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Grandma Lillian’s Flatbread

Grandma Lil, about 1984 Grandma Lil, about 1984

My Norwegian Grandma Lil used to make the best flatbread around the holidays.  Technically it’s more of a cracker, but she called it flatbread and so it shall be.  I loved when she made it with graham flour, or even whole wheat flour.  I’d settle for even eating it if made with rye flour if that’s what she used.  I haven’t used rye myself with this recipe.  In honor of Grandma Lil’s birthday today (11/07/1910), I post this as a family recipe that should continue on through the generations!  It’s a true flatbread, not the kind we now use to make pizza/appetizers.  This flatbread is a crispy snack all by itself!

I haven’t made the recipes with pictures, shame on me.  I promise I will make a batch soon and add pictures to the post.  Seems odd to read me without the myriad pictures, eh?  I was in a rush to post for her birthday, hence the lack of media.  Instead you get pictures of my granny.  And me even.

Grandma Thompson and myself in her kitchen, about 1973 Grandma Thompson and myself in her kitchen, about 1973

Grandma melted the butter and added it with the rest of the ingredients in a large glass bowl.  I remember her using a large white bowl and mixing it all together with her hands.  You could use a fork I suppose, but this is a “hands on” recipe that really does need some good mixing.

When the dough is smooth and well-blended, place it on a floured surface and using more flour, roll very thin.

Cut the dough into squares, whatever size you wish.  Grandma’s squares were about 4″x6″, if I remember right.  We snapped them in half or smaller as we ate them.

Bake on a cookie sheet until browned.  You’ll simply have to watch them, nobody’s ever written down a time for baking.

You want the edges to be lightly browned, which will insure that the center of the cracker is fully baked and crispy.

Grandma cooled them on the counter, then stored them in a large white Tupperware container with a lid.  From there we used to sneak over to the laundry room where she stored all of her baked goods and steal pieces to eat.  (I think she knew we were doing that.)

For many years Grandma Lil wore an apron whenever I saw her. I think we should return to that practice as I've ruined a lot of clothing while cooking! For many years Grandma Lil wore an apron whenever I saw her. I think we should return to that practice as I’ve ruined a lot of clothing while cooking!

The adults often spread butter on top of their crackers before eating them.  My Thompson family ate a whole lot of butter in or on everything.  I don’t know if that’s a Norwegian thing or just a family thing.  And I might be the rare family member that doesn’t particularly like butter.  I don’t spread it on my flatbread.  (I DO spread it on my lefse.  That’s required.)

Grandma's Flatbread

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour; whole wheat, graham, or rye
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Grandma melted the butter then added all of the ingredients to a large glass bowl.

She mixed the dough with her fingers until it was smooth.

The dough was placed on a floured countertop then using more flour, she rolled the dough very thin.

I use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into squares.  I make mine about 2″ x 2″.  The centers crisp up nicely when the squares are smaller.

Bake squares on a cookie sheet at 350°F until browned.  You must watch for doneness, there is no timing.  Eventually you’ll know how long it takes with the size crackers you make.  Write it down!

Store in a tightly covered container so they stay crisp.

5 thoughts on “Grandma Lillian’s Flatbread

  1. I looked over a few of your posts. There are some good looking things well above my cooking level, which mostly consists of heat oven to 400, pop some frozen something in for 18 minutes and serve. 😂 I also wanted to thank you for checking out my occasionally crying ramblings. Not sure they’re worth likes usually but it’s appreciated nonetheless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate the honesty in your writing. I suspect we all have some degree of your loneliness inside, no matter our marital status or number of friends. I always want to say “I understand” but don’t want to belittle you. It’s your story and I respect that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you. I do see that same theme with a lot of other people out there. It’s a shame we have all these connections through “social” media yet everyone is so disconnected. Despite all my whining about it, I’ll be OK. It may not be the life I wanted but it’s the one I have.


  2. I’ll have to look it up but looks very similar to the one my Finnish mother-in-law always made. It was a staple in her house stored in a metal tin. Her dad was a Land o Lakes butter maker so it was generally served with butter but when she became saturated fat conscious in her later years, just plain :-). Maybe we’ll whip up some for the holidays. Thanks for reminding me of this one.

    Liked by 1 person

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