Thursday, January 25, 2007

Rewena Bread - conclusion


Rewena Bread - Stage 3: Construction / Completion

NB. I've since added some suggestions which may improve the flavour of the bread - a big thanks to Mary from La Tavola.

With my mother installed as overseer and technical advisor, it was time to bake some bread - out came the ingredients:

1/2 litre of starter/bug (feed the remainder with sugar & water; otherwise pop in the fridge if you're not wanting to make more bread anytime soon)
4 tbspn sugar
5 cups flour

1 tspn salt

Combine dry ingredients and form a well, either in a bowl or on a clean surface. Pour bug into well and mix (yes, that's my mum - she started it and I eventually jumped in).


Eventually.


You may find you'll need to add water to the mixture if it appears too dry.

Time to knead the dough; more flour may be required to make it firmer. Kneading serves to further combine the ingredients, as well as distributing tiny air pockets evenly throughout the dough, thus strengthening its structure. Parallels were drawn between my kneading and that of an alsation playing the piano, so again my mother stepped in to show me how it's done (UPDATE - Mary suggested a couple of tips at this point: the dough should be a little sticky - too much flour when kneading can make it dry, as can too much kneading, which should be done for ten minutes at the most).



Cut (if necessary) and shape your dough. Place in a bowl, cover and leave to prove for a few hours in a warm place (such as the backseat of a 1985 Ford Laser parked in the sun UPDATE - er, this may be a tad too hot: if the proofing temperature is too high, not only will it drive off moisture, but temperatures above 35C stress the yeast - try your airing/hotwater cupboard instead). The dough will by now have almost doubled in size; knead again to remove any large air pockets that may have formed.



Bake at 200 Celsius in a greased loaf tin (which I don't have, hence the improv metal bowl-thingy) for 45-50 minutes. As the baking draws to a close, test the bread with a skewer or knock on the top of th
e loaf - if it sounds hollow, it's ready.


Well, it certainly looks impressive, but how did it taste? Bland. The last time I had rewena bread was a loaf I'd bought from the Albert St market in Palmerston North; it was firm and sweet. This, while big and bountiful, tasted a little dry and lacked the distinctive taste of that loaf, the subtle tang combined with its characteristic sweetness. I'm not entirely sure what went wrong - mum attributed it to the potatoes (I used new instead of floury(sp?) potatoes which are meant to be better), or some sort of glitch during fermentation. No matter - this was my first effort and now that I have a bug, I can try again and hopefully develop my rudimentary baking skills.

A big twenty-one gun salute to mummo for all her help and patience (bless!).

UPDATE - Mary also suggested using a little honey in the dough mixture; it retains moisture, limiting the likelyhood of the dough drying out while also imparting sweetness and flavour (depending on the type you use, say, Manuka).

32 comments:

Bron said...

looks gorgeous!

Nigel said...

It does look good, but like I said in the post, it just doesn't taste right - more practice!

Arfi Binsted said...

it certainly looks tempting, nigel! well done for the first attempt! and one question is: the bread that i looked at the market was tall and i was wondering what tin she used for a tall and thick bread. i was thinking about perhaps milo's can, but would it be possible?

Beccy said...

That's some process for making bread, hope you manage to perfect the recipe.

Tim said...

What a shame it did not taste as good as you had hoped it would after putting in all that effort. It is they type of thing that happens to me too! Let us know if future attempts provide a better result.

Nigel said...

Thanks guys. Mary gave my posts a once over and made some suggestions which I've added to the original posts. I really want to nail this - properly made rewena bread tastes fantastic! Arfi, I'm not too sure - the large milo cans would be ideal for achieving that shape.

Barbara said...

It does look good though Nigel. Pity about the taste.

Nigel said...

Thanks Barb - I'm chalking this one up to experience. I might just stick to cooking animals...

Nigel said...

What's frustrating is the fact that it looks great but tastes nondescript; not horrible or bad, just bland.

ChrisB said...

I have been following this process with interest and the end product certainly looks good, even if you feel the taste could be improved. Practise makes perfect or so they say!

Nigel said...

Thanks Chris! I've got a post coming up about a Maori food festival I went to over the weekend - interesting to see their rewena bread and sharing notes - post coming up soon.

Emma said...

It looks beautiful!

Shaun said...

Nigel - Your Rawena bread looks grand, and I'm sorry that it was bland. Perhaps the addition of honey would have not only added some syrupy moisture but would have imparted a special flavour, especially since we have so many types of honeys available to us in New Zealand (my favourite is pohutakawa, which took back to the US with me in bucket loads when I lived there). Good on you for going to all that effort to make this bread.

Nigel said...

Shaun, you're absolutely right - we're spoilt for choice here. I remember having all manner of food sent to me from NZ too, when I was living in the US. I also remember making hokey pokey ice cream there too - I made many converts to my cooking that night!

Sharon said...

Hi
I think the flavour of your initial loaf was bland because you used a fresh just started bug. After feeding your bug for several weeks I think the flavour will naturally improove as the additonal potato water will develope the sour tang that gives this bread its distinctive flavour. I just got a new bug going here and have my first loaf in 20 years in the HWC and its almost ready to go in the oven. I punch mine down a couple of times during the rising process too. The addition of a couple of tablespoons of milk powder and grate into your flour about 50 grams of frozen butter(its easier to grate frozen and saves rubbing in) and one crushed vit C tablet, whilst these ingredients are not common to Rewena, they improove the doughs texture and keeping time, but who ever keeps Rewena longer than a day LOL its usually eaten the day its baked. Cheers

Nigel said...

Sharon, that's awesome! Thanks very much for the advice - I've been thinking about giving it another whirl, now I think I will - your technique makes so much sense.

pixie1time said...

My loaf was awesome too. I have an old Army surplus double Baracuda loaf tin that I bought 22 years ago for $4 lol, so the 7 cups of flour recipe it ended up being, fits in one side. Bea-yoo-tiful BIG double loaf, and similar to yours, only a very faint rewena flavour but I know from experience this will impoove as my bug ages. I never salt my original loaf either so there is no salt in the dough you keep for the first bug. Salt kills yeast.
Im going to experiment way outside the brick with this bread, Imagine cooked and cooled watercress added to the dough. I reckon thats worth a crack lol...now to remember my sign in details....

Nigel said...

If you do it, send me photos (my email address is on my profile). I've just started a new bug and I'm following Sharon's advice about leaving it for several weeks.

AHSC said...

The bread looks beautiful!

I am going to give it a try.

Anna

Nigel said...

Neat! Tell me how you get on, Anna.

Sharon said...

Hi again, well Im on loaf 3 now. This last bug looked inactive so I dropped about 5 grains of yeast into it and it became rocket fuel LOL smelt like something I could run my car on. I still used it however and added half a small bottle of cream to the recipe and a crushed Vit C tablet and a couple of tsp of sugar but I think my dad used to use 2 tablespoons of sugar so will try more next time and the resulting loaf is soft and light and delicious. That Post above from Pixie1time is also me I seem to have created 2 accounts somehow and dont know how to rectify that.
The loaf I make is 5 cups of flour (2 wholemeal and 3 white with more sprinkled in as I knead it) and 2 cups of Rewena bug liquid and this makes a Baracuda sized loaf. I cooked this last one on 220oC for 40 min on the clock in my oven and its toasty brown all over.
The Ginger beer bug I started has also been bottled and its got fizz within 5 days. Another week or so and it will be awesome!

Nigel said...

Hey Sharon,
You're quite the chemist! I showed my mum your additions to your bug and being a breadmaker of some reknown, she was quite taken with your approach. I'm going to give your recipe a go this weekend as my bug has been sitting for a few weeks and I'm itching to use it.

Madz said...

my mum and nan have an old pot that they use for cooking their Maori bread in which is just as good if you don't have a loaf tin.

Nigel Olsen said...

Good idea, Madz. they're not to hard to find, especially at second hand stores, or in the case of you & other Wellingtonians, the dump shop!

Miss Smith said...

Hi Nigel, thanks for these great instructions, I'm on my second starter now and I've just made a fantastic batch of bread by dumping the rewena starter into this recipe: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=1616
I also added a little commercial yeast just to make sure it worked and the resulting bread was delicious, it looked just like the one in their photo with big holes and a nice sour flavour.
I really enjoy your blog.

Nigel Olsen said...

Miss Smith! Thanks for your very kind words :) Your blog is a gem of a read; as for the reults of your experimentation, what an awesome result - well done!

Anonymous said...

I haven't made rewena bread for many years, but have decided to make some for my american husband and friends. I just have to wait for my bug to grow :)
When I bake it in the oven, I use a round biscuit tin. Comes out looking just like my nana's rewena bread did :)

Lynn

Nels Boswell said...

You are so clever! Did anyone else taste your bread cause it looks yummy,delicious, and such a gorgeous colour. What was the crust like. Must break my dough up likewise, well done I say ...
Nels-when I have the dough, I pump bread out daily and test it out on staff at sch - no complaints:-)

Nigel Olsen said...

Nels Boswell - it wasn't bad for my first loaf. Subsequent efforts since have gotten a lot better!

Lynn - I hope your husband appreciates your efforts :)

Curiousas - Just add a teaspoon of sugar in a little lukewarm water to the saved portion, but you really want to keep making bread from it because it's active. Alternatively, just pop it in the fridge which will slow down activity & revive it by bringing it back to room temperature (then feed with sugar water).

Anonymous said...

Taha, Hi Nigel..my partner stumbled on to your site and she started making her a bug, unfortunately it didnt come out well all, so i`v decided to attempt it myself.I`ve passed the paste-like stage and it has survived the next day, i`ve just finished feding the bug.So all i have to do now is be patient till the next day, but i`m loving all the readings and tips that have been posted.... Thank you for this site.

Nigel Olsen said...

You're very welcome :) It's very handy having people pop in & adding their experience/wisdom to this thread, so I hope it's of use to you.

Maarie said...

E hoa ma, nga mihi to all the contributors to this site. You have helped me as I stumble through the process of trying to get my own bug going. The first was a surly character that produced a suitably dull sour tasting bread. But better luck with the second - helped along by Edmonds sure bake - bread which was edible and even faintly tasted of rewana. So now I am on my next gen bug and hoping to see great things, just in time for matariki. Maybe down the road I'll also chuck in some cream etc and really push the boundaries!