Featured Posts

The Pounamu Prophecy - birth of a book Two women, two cultures and an ancient Maori prophecy that will change their lives. That's the tag line for The Pounamu Prophecy - my first novel. It has been a slow process, interrupted by moving...


Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol?Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol? The short answer is yes - you can eat mussels if you have high cholesterol. Mussels are low in kilojoules, cholesterol and fat. The little fat they do have is mostly healthy unsaturated fat with plenty...


Bran MuffinsBran Muffins These bran muffins (adapted from a recipe by Alison Holst) are super filling - a great snack when you are trying to control your weight. Enjoy these muffins with a cup of tea but don't expect to absorb...


Beat the flu with Chicken Noodle Soup It’s Queen’s Birthday holiday today in New Zealand and thank goodness, the sun is shining. I’m sitting in a sunny room writing this post, sheltered from the icy wind blasting up from Antarctica....


My nanna's recipe for homemade Rewena (Maori) bread Rewena Bread Step 1 1 c flour 1 tsp sugar 1 potato Peel and cut potato into small pieces. Place in pot with 1 cup water, lid on, and simmer to mashing consistency. Mash, cool and when luke...


  • Prev
  • Next

My nanna’s recipe for homemade Rewena (Maori) bread

Posted on : 07-05-2009 | By : Cindy | In : Maori kai, My idiot-proof recipes


Rewena Bread

Step 1

1 c flour
1 tsp sugar
1 potato

Peel and cut potato into small pieces. Place in pot with 1 cup water, lid on, and simmer to mashing consistency. Mash, cool and when luke warm add sugar and flour. Mix to a pikelet batter consistency. If it is too thick, add more warm water. Cover and place in a warm place for 24-48 hours to ferment. The mixture should smell yeasty and sweet.


Step 2

After 24-48 hours, set aside 1 tablespoon of the dough and put into a large Agee jar. Cover and keep in warm place.  Feed one day with ½ cup warm potato water and next day with 1 teaspoon sugar. This is your ‘bug’ which is the base for making future loaves of rewena. Skip this step if you only want to make one loaf.


Step 3

5 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Mix flour, salt and soda. Pour in rewena from step 1 and mix. Add more water if necessary. Knead 10 mins.
Put in greased dish and set in a warm place to rise.
Place in cold oven and bake at 150-180C for 1 hour. This allows the bread to rise a bit more as the oven temperature rises.

For more on making Rewena see:

My rewena trial and error tryout

Results of my attempts to make a nutritious rewena bread

Curious Kai


Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Comments (46)

kiaora Cindy! You have some great posts up here. I am in the process of thinking about starting a Nana rewena recipe too, I’m just gathering the resources and the forces first! It is great to read about your efforts – I think I have a long road ahead! x nga mihi nui, Louise

It’s great you’re going to make rewena, Louise. It’s a tradition we need to keep alive – and it tastes so yummy. Have fun!

Kia ora Cindy, I remember an old aunt showing me how to make rewana bread made with washed potato peelings as a starter, I have tried for years now to remember how it was done, for the life of me I couldn’t remember, I was 16 at the time, I am 72. On reading your recipe triggered those hidden memories, although I remember thinking how nice it tasted. I am going to try it again. Thank you for getting that out to us,.

Washed potato peelings sounds interesting. I think people must have adapted the recipe to suit their situation – using some leftover boiled potatoes as in my nana’s recipe or potato peelings as in your aunt’s recipe. I still remember my first taste and the fragrance of rewena – heaven!!

When i feed my bug on the alternating days, do i add flour as well to the bug with the potato water and sugar

[…] I conducted some further research online to fill in the gaps, coming up with two good sources with instructions from Curious Kai and Cindy Williams. […]

When you say keep a bid for next time, how much is a bit? a tablespoonful or more or less?. P.S. Thanks for the recipe

Thanks for your comment. One or two tablespoons should be enough. Then you just keep feeding it with potato water as described in the recipe. Hope it works for you!!

Hi there curious as to know how long do you have to keep feeding the bug? Is it every day or two for gow ever long u want to continue bakingthe bread. Like if u wanted to keep the bug for a couple months do i feed potatoe water every day or two for those couple months?

Hi Lynda,
You are right – you just keep feeding the bug, alternating every day or two with potato water and sugar, for as long as you want.

you said you don’t bother keeping the bug. if you did keep the bug, which part of the process do you not need to do next time?

If you keep the bug, you feed it for several days alternating between potato water and flour as in the recipe. When you have a cup or so of the fresh bug, add this to your dough mix, saving a little to feed up again. My nana used to keep it in an agee jar – the ones our grandparents used for preserves!

Kia Ora Cindy,
On this reply you say to feed it for several days alternating between potato water and flour?? did you mean sugar as in the recipe?

Is it best kept in fridge, on windowsill or dark warm place?

Hi Karyn,
Yes – alternate between potato water and sugar. Keep it in a warm place. I think my Nana kept hers in a cupboard. In the NZ winter I put mine in the hot water cupboard but in summer it may be fine on the bench or in a cupboard, so long as it is warm. I don’t think it needs to be dark.

Hi Cindy, what potato water are you referring to? I see no mention of potato water in step 1

Hi Cindy, should the bug stink? Mine smells quite pungent.

Hi Deanne, It should smell yeasty sweet. It’s a nice smell. If it stinks it may have picked up some not so nice bugs from the air – like when I put mine in the stinky shoe cupboard. I had to chuck it out.

how often do i need to feed it with the potato water and sugar?

Hi Megan, I think people have different methods but the way my Nana told me was to add potato water one day and sugar the next. The bug needs regular feeding to keep it alive.

hi when you say take a tablespoon of the dough and put into a jar what happens with the rest? can you make the bread with it or do you have to wait for the starter bug??? Sorry I’m a first time bread maker :/

Hi Emily, You make the dough and allow it to rise in a warm place for a day or overnight. It should have bubbles on top from the fermentation and should smell yeasty. A tablespoon goes in a jar to be used next time and you can use the rest of the dough to make your first loaf of rewena.

Just staring teh process now of making a bug, i live in irelandi get it riht and then keep the BUG alive, im very exicted… irish stews would be yummy with it cheers namaste Kia Ora Michelle ,…. havent had real brad in yrs, goona make it till

Hi Michelle,
Great to hear that rewena is spreading to Ireland – the home of potatoes!! Let me know how it goes.

A little concerned as my bug was really firm. Followed your recipe exactly. It is expanding though. Boiling up some potato water to add in when I add the rest of the flour etc cause obviously going to be really dry. If by some chance you are on line now and can offer other suggestions, would greatly appreciate. Thanks :)

Hi Leah
I would have tried what you did too. Sorry I missed you on-line. I was moving house. How did it work out?

You can store ur bug in an airtight container for 9 months in the fridge…I do this when I know I’m too busy to make it regularly
My mother made rewana every Sunday

Thanks for the great tip. Rewena every Sunday – what a lovely warm memory mmm!

Just trying your recipe for the first time and already a bit worried lol. In step 1 you say “mix to a firm texture”. Well at first I thought it was just gonna stay looking like breadcrumbs but finally I’ve got it mixed together and it looks like a block of pastry. Is this what it should be like ? I’ve now got it sitting in a warm place. My second question is when you start feeding the dough (bug) in the jar, do you mix the sugar and water with the dough or just pour it on top of the dough? Apparently my grandmother made Rewena bread every week, but I don’t remember :-(.

Add some extra potato water to the dough so it is more like wet, sloppy dough. The bug should be like thick liquid so you can stir in the potato water and sugar. Good luck!

Hi Cindy I want to say thank you for sharing your Nan recipe. :) I started a recipe sharing page on face book one month ago im a at home mum. My page has taken off and importance trying to share as many kiwi recipes as I can. I was requested for a Rwanda bread recipe and as I didn’t have one myself I hunted online and found yours. So thank you very much :) it has had over 20000 views! Many people are trying it so awesome.
My page is Ka Pai Kai – kiwis recipes. Im new to running a page and just doing from my cell. But we have over 1500 likes now and growing. Would you be willing to share some recipes on page? Would love your imput :) cheers Willow

Have you got this in te REO maori

Hi Maria, Sorry, I only have the recipe in English. I could perhaps ask my father in law to translate into te reo (his first language) if you need it x

Hi Cindy just for us slow ones please, so to continue the bug for latter use your saying put away a tablespoon in a jar ok so when we add a cup of potatoe water is that the same day the next day or what? And does the sugar go in at the same time or seperate days? How often does this process of feeding the bug to keep it alive have to occur….is it every 24-48hrs please explain :) Thankyou

To continue the ‘bug’ keep 1 tablespoon of the fermented dough and place in a generous sized jar. Cover with a lid and keep in a warm place. The next day add 1/2 cup warm potato water (water leftover after you have boiled some potatoes). The next day add a teaspoon sugar. Every 24 hours add either potato water or sugar.

i’m working away at getting a workable recipe for maori bread in a bread machine. i’ve started off my bug and kept it fed. so far it seems i have a 4cups of flour qty that has worked once and failed once. (5cups is too heavy for my machine) a few more successes and then i can hopefully post the recipe. getting the liquid to flour balance seems to be the biggest trick to get right.

Ka Pai Cindy, thanks for the info…. Kia pai to ra.

[…] I made  Rewena Bread. This is a traditional Maori bread made in New Zealand using fermented potato to make the bug that […]

Hi can I use kumara instead of potatoe?

Hi Joanne, I haven’t made rewena with kumara but I am pretty sure it would work – it will just be a bit sweeter.


I was taught how to make Rewana today and I’m very excited.

I think my teacher makes a “better” loaf than my Nan made, as it’s lighter, bounces back and less crumbly… but I can’t help but want to recreate the dense drier version from my childhood.

What would I need to do to make a more dense heavy bread with smaller air bubbles?

Try using less yeast i.e. rely on the rising action of the fermented potato without the help of extra yeast x

Hi there
i am making this gluten free
i have a few questions
1 Do you use potato water when making the bread?
as gluten free flour quiet often needs more water?
2 when potato is boiled does there need to 1 cup of water when you mash?
3 do you mash with the water in?

Hi Sandra, You don’t have to use potato water to make the bread. The potato is just for making the ‘bug’.
Yes mash the potato with the water it has been boiled in. If you need to, add more tap water to get the right consistency – somewhere between pikelet and pancake batter.
Let us know how the gluten free version goes!!

I haven’t fed my bug as I brought it back from holiday and put it straight into the fridge in an air tight container. I would like to know since I haven’t continued to feed it is it still going to serve it’s purpose or have I ruined it.

I remember having this as a kid. I love it with butter and golden syrup.

The potato water in step 2 is from boiling some more potatoes. This was easier in our grandparents day when we had boiled potatoes most nights – there was always potato water on hand to add to the jar of rewena bug.

Write a comment (your email address is never shared or published)