Vernon Broadcaster – November 28, 2017

Volunteers and food service staff at Bethel Home in Viroqua warmed up a gray afternoon by baking lefse, Wednesday, Nov. 15.

Eleven volunteers, some of whom were newbies, worked in the nursing home’s fellowship hall to make the traditional potato-based Norwegian flatbread.

Kim Bahr, who is nutrition services manager, said 50 pounds of potatoes were cooked and riced in small batches and cooled quickly that morning. The potatoes were then mixed with salt, oil and flour. The dough was kneaded and then formed into small patties, which were then given to volunteers to roll out into large circles on round flour- and cloth-covered pastry boards. Once the rounds of lefse were rolled thin enough, they were transferred from the pastry board to a lefse grill via a long wooden lefsa stick. Once the lefse was baked to the proper brownness on both sides, they were taken from the grill, once again via the lefse stick, to tables covered with large white cloths to cool.

Bahr said she expected 30 to 50 rounds of lefse to be made by the end of the afternoon. The lefse, which will be kept fresh in the freezer, will be served to both Bethel Home and Maplewood Terrace residents.

“We hope to do it again in spring if there is enough interest,” Bahr said.

Baking lefse for Bethel Home residents’ holiday meals has been a tradition for more than 50 years. Residents who watched the action in the fellowship hall had an opportunity to sample the lefse.