and it is 2-3/4 inches in diameter in the middle, tapering to 2-1/2 inches in diameter at the ends. The handles are integral fixed and are as smooth as silk, after many loving hours rolling flatbrød and lefse. It intriguing to me how the longitudinal grooves were cut.

My mother married into the Olsen family on New Year’s Eve of 1940 at the Anacortes Lutheran Church Parsonage. In the early 1950s, my mother (of Scotch-Irish and German descent) diligently measured her mother-in-law’s “dump-and-pour”recipe to create a measured recipe that produced yummy lefse and flatbrød every time. This recipe was passed on to her sons. Grandma had seven children. Of those children and their spouses, only my mother learned the traditional baking of the Norwegian Christmas goodies: krina lefse, potatokake, flatbrød, fattigmann, krumkake, and gomme. It wasn’t until I spoke with members of the Daughters of Norway in Olympia, Washington, in the 1980s that I was told krina lefse is named for the tool that makes the pattern in the topping.

My grandmother’s and parent’s homes were a stone’s throw apart. Grandma always kept the rolling pin in her dresser drawer, wrapped in a pillowcase. At Christmas in 1976, Grandma told Mom to keep the rolling pin at her house. Mom said, “No, Momma. You take it back to your house.” That was the last time the rolling pin was ever seen or used by Mom. Grandma moved into a nursing home at Easter 1977. She was 84 years old the last time she rolled flatbrød and krina lefse with that rolling pin.

The rolling pin we have now (pictured) is a duplicate of Grandma’s rolling pin, also make by her father. I found it in my grandmother’s childhood home (Aas hjem) in Norway while visiting there with my parents in 1998. My cousin, Jergen, who was living in the house, said, “Yes, you take it home. No one here will use it. I buy my lefse.”

So, like Grandma nearly 90 years earlier, I wrapped it, placed it in my suitcase, and brought it to America. Before we left Norway, I made flatbrød for my cousins in the northern part of the country and also south of Oslo. As far I know, they have been making flatbrød at Christmas ever since.

Upon inspection of the rolling pin, I found it be to be inhabited by powderpost beetles. When I got home, the rolling pin spent 24 hours in the oven at 200 degrees, hopefully killing any living critters. Have we eaten some dead beetle bodies? Well, that would be a small price to pay to have such a priceless heirloom.

Next blog: How to make krina lefse and flatbrød.