Saturday, July 17, 2010

Holiday projects

I had a special mission for these school holidays, something I'd been wanting to do for the longest time - to make some rewena paraoa, also known as Maori bread, using this recipe from one of my old community cookbooks.

Rewena paraoa is made from fermented potatoes and wheat flour and not too much else. Once I had seen the recipe in that old cookbook I started seeing recipes for it everywhere, including a very detailed one here (to save me writing out instructions myself). I don't know why wild yeasts interest me so much, but somehow it seems like a good thing to let the yeast do the work on the flour in its own good time, without flour treatment agents and all the other bits and bobs that go into commercial (bread maker) yeast.

Well, I stirred up my flour and mashed potatoes and let it all happen in a nice warm place (in a chillybin with some warm water in it, because everywhere else is too cold at the moment). The starter got nice and foamy and smelled all sour and delicious, but it took its own sweet time about it (5 days if you please! Sheesh!).
And then I took it all over with me on holiday to my favourite little seaside town, Collingwood, and made it into a nice big yummy loaf of bread, which we ate with bacon and butter while we sat in the winter sun, gazing out at the tide and the clouds.
This was a fun project, and yummy too. I thought it might sneak in as a microbiological science experiment for the wee ones, but they were totally uninterested so I will drop the pretense of it having any educational value. Lets call it what it is: Microbiology for gluttons.
*Sigh* I love the holidays. Have you been doing anything interesting in the last coupla weeks?

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  1. Rewena... sigh... I based a whole years worth of biotechnology classes around it a few years back. We had the most cracking starter which we ended up feeding like a ginger beer bug (without the ginger) and it produced the most beautiful bread so long as you didn't mind waiting. We used to rise our dough overnight in the classroom and it never went out of control. One particular class went into business and sold their buns in the playground for 50 cents each - they were a hot commodity!

    Hope you had a great time at Collingwood.

  2. Well Miss Smith that is very WHOLESOME looking bread. Glad you had a good holiday.

  3. Bread looks great and I can't wait to start a starter. That 'curious Kai' link is an interesting one. Now that I've made my rye sourdough I've got busy again outside and will have to set some time aside to use it. Don't hold your breath. We (the adults) are ready for school to start again. Bring it on.

  4. I just think it's awesome that you took your bread on holiday with you. One of the family.

  5. Hi Jen - your holiday sounds great. JUst seeing that bread and thinking about eating near a beach makes me wonder why I am not taking a holiday sooner than christmas.

    Glad you all had such a great time. Hope Harry has a good birthday too.

  6. MMMM just hearing about eating the bread with butter and bacon....there is somethng so satisfying about bubbling yeast...I am so intrigued by this five day thing, I know my wee Alex would love it...he is so into "kitchen science experiments" and is forever concocting things using crazy ingredients and cooking them up in the microwave. I then find them a month later festering in his room...if I was a decent mother I would have found them that week huh....Love your blog.

  7. Kia Ora. That's so impressive. Many of my aunties and kuia have tried to demonstrate how to make rewana bread but failed. My last one was really yummy for the five minutes its was out of the oven. It then went so hard I threw it out for the birds and it sat on the lawn accusingly for weeks. Even the birds wouldn't touch it. A bit embarassing for this Maori girl. My friends would laugh when they visited and saw that trophy out there. It was fun though, the kids kicked it around like a ball for a bit. sigh. good on you. admiration much.