Walking by one of the numerous wood paneled, grass-roofed cabins at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, we came upon the tantalizing smell of baking bread. Inside the unlit room were two young women preparing flat rounds of lefse, a traditional sweet bread made of potatoes, milk and flour. The two deftly and continuously rolled out soft, goose-egg sized balls of dough. The rolling pin they used was checkered with regular indentations, leaving a raised pattern on the dough. Once the round was deemed thin enough, one of the girls would quickly transfer it to the flat iron baking panel with the help of a long, uniformly-flat wooden spatula. Finished lefse were buttered, folded in quarters and stacked.
One of the young women informed us that lefse and beer-making duties were once relegated exclusively to men. Women were forbidden from interacting with the ferments, lest their feminine biology interfere with the delicate processes.
Visitors to the Museum can see lefse being made on select days during the summer months.