Rēwena (Māori bread) Recipe

Rēwena (Māori bread) is a favourite and goes well with many meals or on its own as a snack. The recipe is simple and great way to teach children about baking. First part of the recipe is the making of a ‘bug’ (starter) that helps the bread rise without yeast.

Bug (starter)

The bug can make several loaves of bread, and like a sourdough starter it will need to be ‘fed’. This should be done with 1/2 cup warm water one day and 1 teaspoon of sugar the next. Before making the bread the bug will need to ferment for at least 24 hours.


1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup of water
2 cups of flour
1 medium potato, diced

Boil the potato in the water (without salt) until soft and leave to cool.

When lukewarm, mash the potato and water and mix in the flour and sugar.

Add more warm water if needed to make a batter.

Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for a day – the batter will smell yeasty and have small bubbles on the surface.



5 cups of flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar
1 cup of your rēwena bug

Making the bread

Mix flour and salt into a large bowl.

Make a well in the centre.

Place the rēwena bug in the middle of the hole and sprinkle baking soda over all

Knead lightly for 10 to 15 minutes folding the dough over and over

Add more water if mixture feels too firm

Roll into a ball, and cover and leave to rise for a few hours or overnight

To make the dough rise faster leave it in the warming drawer of the oven or on a shelf in the sun

Sprinkle flour over a baking tray to prevent sticking and lightly spray the bread with liquid oil

Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for approximately 40 minutes

The cooking time will depend on how thick your bread is. Test if the centre of the bread is cooked by inserting a knife.

Rēwena bread is delicious with just a bit of butter, or eaten with a soup or stew. YUM!

Tip: While you wait for the bread to rise, you and your tamariki could do these great Te Reo Māori activites: https://www.tepapa.govt.nz/sites/default/files/final_te_reo_activity_book-with-license.pdf