"Raymond “Swede” Anderson, Missoula's Norwegian flatbread king, rolled paper-thin slices of dough on his pastry board, then carefully laid them, one by one, onto a hot cast-iron griddle.
“That's probably the thinnest lefse you've ever seen,” he said Wednesday, busily at work in his kitchen. “I say, ‘It's so thin, you can read through it.' ”
For the next four weeks, Anderson will be mixing Idaho Russet potatoes, flour, heavy cream and butter into perfect batches of dough. When that's done, he rolls it into a tortilla shape. It's so thin, it cooks in seconds.
Each year, right after Thanksgiving, Anderson whips up 120 pounds of lefse, a holiday treat enjoyed by Scandinavian-Americans. He doesn't stop until New Year's Day. By the time he's finished, he will have used 80 pounds of potatoes and more than 40 pounds of flour. He manages the load by working with 5-pound batches.
But he never eats it. He just gives it all away.
“He's kind of a nut,” said Brent Schlappy, who recently stood in Anderson's kitchen eating lefse hot off the grill and slathered in melted butter. “It's a lot of work. Personally, I'm happy he does it.”
Anderson, who has perfected his recipe during the last 22 years, admits it's not easy mixing 120 pounds of dough, which can cook up like cardboard if not mixed just so."
Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Feasting on flatbread - This time of year, man's lefse a Norwegian treat
(The Missoulian 12/4)
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