Rewena Bread Starter

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  • 3 medium potatoes, sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups flour


Place potato and water in a small saucepan and cook until potato is soft. Remove from heat, when potato is warm add sugar and flour and mix well.
Place in a clean sterilised jar with a lid.
Day 1 – feed starter with 1/2 cup warm water
Day 2 – feed starter with 1 teaspoon sugar
Repeat these steps daily to keep your starter alive.

To make bread mix 1.5 kg flour with 3/4 cup starter, 2 cups warm water, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

From here directions are sketchy so if you can fill them in I would love to hear from you!


The recipe above has been supplied by a member of the public and has not been individually tested by Helen Jackson. Helen Jackson does not accept any liability in relation to publication of this recipe.


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8 thoughts on “Rewena Bread Starter

  1. Here is someone elses recipe.

    Rewena Paraoa is a traditional Maori bread made with the use of rewa (potato) which gives bread firm texture. It is the perfect accompaniment to boil-ups, stews, casseroles and/or the traditionally cooked hangi. Rewena can be prepared in advance of any occasion, baked and also eaten hot with butter, jams and/or golden syrup or cold with a fresh pot of tea.

    STEP ONE – Original Starter Plant/Bug:

    Starter Plant is also known as Bug and/or Leavening

    2 cups flour

    3 medium potatoes

    1 cup water

    1 tsp sugar

    Day one:

    1 To make Starter Plant, Peel, slice and boil potato in 1 cup of water to mashing consistency. Mash potato thoroughly with any remaining water in pot & set aside.

    2 When lukewarm add flour and sugar, mix all ingredients together to a fairly firm texture. Mixture should be a dough-like resemblance.

    Cover and leave in a warm place to prove/ferment.

    STEP TWO – Feeding your original Starter Plant daily

    1 medium potato

    1 cup water

    1 tsp sugar

    Day two and three:

    1 To feed the above plant daily, peel, cut and boil potato in 1 cup of water. When boiled remove the potatoes and retain the liquid, set liquid aside until lukewarm.

    2 Pour 1 cup of warm liquid mixed with 1 teaspoon of sugar into the starter plant (made the day before) and mix well. Store again in a warm place to continue in the proving/fermenting process.

    3 Repeat this process on Day Three.

    Note: On days 2 & 3 starter plant should resemble a thick creamy consistency similar to batter. The plant should rise and form bubbles, this is a good indicator the plant is ready for Step Three.

    It is OK if plant has a sour odour to it. Do not discard it is fermenting well.

    STEP THREE – Making Rewena Paraoa from the Starter Plant

    5 cups flour

    1 tsp salt

    1 tsp baking soda

    1 cup water (approx.)

    1 Pre-heat oven to 200c. Grease and lightly flour 2 Baking Trays (Pizza Trays are ideal) or 2 medium size (approx 20cms in diameter) Round Baking Tins and/or Loaf Tins- set aside.

    2 In a large bowl sift flour and salt and make a well in the centre, pour in all of the Starter Plant and sprinkle baking soda over starter plant. Mix ingredients until combined adding extra water if required.

    3 Turn out onto floured bench and knead lightly for approximately 10 minutes.

    Take out a scoop (approx 2 dessert spoons) and use this to make another plant, following through with daily feeding as to Step Two – Day Two & Three. May require an additional cup (or 2) of sifted Plain Flour added to mixture to maintain a thick batter like consistency. By continuing this process you can always have a plant handy to make Rewena Paraoa every few days.

    4 With the remaining dough, split in 1/2 and shape into baking tins or onto trays. Bake in pre-heated over for approximately 30-40 minutes or until golden.

    5 Turn out of trays, slice and eat hot with butter, golden syrup, jam and a good cup of tea! Leftover Rewena is best covered with a clean damp tea-towel to maintain freshness.

    • Sharon thanks so much for taking the time to give this feedback and alternative recipe.
      If you happen to take a photo of your Rewena then we would love to share it here….
      Helen :)

      • Hey do you have to use all of starter?or can you carry on feeding original starter on and on if that makes sense?

      • You can keep it for as long as you want as long as you keep feeding it! That’s the instructions under point 3 to set aside a scoop to continue your starter.

  2. You save a couple tablespoons of the unsalted dough that you cook into bread, put that into a jar with 1/2 a cup of unsalted potato water and 1 tsp sugar the first time then alternate the potato water and sugar from the following day

  3. The recipe should read Boil 3 medium Potatoes not 3 slices of potato.
    and every second day add the unsalted water from boiled potatos, not just water. You can boil just a couple potatoes if you don’t eat potatoes every day.
    I also never add the extra flour to the rewena bug just add the unsalted potato water every second day until your 1 litre jar is full then make as much bread as you can with that and dont salt the dough at all as the salt kills the yeast. Its not like bakers yeast and you dont need to kill it during the process

  4. I just saw this post.Helen I had an urge to make some maori bread a few days ago so thought I would update here.
    I didnt feed my bug just left it covered on the bench and as luck would have it got busy and the weather cooled.Today(3 days later) I finally had time and made up the dough keeping back part of the bug(approx 100ml)
    Then I used 1 cup wholemeal and 3-4 cups high grade flour,1 teasp B.Soda and kneaded it for the 10 mins.
    Popped it in to tins then on a shelf behind the fire until I was ready to bake it.
    Some hours later I put it in a cold oven 200C and cooked it for 50 mins.Gorgeous aroma and very successful bread for tea tonight.

    Its a very forgiving recipe and great fun for kids to make too.