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Flatbrod

Perhaps the first bread made by humans was a form of flatbrod - a thin, crisp unleavened bread. Rolled out to a round thin disc, it is a cousin of lefse, but while lefse is a food fit for a king, flatbrod is food for the ordinary person.

Sometimes the lady of the house had so much to do that she didn't have time to make flatbrod so a profession arose of "bakstedeie", a woman who went from farm to farm making flatbrod. She would come to the farm each spring and fall to bake a six-month supply of flatbrod. Along with producing flatbrod she would dispense a supply of news to be purveyed at future places. She labored from early morning until evening for many days at the "eldhus" baking a good output each day, sometimes 120 rounds of flatbrod if the meal was fine, the wood dry and of the right proportions.

She took a small amount of dough, formed it into a round patty with a little peak on top. The patty was placed on the rolling surface, and the peak of dough removed and placed in the trough again, "one had to have dough for the next round, you know!"

The patty was rolled into a thin, flat round, adding the meal needed so it wouldn't stick to the surface or to the rolling pin. The pin was not smooth, but grooved. It was her principal tool, but she also had a thin "spade" which she could insert under the round if she needed to loosen it from the rolling surface. She also had a long tapered stick on which she rolled the flatbrod for transport to the baking surface, and with which to turn the flatbrod for baking on the second side. At the end of the day the stack of flatbrod would be transferred to the rodent-proof stabbur (storage house) to be kept until needed.

Flatbrod could be eaten with butter or cheese or meat on it, or crushed into soup or eaten as flatbrod 'soll', cracked up into milk or cream and eaten.

When the bakstedeie left they said, "summer stands on the doorstep" if in the spring, or "winter's coming" if in the fall. While the calling was an honorable and needed one, the bakstedeie was not highly paid. Often she was paid in meal, port, mutton or other foodstuff she could carry home.

Submitted by Betty Rockswold

Is your flatbrod recipe just a little different? Have a great flat bread story to tell? It will be added to this page if you email it to Site Administration.


Recipe

2 cups white flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons shortening

 

Combine ingredients. Add boiling water to make a stiff dough, stirring continuously. Cool.

Roll out thin on a board sprinkled with corn meal.

Bake on top of stove, turning so as to brown evenly; finish drying in oven for crisp flatbread.

 


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Last updated: December 26, 2016

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