(Rewena is a Mãori transliteration of the English word leaven.)
Rewena bread is made from a starter of boiled potatoes, sugar and flour that is left to ferment for two days before baking. This was my first attempt in which a few lessons were learned;
• I probably shouldn’t have oiled the baking tins as it made the crust very hard
• The temperature may have been a bit hot (200°) will try 180° next time
• I will cover the loaves with baking paper next time, at least for the first half of cooking time
• Will try shaping into loaves next time and bake on a sheet
Despite the hard crust the bread was delicious and I think I have a new obsession. I fed my starter some sugar this morning and I will be boiling some potatoes tomorrow for its potato water feed. Bless its warm, vinegary smelling, pasty fermented heart.
Boil two potatoes in unsalted water to mashing consistency. Leave the potatoes in the water to cool until lukewarm. Mash the potatoes in the water, add a teaspoon of sugar and two cups of plain flour. Mix together and knead into a firm dough. Put in a bowl and cover for at least 24 hours.
After 24 hours add 1 1/2 cups warm water and roughly 5 cups of flour to get to a soft dough consistency.
Knead for around 10 minutes. Put aside a small amount of dough to save as your starter for next time.
Divide into two loaves and press down into greased or lined tins, cover and leave to rise in a warm place for a further 24 hours to roughly double in size.
The recipe I loosely followed suggests to bake the bread at 200° for 1 1/2 hours. I initially put my loaves in at 200° but turned down to about 180° as they were looking on the dark side and then took them out after an hour.
To look after your starter, feed a teaspoon of sugar alternating with boiled potato water on a daily basis, and keep in a warm place.