I promise no more Elven bread after today, even if this version didn’t immediately win me over on the first bite. The lembas here more or less measures up to the one described in the book (and on many internet sources), in that it is cream-colored in the middle and has a light brown crust. It also includes honey, cheese, and in place of the Mallorn fruit – goji berries, even if said fruit is supposed to be of the nut-type. Okay, now some of you might question the addition of cheese, but according to the recipe here, Tolkien did indeed put cheese in it.
On the first attempt at this yeast-risen lembas I added only goji berries (top photo), but on the second try I added both berries and seeds. In all honesty I think it’s a little over the top for Elves (or Hobbits for that matter), kinda like cheese bread deluxe that would certainly get Gollum’s loincloth in a twist. Speaking of Gollum…for last Sunday’s segment of LotR I made fish and chips using Jamie Oliver’s online recipe and the chips were a total bust. Limp and soggy, no matter how matter how golden they turned in hot oil.
Beer-battered fish okay but you keep nassty chips!
“One small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man.”
Well maybe if said man was skinny like Legolas. Flat and squarish in shape, easily wrapped, stacked, bundled, or tucked away in a pocket, Elven waybread – lembas to all you LoTR fans – is most likely enjoying renewed popularity as The Battle of the Five Armies approaches its debut. Split installments of the LotR films have been airing on local tv for the past 4 Sundays, but as Gollum is my witness, I have never thought to make my own lembas until now.
Lembas recipes abound on the web, enough to fill the bellies of entire armies. Here is my version adapted from Middle-earth Recipes, and it goes well with a good rabbit stew. For the next LotR segment this weekend, I’ll be trying a triangular-shaped one here that is said to be based on the original recipe from Tolkien himself.
Lembas with hemp flour – makes 4 small or 2 large
1 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 cup hemp seed flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a good pinch of salt
1 1/2 ounce cold butter (1/3 stick), cut into pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/3 cup soy milk
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan on.
2. Sift together the all-purpose and hemp flour, the baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
3. Add the cold butter and using your fingers, rub together with the flour to form a crumbly mixture.
4. Add the olive oil and brown sugar; stir to mix well.
5. Pour in the soy milk and stir to combine, adding more milk a teaspoon at a time if the dough is too dry. It should be damp enough to gather into a ball and keep its shape. Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
6. Roll dough into a 6×6-inch square (or divide the dough in half and shape into 2 squares, about 1/2-inch thick). Make an “x” incision from corner to corner.
7. Place on cookie sheet lined with baking parchment and bake for 20-22 minutes until done.