Tear and Share Bread | The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Fancy a tear and share bread with a fantasy twist? Look no more for I bring you a collection of Narnia inspired sharing bread that is flavoured with cheese, caramelised onion, and black olives. The wardrobe door is open, let’s walk through it.

About the film:

Based on the first of the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis; The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is a magical first chapter in a timeless fantasy adventure. It follows the story of four siblings (I can relate here, being one of five and having grown up with three of my siblings) during the Blitz in WWII. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie are evacuated from their home in London and are sent to safety in the countryside. 

Struggling to find a way to occupy their days, a game of hide and seek is initiated where Lucy is drawn to one particularly amazing wardrobe as her hiding spot. Through this wardrobe, she is transported to the wondrous land of Narnia. Tea with Mr Tumnus, the faun she meets first, leads to some interesting and dangerous revelations about Narnia and its inhabitants.

Upon her hasty return through the wardrobe, Lucy discovers that time has moved differently in Narnia. She had spent hours in Narnia, but only a few moments had passed in the English countryside. 

When Lucy tries to tell her siblings about her discovery, they don’t believe her.

Not long later, Edmund is the next to discover the wardrobe and subsequently, Narnia. However, his first encounter is with the White Witch and he is misled by her. When the four siblings make their way through the wardrobe together, a thrilling tale of adventure, family, magic and hope follows. 

Aslan is quite possibly the most recognisable character from this first book/film, which is part of the reason why I wanted to base this bake on him. Plus, the fact that he is just a really great character.

If you haven’t seen Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, I really recommend it. Especially for some winter-time family viewing paired with a lovely cup of tea and a slice of this tear and share bread. If you have seen it, then I suspect that you would agree with me when I say that Lucy is by far the best of the Pevensie siblings.

Fun fact: C.S. Lewis was an Oxford lad and regularly spent time in a pub with his friends, one of whom was the wizard himself J.R.R.Tolkien, writer of The Lord of the Rings (another firm favourite of mine – hold tight for a LOTR recipe!) and I myself hail from the Oxford area.

About the bake:

For this recipe, I wanted to create something savoury. Not everyone is a sweet treat kind of person and I think tear and share bread is such a great thing to both make and eat! As with many of the recipes I’ll be posting on here, the end result is a bit of a showstopper.

It’s also MASSIVE, just so you’re prepared! Definitely best made for a large dinner party or occasion where there are plenty of bread-hungry people. If you wanted to make this on a smaller scale, then by all means make just Aslan’s head or just the book.

Because of its design, I wanted the actual bread itself to be relatively simple. The base of all three elements to this bread are the same: a fluffy and delicious white bread. I then added ingredients to give different flavours for each element.

Aslan’s head is a scrumptiously salty olive loaf.

His mane is made up of tear and share cheesy rolls and the book is made with red onion caramelised with honey and seasoned with rosemary. 

When it comes to the additional ingredients, the amounts you use for the olives and onions especially is completely up to you, my measurements are just there as a guide. Another technique that I use that is just being mentioned as a guide is that I put my dough in the airing cupboard! It’s like the house has its own giant proving oven in my eyes.

Obviously, if you don’t have an airing cupboard then leaving it to the side of the room is perfectly acceptable.

Each element is completely delicious in its own right, but if you wanted to add something else to it for say… a wine and cheese night, then a melted Camembert cheese is unbelievably tasty with all of these tear and share bread flavours.

Bread is one of those things that people are apprehensive about making because it doesn’t seem simple at first or there are too many variables that risk it going wrong. But, believe me when I say, it is easy to get right and it is SO worth the effort and the wait.

Just follow the instructions below and make sure you get the exact ingredients I have listed.

No copyright infringement intended.

Top Tips:

  • Avoid substituting if you don’t know what to substitute with and are guessing.
  • Use timings as a helpful guide when kneading to make sure that the gluten develops properly. Your dough will be ready when it is shiny and smooth, and far less tacky to touch. You can also use the windowpane test to be sure: rip some of the dough off and stretch it as you hold it up to some light. If it stretches and lets light through it before ripping, it’s ready. If it rips straight away, keep kneading.
  • Do both proves with the ingredients in, don’t wait to add the ingredients in the second prove. It can be hard to knead them in when the dough has already risen once.
  • Believe in yourself! Bread isn’t nearly as difficult as some assume.

What more is there to say about this tear and share bread? Other than the fact that it is soft, warm, fluffy, delectable and will have you feeling utterly accomplished when you taste it. Knowing that you made it yourself, and that it looks and tastes epic.

Happy baking, happy eating!

Ingredients:

Aslan’s head:

  • 500g [3 cups + 2 tbsp] strong white bread flour
  • 7g [1 sachet] fast action dried yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 300ml [10oz] water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Roughly 75g [1½ to 2 cups] drained black olives + two whole ones for eyes

Aslan’s mane:

  • 500g [3 cups + 2 tbsp] strong white bread flour
  • 7g [1 sachet] fast action dried yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 300ml [10oz] water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Roughly 150g to 200g [1 to 2 cups] hard cheese (grated) (I went simple with cheddar and red Leicester)

The book:

  • 500g [3 cups + 2 tbsp] strong white bread flour
  • 7g [1 sachet] fast action dried yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 300ml [10oz] water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 to 5 small red onions
  • 1 to 2 tbsp runny honey
  • Dried rosemary to taste

Serves: 10+

Preparation time: 40 minutes

Proving time: 2 hours

Baking time: 30 minutes

Method:

The doughs:

  1. First, slice the red onions and fry them off.
  2. Whilst frying, add the runny honey over the onions and stir to make sure the onion slices are covered. Allow to caramelise gently. They will be ready when they are smaller in size and have browned off (not burnt!). Leave to cool in the frying pan.
  3. Chop the olives in half and put to the side.
  4. Prepare three large bowls for your three doughs and sieve 500g of the strong white bread flour into each one.
  5. Add the salt into each bowl, tipping it into one side of the bowl.
  6. Do the same with the yeast, tipping it into the OPPOSITE side of the bowl to your salt.
  7. Then mix together in each bowl. You should now have three bowls of the necessary dry ingredients to make three doughs.
  8. Make a well in the middle of each bowl and add the olive oil and water.
  9. Mix each one well until you get a rough ball of dough.
  10. Add the olives to one dough, the onions and rosemary to another and leave one dough plain.

Kneading:

  1. Doing one at a time, tip your ball of dough out onto a clean and lightly floured surface and knead by hand for around 10 minutes. If using a standing or hand mixer with a dough hook, knead for around 5 minutes.
  2. Oil a clean bowl and place your first dough in the bowl. 
  3. Move onto your next dough and knead for the same amount of time.
  4. Place in another clean and oiled bowl.
  5. Finally, knead your last ball of dough and place into another clean and oiled bowl.
  6. Cover all three bowls with either cling film (or beeswax covering as a greener alternative) or a damp tea towel over each one.
  7. Leave to prove for 1 hour or until each dough has doubled in size.
  1. Once your dough has proved, tip each one out onto a clean and floured surface and knock back your balls of dough (punch each one a bit and knead again very briefly).

Shaping:

  1. Now comes the fun part: shape your dough!
  2. For Aslan’s head, make sure his nose area is higher and narrower by adding more dough on top. Shape the bottom of his head so that it sort of resembles a skull. Place on a very large pizza dish or tray (I had to bake mine on a huge upside down cake tin!)
  3. For Aslan’s mane, divide the plain dough up into about 11 pieces weighing around 75g each. Place around Aslan’s head, leaving space between each one as they will grow during the second prove.
  4. For the book, cut the onion and rosemary dough into four equal pieces with a knife. Take one piece, cut a piece off it and shape into a roll, then roll the rest out in a narrow rectangle to make the middle (binding) of the book. Set to the side. 
  5. Roll the rest of the pieces into rough rectangles (no need for perfection, it’s a replica of an old book!).
  6. Layer the rough rectangles to resemble pages and place rolls of tin (aluminium) foil between each one to give the pages some lift.
  7. Finally, place the book ‘binding’ in the middle and press down slightly. Then add the roll (which will be decorated) wherever you fancy around the edge of the book. I placed mine on the top end of the ‘binding’.
  8. Cover your masterpieces with a damp tea towel each and leave to prove for at least 30 more minutes. It took around 45 minutes for my Aslan mane to come together in the airing cupboard so it depends on the temperature of your house/kitchen. Aslan will be ready when the rolls that make up his mane are all touching and the book will be ready when it looks slightly ‘inflated’.

Baking:

  1. Whilst your dough is in its second prove, preheat your oven to 220°C [430°F] or 200°C fan and grate your cheese if not already grated.
  2. When your dough is ready, remove the tea towels. Sprinkle the grated cheese over Aslan’s mane.
  3. With a sharp knife, slice in some detail in Aslan’s face: whiskers/fur/mouth etc.
  4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye on it after 30 minutes. The bread will be done when it sounds hollow when tapped on (on top and underneath).
  5. Leave to cool for around 15 minutes before serving.

This tear and share bread is best enjoyed when freshly baked and still slightly warm. But, it will last in an airtight container for up to three days (if it hasn’t been devoured by then!). Enjoy!

Recipe card:

Cheesy Tear and Share Bread | The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Laura – Flavour of the Film
Aslan's head made out of olive bread and a cheesy tear and share mane, with a caramelised onion book-shaped loaf, celebrating Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Proving time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

For Aslan’s head:

  • 500 g [3 cups + 2 tbsp] strong white bread flour
  • 7 g [1 sachet] fast action dried yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 300 ml [10oz] water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 75 g [1½ to 2 cups] drained black olives + two whole ones for eyes

For Aslan’s mane:

  • 500 g [3 cups + 2 tbsp] strong white bread flour
  • 7 g [1 sachet] fast action dried yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 300 ml [10oz] water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 150 g [1 to 2 cups] hard cheese grated (I went simple with cheddar and red Leicester)

For the book:

  • 500 g [3 cups + 2 tbsp] strong white bread flour
  • 7 g [1 sachet] fast action dried yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 300 ml [10oz] water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 to 5 small red onions
  • 1 to 2 tbsp runny honey
  • Dried rosemary to taste

Instructions
 

  • First, slice the red onions and fry them off.
  • Whilst frying, add the runny honey over the onions and stir to make sure the onion slices are covered. Allow to caramelise gently. They will be ready when they are smaller in size and have browned off (not burnt!). Leave to cool in the frying pan.
  • Chop the olives in half and put to the side.
  • Prepare three large bowls for your three doughs and sieve 500g of the strong white bread flour into each one.
  • Add the salt into each bowl, tipping it into one side of the bowl.
  • Do the same with the yeast, tipping it into the OPPOSITE side of the bowl to your salt.
  • Then mix together in each bowl. You should now have three bowls of the necessary dry ingredients to make three doughs.
  • Make a well in the middle of each bowl and add the olive oil and water.
  • Mix each one well until you get a rough ball of dough.
  • Add the olives to one dough, the onions and rosemary to another and leave one dough plain.
  • Doing one at a time, tip your ball of dough out onto a clean and lightly floured surface and knead by hand for around 10 minutes. If using a standing or hand mixer with a dough hook, knead for around 5 minutes.
  • Oil a clean bowl and place your first dough in the bowl.
  • Move onto your next dough and knead for the same amount of time.
  • Place in another clean and oiled bowl.
  • Finally, knead your last ball of dough and place into another clean and oiled bowl.
  • Cover all three bowls with either cling film (or beeswax covering as a greener alternative) or a damp tea towel over each one.
  • Leave to prove for 1 hour or until each dough has doubled in size.
  • Once your dough has proved, tip each one out onto a clean and floured surface and knock back your balls of dough (punch each one a bit and knead again very briefly).
  • Now comes the fun part: shape your dough!
  • For Aslan’s head, make sure his nose area is higher and narrower by adding more dough on top. Shape the bottom of his head so that it sort of resembles a skull. Place on a very large pizza dish or tray (I had to bake mine on a huge upside down cake tin!)
  • For Aslan’s mane, divide the plain dough up into about 11 pieces weighing around 75g each. Place around Aslan’s head, leaving space between each one as they will grow during the second prove.
  • For the book, cut the onion and rosemary dough into four equal pieces with a knife. Take one piece, cut a piece off it and shape into a roll, then roll the rest out in a narrow rectangle to make the middle (binding) of the book. Set to the side.
  • Roll the rest of the pieces into rough rectangles (no need for perfection, it’s a replica of an old book!).
  • Layer the rough rectangles to resemble pages and place rolls of tin (aluminium) foil between each one to give the pages some lift.
  • Finally, place the book ‘binding’ in the middle and press down slightly. Then add the roll (which will be decorated) wherever you fancy around the edge of the book. I placed mine on the top end of the ‘binding’.
  • Cover your masterpieces with a damp tea towel each and leave to prove for at least 30 more minutes. It took around 45 minutes for my Aslan mane to come together in the airing cupboard so it depends on the temperature of your house/kitchen. Aslan will be ready when the rolls that make up his mane are all touching and the book will be ready when it looks slightly ‘inflated’.
  • Whilst your dough is in its second prove, preheat your oven to 220 or 200 fan [430F] and grate your cheese if not already grated.
  • When your dough is ready, remove the tea towels. Sprinkle the grated cheese over Aslan’s mane.
  • With a sharp knife, slice in some detail in Aslan’s face: whiskers/fur/mouth etc.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye on it after 30 minutes. The bread will be done when it sounds hollow when tapped on (on top and underneath).
  • Leave to cool for around 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

This tear and share bread is best enjoyed when freshly baked and still slightly warm but will last in an airtight container for up to three days (if it hasn’t been devoured by then!). Enjoy!
Keyword caramelised onion bread, cheesy bread, Narnia, olive bread, tear and share bread, the lion, the witch and the wardrobe

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