Bren from Green Bay, WI (2018 Week 2: Bread)




Green Bay, WI

Baking Challenge


Give your bread a name and tell us about your recipe.

Norwegian Potato Lefse. There are several different types of traditional Norwegian flat bread. As legend goes, the Vikings used a variation of lefse as they traveled throughout the world as it kept well. Some lefse recipes are made with potatoes and some without. Here in the United States we are more likely to make potato lefse because potatoes are always plentiful here. The recipe I chose has been passed through at least five generations. It is not written anywhere and is made annually by my entire extended family as a Thanksgiving holiday tradition. My daughter, Em, with the help of our husbands (two honorary Norwegians), and I decided to tackle this tradition on our own for this week’s baking challenge. It was extremely hot and humid the day that we decided to bake which did prove to add to the complexity of the challenge as lefse is baked on a grill that needs to be heated to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. I think I have a clearer understanding why it is our Thanksgiving tradition! The potato dough which is a mixture of riced potatoes, lard or shortening, and salt must stay very cold to create the appropriate consistency. Our family also has an interesting twist to our recipe in that we add caraway to our lefse too. I am not sure why that tradition started, but it has always been part of our recipe and provides a unique savory taste to our lefse.

Would you describe yourself as a rogue baker, or do you strictly adhere to the recipe?

This recipe is all about rogue baking. Because there is no written recipe everything is created by the texture and feel, look, and taste of the dough. A little trial and error goes a long way until we get it exactly right. Because this recipe has many steps there is room for error in multiple ways, so daydreaming while creating lefse is not advised!

Tell us about how you added a Wisconsin twist to your bread creation.

My Wisconsin twist is that we used Wisconsin grown Kitchen Kleen russet potatoes as the foundation for our ingredients. Also, in serving the lefse and being lefse purists, we only use Wisconsin butter liberally spread to compliment this unique flatbread’s flavors. The salmon that we served with the lefse was locally smoked at Bearcat’s Fish House in Algoma. It is a tribute to the traditional Norwegian cuisine and tastes infinitely better than the infamous lutefisk.

How did you do?

Absolutely lovely.