MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Whether you’re from Norway or Minnesota, chances are you know what lefse is. The thin potato bread is a Norwegian Christmas tradition. So, just in time for the holiday, WCCO tasked Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield to find the very best.
And viewers told her the best lefse is two hours northwest of the Cities in Osakis at Jacobs Lefse Bakeri.
The staff at Jacobs Lefse Bakeri likes to joke around, they call themselves “silly and dorky.”
But don’t be fooled, they’re anything but goof-offs.
“We do probably about 800 [sheets] a day. Well, right now we’re probably doing around 1,200,” Kevin Sorenson said while hand-rolling lefse.
It’s the busiest time of the year at Jacob’s Lefse Bakeri. The demand is high so the limit is low, only four packages of three lefse breads per person.
Ray Gildow was hoping to get five packages, but he got denied.
“So, if I come back with a moustache and a beard, I can buy another one?” he joked.
Joanne Ranum, who works the front desk and manages mail orders, said that probably wouldn’t work.
They run a tight ship at Jacobs, and Bonnie Jacobs is captain.
“It takes practice. A lot of people just do it once a year and they’re never gonna get good at it,” Jacobs said.
The staff at Jacobs has had a lot of practice. The business started 44 years ago, by Bernice and John Jacobs. Bonnie took it over after she married into the family.
She is proud of her staff.
“That’s probably the most important to me is the help I have, or I could never do it,” Jacobs said.
Her beloved staff keeps four ovens going at once. The process starts the day before with the secret instant potato recipe. All are the same size and then they roll the lefse by hand.
Jacobs said what makes this lefse so special is the recipe and the fact they roll it out paper thin.
“Ninety-nine percent of the people who buy it like it thin. Every once in a while there’s someone that doesn’t like it so thin,” Sorenson said.
Up front in the gift shop, they seem to like it just the way it is. Renae Specht called it delicious.
Good for the palate and the soul, according to Carol Nelson who is also a snowbird with a home in Osakis.
“I am 100 percent Norweigan. I grew up with lefse. My mother made it and was excellent at making it, so we ate it all winter long,” Specht said. “This is just really special to get something that tastes so much like hers.”
A taste of home – which may be why 90 percent of their business is shipping. They seal and send their packages to New York, Canada, California and beyond
“There’s always such a demand because not that many people make it,” Jacobs said.
And no one else in the state does it like this.
The crew at Jacobs Lefse Bakeri is so overloaded right now, they’ve temporarily shut down internet orders.
You can still get the lefse if you show up in person, but remember there’s a four pack maximum.