Every other year Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Tomah hosts a Scandinavian Bake Sale.

Items such as rosettes, sandbakkels, lefse, krumkaka and more are baked at the church by members of the congregation and then sold.

The profits of the sale are then used to fund missions and projects sponsored by the church.

The bake sale returns on Dec. 2, and according to Evanell Johnson, the sale has been going on since the 1970s, which is when she became involved.

“I think the church used to have a smorgasbord every other year and ... that was open to the public, then we outgrew the church and moved it to the high school,” she said. “When our new church was built and we moved in in 1966, we used to have a lutefisk supper then and that gave way to the bake sale later on.”

Before the items were baked at the church, they were made at individuals homes, Johnson said. That changed in the late 1970s, when Joann McClelland moved to Tomah and organized the bake sale into what it is today, in which almost)everything is baked and sold at the church.

Working together is what keeps Johnson involved with the bake sale.

“It’s the camaraderie, being with the people,” she said. “We makes the different things, of course, some are favorites for me, and I think that’s why I like being there — plus they need the help.”

Jane Tessmann, another member of the baking group, agrees that help is needed. Baking in such quantities is not easy.

“People will come to the bake sale, and they will be sold out within a couple hours,” she said. “People say, ‘well, why not do it every year?’ It’s a lot of work for these ladies to do ... everything they make has so many steps, from making the treat to cooling it and storing it, it’s a process.”

Between eight to 20 people are involved throughout their baking season depending on what’s being baked that day, Tessmann said. Lefse making is when the most people show up and help out because it’s so involved with peeling potatoes, ricing them multiple times, adding the other ingredients, making the balls and then finally baking them on specialized irons.

The other biggest day is for baking sanbakkels, where the dough is pressed into a fluted tin, baked and then taken out.

“When they do lefse there would be anywhere from 10 to 20 people involved ... and when we did sandbakkels there were probably 18 people around a table that day,” Tessmann said.

The bake sale is popular, Tessman said. On the day of the sale, food can be sold out within two hours.

It’s great to see people show up and enjoy everything, Tessman said.

“It’s a big day for (the bakers),” she said. “They put their heart and soul into this.”


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