There are days where I am ten feet tall. There are weeks where I only want to wear a mini skirt and rock some heels while strutting everything I have.
Sometimes I have great hair that curls perfectly and shines golden hues in the sun. Someone once told me that my hair looks like wheat fields.
Those are the days, the days that make it all worth while.
Other days take effort.
There are other times when everything I touch falls on the floor, spilling its contents in one million directions or shatters into twenty bazillion shards of lethal glass.
My dog runs off to far away lands.
I can wear the same pair of black leggings for days on end with the frumpiest flats I can dig out of my closet.
My hair is often ignored, dry, there is grow out, dirt, frizz and general lack of control.
But I can pretend that I wear the perfect shade of lipstick that is always perfectly applied, I dress to the nines every morning by 6 am and life just seems to roll smoothly. I never over eat and there is always wine left in the bottle. I will always be a size 4. Always.
Sometimes my bread comes out of the oven in perfect condition, worthy of note and makes it into our meals. Other times I try and sabotage the bread every step of the way. Every. Step. Not intentionally, maybe I just need a challenge from the greater bread goddess. Whatever.
This dough almost went in the trash before it made it to the oven. It made it to the oven, kicking and screaming.
This bread was doomed from the get go when I neglected to peel the potatoes. I honestly don't peel potatoes, we hardly even eat them but when they do grace our tables I make sure they are young and have very thin edible skin. I wasn't about to give them the time of day they deserved. Actually, you can hardly notice skins (fibre my friends, thank me in the morning...). Honestly I don't know where I went wrong, I measured to the gram, but somewhere along the line my dough was way too wet and I was unsure if I really should add at least another cup of flour. I should have. Also never put the rising dough over the exhaust of the oven while it is on. It may be warm, a little too warm...... Blah blah blah.
I made it this far - the bread was going into the oven. Surprisingly, the bread puffed and became a beautiful golden color. The cooled and sliced bread was incredibly moist, a perfect candidate for a sandwich or just a schmear of salted butter.
Rewena paraoa (Maori bread)
"Rewena is the Maori term for the fermented potato mixture used as a raising agent to make this effect it's a type of sourdough. It's difficult to find the exact history of this bread, but it has been suggested that a flat unleavened bread was made with ground-up bullrush plant and water, baked over hot rocks. Traditionally, rewena is baked for large gatherings and the loaf is simply torn apart for sharing amongst friends and family. I have added a little fresh rosemary for flavour because this bread has little salt and can be bland. Stencilling the iconic New Zealand silver fern onto the loaf by dusting with flour and baking gives this loaf a truly New Zealand identity. This rewena needs to be made two to three days ahead."
100 g potato, peeled and thinly sliced
165 ml water
165 g strong bread flour
1 tsp liquid honey
400 g strong bread flour
1 tsp salt
20 g liquid honey
1/4 tsp instant active dried yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
150 ml water
330 g rewena, as above
additional flour, for dusting
4— 5 ice cubes, for creating steam in the oven
Place the dough into a lightly oiled large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place. Once the dough has almost doubled in size (this will take approximately 1 hour), tip the dough onto the bench dusted with flour and gently knock it back by folding it onto itself three to four times. Return the dough to the lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave for a further 30 minutes in a warm place.
(optional) Cut a silver fern-leaf or Maori moko design stencil out of stiff paper. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and place the stencil on the dough's surface (I sprayed the stencil with pan coating, otherwise it would have got stuck on the dough), then with a fine sieve filled with a little (white rye) flour, lightly dust flour over the stencil so you are left with a pattern on the loaf. Carefully remove the stencil. Using a sharp knife or razor blade, cut around the edge of stencilled pattern.
Preheat the oven to 220ºC with a baking tray or baking stone inside (the stone should really be hot!) and a small ovenproof dish on the bottom shelf. Place the loaf in the oven and quickly throw 4-5 ice cubes into the small ovenproof dish and close the oven door.
Bake for 10 minutes and then turn the tray around, reduce the oven temperature to 200°C and bake for a further 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is a dark golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
(adapted from: “Global Baker” – Dean Brettschneider)