Monday, March 28, 2011

BBB: Maori Bread or Rewena Paraoa

A tale of the good, the bad, the ugly, and the good.

This month's Bread Baking Babes and Friends challenge was hosted by Lien, who chose Maori Bread, or Rewena Paraoa. What's really cool about this bread is that you make your own fermented potato starter.

That was one of the good things about this experience. The fermenting process takes about 48 hours after you boil and smash the potatoes. I put this mixture on top of the water heater, checking it once or twice a day. It was exciting to watch the bubbles form.

On baking day, I mixed the potato starter with more flour, some yeast, honey, salt, and finely chopped rosemary. I didn't want to add too much flour to the dough, but in retrospect, I should have added more than I did. The final dough was very slack, a lot like ciabatta dough. Even allowing an extra rise didn't help.

When I put the dough on the baking sheet, it spread into a big puddle. Pulling off the plastic wrap partially deflated it even though both surfaces were liberally oiled. There was no way a stencil would work.

This was the bad part of the experience.

Now, on to the ugly part.

The bread.

I finally gave up and decided to bake it as is. But, I was distressed enough that I didn't recheck the baking instructions, so the poor bread baked for a full half hour at 425 degrees.

One side was a bit darker than the other.


On to another good part: the texture.

This bread had great texture and flavor in spite of the rising/baking issues. The holes and cavities were terrific.

I'm considering making this bread again sometime, adding more flour to make a firmer dough. This will probably reduce the number of holes, but it's worth a second try.


Lien said...

Beautiful crumb!! the bread may be a bit flat, but that's probably because of differences in flour. If even the oiled plastic stuck to it it could have used a little more flour and/or folds. But in the end it's all about the taste!! Thanks for baking with us.

Elizabeth said...

The crumb looks wonderful. And I, being an expert at cooking bread for too long at too high a temperature, think the crust looks lovely as well. I like the appearance of a leaf. I can't believe that's not a stencilled design.

hobby baker Kelly said...

I was afraid mine was too wet too, but it did perk up after a couple folds. Your crumb looks so fabulous, tender and soft. Yum!