Rewena bread is a traditional Maori potato sourdough bread, known as Rewena Paraoa. The Maori are indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. Paraoa is the Maori word for bread. The word rewena comes from the root word ‘rewa’, which is a potato. Rewena bread is made with fermented potato instead of yeast, which gives the bread a firmer texture. Rewena is usually eaten hot with butter, jams or golden syrup. I found a lovely recipe at Wild Yeast Blog which I have adapted with quite a bit of success.
Ingredients & Equipment
For the rewena
- Potato 75-90 gms
- Water 120 ml
- All purpose flour 120 gms
For the dough
- Rewena as above
- All purpose flour 300 gms
- Salt 8 gms
- Honey 12 gms
- Dried herbs 1 tbsp
- Water 120 ml
- Instant yeast a pinch
- OTG / Microwave Oven for baking
- Mixing bowls
- Jar / bowl for the potato starter
- Vessels for cooking potatoes
- Dutch oven / Baking trays
- Wire rack to cool the loaf
Making the potato starter
We first need to prepare the starter for the bread with potato and flour. Firstly we heat the 120 ml water. Then we wash and peel the potato. We then dice it into small pieces to help it cook faster. After the water has come to a boil add the potatoes and let it get cooked to mash-able consistency. Transfer the potato and water to a bowl and add some more water to get the total weight of the potato and water to 165 gms. Once the potato pieces are slightly cooled mash them well so that no solid pieces remain. Cover with a cling film or plastic wrap and set aside to develop. It will have the consistency of a slightly stiff dough.
Developing the starter
The starter can take anytime from 24 hours to 60 hours depending on the weather at your location. It took me around 26 hours in summer (around 32C) and about 48 hours in winter (20C). We know it is ready when the starter is bubbly active and increasing in volume. After around 14 hours or so it should start relaxing and become more loose and sticky. Once you see the starter having too many bubbles and it is frothing and has a nice smell, it is ready.
Mixing & kneading the dough
Once the starter is ready, add it to a large bowl. Add the flour, salt, dried herbs, honey and water to it. Mix and knead well to form a soft and supple dough that is not too sticky. Test the dough for the windowpane test wherein we stretch a small part of the dough to a thin layer such that we can see light passing through without the dough tearing. You should be able to achieve this by kneading for 15 to 20 minutes by hand. Once the dough is mixed, keep it in a well oiled bowl for it to double in volume. It should double in around 4 hours or so.
Shaping and Proving
Once the dough doubles in volume, we need to shape it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Shape it like a ball by pulling it from all four sides to the center. Once it is shaped nice and tight transfer it to a banetton or any vessel or small basket with a cloth in it. Dust the cloth with some rice flour to ensure the dough doesn’t stick. Cover and set aside for 2-3 hours till it rises to double the volume.
Baking & Cooling
Preheat the oven to 220C. Then grease a dutch oven or any oven friendly vessel which can be covered to bake. It will generate steam within to given the bread a beautiful crust. If you do not have that, then use a baking tray. In that case, add another empty tray to the oven at the lower rack of the oven while preheating. Just after putting the dough in the oven add some ice cubes to the tray at the lower rack. This will help in generating steam for the crust. Bake for 10 minutes at 220C and for 20-25 minutes at 200C. Uncover the vessel in the last 10 minutes. Once the top of the loaf has nicely browned, take it out the oven and transfer it to a wire rack to cool. The loaf will need around 2 hours to cool. Slice the loaf only after it cools completely.
I had previously published this recipe post for the Maori Potato Bread a couple of years ago when I had made a very small loaf and I have been planning to make a bigger one and get better results. Now I did it and am making some changes to the quantity of ingredients and pictures of my new loaf but the method stays the same with some additional insights.
Pin for later
For other sourdough breads check out Seeded Sourdough Boule and Sourdough Burger Buns. I also have the Roasted Garlic and Potato Bread and Potato Pizza which use potatoes in bread beautifully.
- OTG or MIcrowave Oven to bake
- Mixing bowls
- Baking tray
- Dutch Oven (optional)
For the starter
- 75-90 gms Potato
- 120 gms water
- 120 gms all-purpose flour
For the Bread
- 300 gms all-purpose flour
- Entire Starter from above
- 12 gms Honey
- 3 tbsp Dried herbs / Seasoning of your choice
- 8 gms salt
- 120 gms Water
For the potato starter
- Bring the 120 gms water to a boil
- Wash and peel the potato and cut into small pieces
- Add the potato to the water and cook it till mash-able consistency
- Transfer the potato mix to a bowl and add sufficient water to bring the total weight to 165 gms
- Once it is slightly cool, mash the potato in the water completely to ensure no solid pieces remain. Set aside to cool fully
- After it is cooled, add the 120 gms of all purpose flour and mix well to form a slightly stiff dough
- Cover and set aside till doubles. It can take between 24 to 60 hours depending on the climate
For the bread
- Once the potato starter is bubbly and alive add it to a large bowl
- Add all the other ingredients for the bread to the large bowl and mix well
- Knead well to form a soft and supple dough
- Set aside till it doubles in volume, around 4-6 hours
- Once it doubles, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape it into a tight ball
- Keep it in a banetton or small basket to double in size, around 2 hours
- Preheat the oven to 220C
- Transfer the dough to a greased dutch oven or baking tray
- Bake for 10 minutes at 220C and for 20-25 minutes at 200C
- Once the crust is nicely brown, transfer it to a wire rack to cool, around 2 hours
- Slice and enjoy with a dash of butter
This is my post for the mega marathon under the letter R.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75
What a passion! Really motivating!!
Oh my ! That’s a really lengthy processs , but man ! Awesome results , love the bread . Love that stencil design on it , gives it a wow effect
Such a lengthy process na, how beautifully you baked it and that stencil effect gives a beautiful look to this bread. Gorgeous loaf there.
When I read Rosemary in the ingredients list, I could almost smell this bread! Looks great.
Using the potato as kind of a starter is very new to me. bookmarked to try later. Awesome crumb.
I think you got rewarded well.. The texture and crust are perfect. Great bake sowmya.
Sowmya, the way you have worked hard for this series, I am sure Bread Gods will reward you immensely..:)..I love how beautiful the crumb looks, maybe not as much as you wanted, I am fine with it…hope you get around to making the whole recipe and enjoy!
That is a gorgeous loaf of bread. Love that decoration on top.
Love baking with potato. They make great breads and this is no exception. You have come up with some amazing breads in the series and I am loving it!
This loaf looks quite simple yet very nice one to try. The top looks beautiful.
Wow.. Potato instead of yeast never new this before..Looks beautiful!!
my fiancee in Hong Kong like the look of the Maori BP bread I was eating then I showed her this alternative with starter yeast the Maori way.
Dam .. I’m impressed so delicious I’m going to do this my self.
I’m a lazy dutch chef taught by a chef working in Buckingham Palace, if it’s good enough for the Queen, as this would be I’ve just gotta give it a try
KLEIJbykleij a.k.a. mdbobbo .. private web site initiating soon Sept 2020
That’s lovely!! Do try and let me know how you liked it
While I was reading your post, I recollected the brilliant Maori hospitality we enjoyed. This Rewena paraoa is certainly on my list as it us about making memories.
Sowmya, I’m simply in awe of all the different kinds of breads you bake. Rewena Paraoa looks so inviting with that beautiful crispy crust and soft crumb. What is so interesting is the potato starter. For now book marking this recipe. Once I settle down, definitely will make it as not many ingredients are required.
Wow…what a beautiful bread you have baked. Though the process of making is bit lengthy but the outcome is so satisfying..
Such a beautiful bread with potato as the starter. Bookmarking and I must start baking bread at the earliest.
Absolutely wonderful bake using potatoes. It is slightly lengthy but worth the effort. I would love to try baking this bread sometime. You are such a pro baker.