Real Rewena Bread

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(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.

Recipe:

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.

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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.

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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.

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7 thoughts on “Real Rewena Bread

  1. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    I have a complicated relationship with bread. Not good with yeast and sugar so always on the look out for new bread recipes… I get along fine with Irish Soda Bread and also unleavened breads and here is an unusual recipe from New Zealand for Rewena Bread….a new one for my repetoire…..the blog promotes healthy living and ethical methods of production.

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  2. Do you keep the starter in the fridge or on your counter? How often do you feed it? I have heard of people putting mashed potatoes in sauerkraut/vegetable ferments but haven’t tried it. Potatoes must be really good candidates for fermentation. I haven’t tried them in any ferment (yet). I would love to try this though.

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    • Hi, I keep mine in my hot water cupboard. The recipe I loosely followed suggested feeding the bug on a daily basis alternating with sugar one day and potato water the next. However, it’s a real learn as you go type of thing I have found. I can totally relate to the bread makers in Michael Pollen’s book who are able to read their bug by it’s appearance, smell, touch etc…
      My bug has lost it’s ‘mojo’ judging by various characteristics and by the lacklustre loaf it produced so I am going to start a new one, although I am hesitant because I have little self control when it comes to real bread! Have a go and let me know!:)

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      • Thank you for the tips. I would love to try this. I use the Michael Pollan starter recipe and mine hasn’t been that perky lately, so I added some whey to it. It seems to be doing better now, but there are so many variables…Also, I read somewhere that you should keep sourdough starter away from other ferments. I have a bunch of vegetable ferments going and have moved them to another counter in my kitchen. I hope that also helps perk up my starter. As you say, it really is learn as you go!

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