Lembas Bread Recipe | The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

That’s right, friends. I came up with my own rendition of the classic Elvish food: lembas bread. Properly introduced to us in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, lembas bread is the perfect bake to celebrate the second instalment of this magical trilogy. Stock up on supplies – the journey continues. 

About the film:

If Fellowship sets the scene, then Two Towers opens the path right up.

The fellowship are journeying in various parts of Middle Earth but are all heading to one place: Mordor. We find Frodo and Sam being guided by Gollum towards Mount Doom, and the rest of the fellowship taking a stand against Sauron’s new and powerful ally…

The reason why I think The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers makes for such a great second instalment is that we get to see so much more of Middle Earth. Parts which we may not have been exposed to had the fellowship been able to stick together for the entire journey. 

Second films can be rather difficult to get right. 

Especially when the series is a trilogy. The second film is the middle chapter. Often this can mean it acts as a filler, rather than an integral part of the story. 

The first instalment is what gets you hooked in – it sets the scene. In a trilogy in particular, the final film is what wraps everything up. It’s most likely where the most dramatic or most impactful events occur. 

But the middle chapter? That can be a tough one to wrangle. Thankfully, Tolkien created a beautiful world with a thrilling story taking place in it. The original material provided a lot of brilliant happenings, so it was down to Peter Jackson and the crew to decide what were the most important elements that they needed to translate to the big screen.

Two Towers gives us catalysts to a number of different plot threads. 

What makes it even more satisfying to watch is being able to see how everything intertwines. How all of the plot threads created in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers weave together to bring us to a conclusion in The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

We love to see it.

With more cast being added like Miranda Otto, Karl Urban and David Wenham, some of the Fellowship performers took on multiple roles; as was the case with John Rhys-Davies, who provided the voice of Treebeard as well as continuing on in his role as Gimli. 

Stephen Sinclair also gave a lending hand as part of the writing team, alongside Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson.

More talent for more scope!

About the bake:

Whilst there are a few things I considered when conjuring up this The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers inspired recipe, there was only one thing that made the most sense.

Lembas bread is an elvish food given to Frodo and Sam to help sustain their long journey to Mordor. There are mentions of it in Fellowship, with Pippin consuming four pieces of it rather than the advised single bite. 

But, as Two Towers is where we – as a movie audience – are properly exposed to lembas bread, I determined that there was no better bake to celebrate this second instalment. Lembas bread also plays an important part in Gollum’s manipulation plans.

Eat little at a time, and only at need. For these things are given to serve you when all else fails. The cakes will keep sweet for many many days, if they are unbroken and left in their leaf-wrappings, as we have brought them. One will keep a traveller on his feet for a day of long labour, even if he be one of the tall Men of Minas Tirith.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Makes sense to give gentle hobbits such sustenance to keep them going on a life-threatening journey, wouldn’t you say?

My own lembas bread recipe is shortbread based.

The reason for this being that the prop version we see Frodo and Sam consuming in the film is actually unsweetened shortbread, according to Peter Jackson.

Whilst I love paying respect to the original materials that some movies are adapted from, this is Flavour of the Film. I celebrate the big screen versions of these stories; a celebration that comes in various forms.

Even paying homage to props used on the relevant movie sets.

I also really love shortbread. I mention it a lot, like in my recipes like my Outlander landscape cake and my Grogu celebration cake. Shortbread is just so delicious.

There are a number of great versions of a lembas bread recipe inspired by Tolkien’s description out there. A variety of different types, too. 

Tolkien was quite vague in his description of the lembas bread recipe. 

Naturally, it’s a closely kept secret among the elves.

The details that were divulged are what I aimed for in my own lembas bread recipe: light brown and golden on the outside, pale and cream-coloured on the inside. Thin and crisp to eat, with a sweet taste to it.

It’s widely assumed that Tolkien likely based his lembas bread on what was known as “hard tack”: a bread-food that was used during long voyages at sea and military excursions. It was a primary food source meant to sustain sailors and soldiers alike.

There are other theories behind Tolkien’s inspiration for lembas bread, including connections to his Roman Catholic background and work as a Professor of Anglo-Saxon and English Language and Literature at Oxford University.

Whatever inspired Tolkien to create lembas bread, it has further inspired LOTR fans to make their own versions.

Including me, as it turns out.

My lembas bread recipe contains the juice and zest of a fresh lemon as well as dried rosemary. Honestly, these just feel like elvish-like flavours to me, as they’re light, natural and fragrant. They give me garden vibes.

It’s for the same reasons that I opted for carrot cake in my Fellowship One Ring cake recipe.

Plus, all of these flavours are delicious. Isn’t that always the point?

Top Tips:

  • Try to use golden caster sugar if you can get a hold of it. It’ll help to achieve the colours described by Tolkien when he wrote about lembas bread.
  • As always, avoid overworking the biscuit dough. An overworked dough can lead to tough biscuits, even in a shortbread.
  • You can swap out the dried rosemary for fresh if preferred – I find that dried is more accessible which is why I used it in my lembas bread recipe. If using fresh rosemary, you may want to add a little less as the flavour may be more intense.
  • If lemons are alluding you, feel free to use 1 tsp lemon extract in place of the fresh zest and juice. It will give it a different vibe, but it’ll still taste good in the shortbread.
  • Do not skip the chilling stage. Lembas bread is square (ish) in shape, but that doesn’t mean your shortbread won’t lose its shape in the oven if you skip the chilling stage.
  • I made my lembas bread pretty big because I was catering for those that I knew would eat it, but you can easily quarter the dough before shaping it rather than halving it for smaller squares.
  • To present your lembas bread in a version of the Mallorn leaves, you can find templates online and print them out on paper then tie with string. Or, you can use something like banana leaves to give the impression of Mallorn leaves. If using plant leaves, make sure to check whether they are poisonous or not before using!

My lembas bread recipe is perfect for a The Lord of the Rings themed party, whether than be a birthday or viewing party. It’s very easy to make my lembas bread so why not include it in your LOTR movie night spread? Whilst a single bite won’t sustain you for an extended amount of time, it’ll remain a sweet and pleasant eat. Fully in the vibe of The Lord of the Rings.

Happy baking, happy eating!

Ingredients:

Lembas bread:

  • 200g [7 oz] unsalted butter    room temperature or softened
  • 100g [½ cup] golden caster sugar
  • 300g [1¾ cup + 2 tbsp] plain [all-purpose] flour
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1½ tsp dried or fresh rosemary

Serves: 8 +

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Chilling time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Baking time: 20 – 25 minutes

Method:

Lembas bread:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add in the lemon zest and juice and beat in until smooth.
  3. If using fresh rosemary, chop it into very fine pieces now. Sprinkle it into the mix and beat in. If using dried, simply sprinkle the rosemary in as is and beat in.
  4. Sieve in the flour and mix until a soft dough has formed.
  5. Tip the dough onto a sheet of cling film/plastic wrap/beeswax paper. Press the dough into a rough square and wrap it up in your chosen covering.
  6. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Shaping:

  1. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper/baking parchment. Set aside.
  2. After 1 hour, retrieve your dough from the fridge. On a clean and lightly floured surface, halve or quarter your dough (depending on how big you want to make your lembas bread).
  3. Roll each half or quarter out into flat squares. You want the dough to be roughly ½ inch in thickness.
  4. Gently and carefully lift your shortbread dough squares onto the lined baking sheets. Use spatulas if needed. If you have halved your dough, place a piece in the centre of each tray. If you have quartered the dough, place two pieces spaced apart on each tray.
  5. Chill in the fridge for a further 5 – 10 minutes.
  6. While your dough is chilling again, preheat your oven to 180°C [325°F] or 160°C fan. 

Baking: 

  1. When your oven is up to temperature, retrieve your trays from the fridge. 
  2. Using a sharp knife, score the squares of lembas bread dough into 4 triangles. Simply create a cross on each dough square, pushing the knife all the way through.
  3. Gently and carefully lift your triangles off the tray and place them slightly apart from one another. The gap between each piece doesn’t need to be more than ¼ inch. The lembas bread will melt back into one another: this tip just allows for easier breakage when eating.
  4. Bake your lembas bread on the middle shelves of your oven for 20 – 25 minutes.
  5. Your lembas bread will be baked when they are golden brown on the outside and the surface is dry to the touch.
  1. Once baked, leave on the trays to continue baking and to cool fully. 
  2. When completely cool, lift your lembas bread and wrap in your chosen leaves to serve. Feel free to wrap in greaseproof paper/baking parchment first if preferred. Tie with string to finish. Be careful when handling your lembas bread as shortbread is delicate!

My lembas bread recipe is one of many, but it’s a deliciously fragrant and sweet one nonetheless. This shortbread will last for 4+ days in an airtight container or cake stand, but may soften over time. Enjoy!

Recipe Card:

Lembas Bread Recipe | The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Laura – Flavour of the Film
Sweet and fragrant shortbread based lembas bread recipe flavoured with lemon and rosemary, celebrating The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chilling time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine British
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

Lembas bread:

  • 200 g [7 oz] unsalted butter room temperature or softened
  • 100 g [½ cup] golden caster sugar
  • 300 g [1¾ cup + 2 tbsp] plain [all-purpose] flour
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • tsp dried or fresh rosemary

Instructions
 

Lembas bread:

  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the lemon zest and juice and beat in until smooth.
  • If using fresh rosemary, chop it into very fine pieces now. Sprinkle it into the mix and beat in. If using dried, simply sprinkle the rosemary in as is and beat in.
  • Sieve in the flour and mix until a soft dough has formed.
  • Tip the dough onto a sheet of cling film/plastic wrap/beeswax paper. Press the dough into a rough square and wrap it up in your chosen covering.
  • Chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Shaping:

  • Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper/baking parchment. Set aside.
  • After 1 hour, retrieve your dough from the fridge. On a clean and lightly floured surface, halve or quarter your dough (depending on how big you want to make your lembas bread).
  • Roll each half or quarter out into flat squares. You want the dough to be roughly ½ inch in thickness.
  • Gently and carefully lift your shortbread dough squares onto the lined baking sheets. Use spatulas if needed. If you have halved your dough, place a piece in the centre of each tray. If you have quartered the dough, place two pieces spaced apart on each tray.
  • Chill in the fridge for a further 5 – 10 minutes.
  • While your dough is chilling again, preheat your oven to 180°C [325°F] or 160°C fan.

Baking:

  • When your oven is up to temperature, retrieve your trays from the fridge.
  • Using a sharp knife, score the squares of lembas bread dough into 4 triangles. Simply create a cross on each dough square, pushing the knife all the way through.
  • Gently and carefully lift your triangles off the tray and place them slightly apart from one another. The gap between each piece doesn’t need to be more than ¼ inch. The lembas bread will melt back into one another: this tip just allows for easier breakage when eating.
  • Bake your lembas bread on the middle shelves of your oven for 20 – 25 minutes.
  • Your lembas bread will be baked when they are golden brown on the outside and the surface is dry to the touch.
  • Once baked, leave on the trays to continue baking and to cool fully.
  • When completely cool, lift your lembas bread and wrap in your chosen leaves to serve. Feel free to wrap in greaseproof paper/baking parchment first if preferred. Tie with string to finish. Be careful when handling your lembas bread as shortbread is delicate!

Notes

My lembas bread recipe is one of many, but it’s a deliciously fragrant and sweet one nonetheless. This shortbread will last for 4+ days in an airtight container or cake stand, but may soften over time. Enjoy!
Keyword elvish food, lembas bread, lembas bread recipe, lotr, the lord of the rings, two towers

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