Rewena bread

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Rēwena bread
Alternative namesRewena Bread
Place of originNew Zealand
Main ingredientsPotato flour

Rēwena parāoa (literally, "leavened bread,"[1] also spelled rewana) is a traditional Māori sourdough potato bread.


Rēwena means both "bread made with potato yeast" and "the process of fermentation that causes bread to rise."[2] The Maori word for potato, 'riwai'[3] (sometimes spelled 'rewa'), is the root word of rēwena.[4]


Rēwena bread uses a pre-ferment starter, also called a ‘bug.’[5] It is created by boiling and mashing potatoes, then adding flour and sugar.[6] Kumara, or sweet potatoes, may also be used.[7] The mixture is then allowed to ferment from one to several days, depending on the ambient temperature and humidity.[8] As with most sourdough breads, the starter can be maintained and used indefinitely, as long as the yeast is kept alive with regular feeding.[8] The potato starter and fermentation lends rēwena bread its characteristic sweet and sour taste.[8] The starter is then mixed with flour and water, kneaded, and baked- frequently in a round loaf.

Cultural significance[edit]

Rēwena may also be used to break the Maori taboo associated with visiting a cemetery by crumbling the bread over hands in lieu of washing with water.[9]

The "New World Rēwena Paraoa Baking Competition" is held during the Matariki Festival each year in New Zealand.[4]


  1. ^ Metge, Joan (2004). Rautahi: The Maori of New Zealand. Psychology Press. p. 102. ISBN 9780415330572.
  2. ^ "Rewena". Maori Dictionary. Te Whanake. Retrieved 3 March 2013.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Riwai". Maori Dictionary. Te Whanake. Retrieved 3 March 2013.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b "New World Rewena Paraoa Baking Competition". Matariki Festival Competitions. Retrieved 6 March 2013.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "How to make the best Maori bread in town". The New Zealand Herald. 26 July 2007. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  6. ^ McLean, Mervyn (2004). To Tatau Waka. Auckland UniversityPress. p. 48.
  7. ^ "Paraoa Parai / Rewena Bread". Kaitime. Archived from the original on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  8. ^ a b c Olsen, Nigel. "Rewena Bread- the beginning". Curious Kai: The Curious New Zealand Food Blog. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  9. ^ Albala, Ken (2011). Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 173. ISBN 9780313376269.