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Rewena Bread - a traditional Maori recipe



In 'The Pounamu Prophecy', Mere makes Rewena bread - the Maori version of sourdough. My husband's Nana made it all the time, as did most Maori women of her generation, and it was delicious! One day she, my mother-in-law and I made it together - such a privilege to be taught by her. I have to admit I hardly ever make it now so I am no expert but here is Nana's recipe. For a healthier version, try it with half white, half wholemeal flour.


Step 1- The 'Bug'

1 c flour 1 tsp sugar 1 potato

Peel and cut potato into small pieces. Place in pot with 1 cup water, lid on, and simmer to mashing consistency. Mash, cool and when luke warm add sugar and flour. Mix to a pikelet batter consistency. If it is too thick, add more warm water. Cover and place in a warm place for 24-48 hours to ferment. The mixture should smell yeasty and sweet.


Step 2 - Feeding the 'Bug'

After 24-48 hours, set aside 1 tablespoon of the dough and put into a large Agee jar. Cover and keep in warm place. Feed one day with ½ cup warm potato water and next day with 1 teaspoon sugar. This is your ‘bug’ which is the base for making future loaves of rewena. Skip this step if you only want to make one loaf.


Step 3 - Bread

5 cups flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda.

Mix flour, salt and soda. Pour in rewena from step 1 and mix. Add more water if necessary. Knead 10 mins. Put in greased dish and set in a warm place to rise. Place in cold oven and bake at 150-180 C for 1 hour. This allows the bread to rise a bit more as the oven temperature rises.


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