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Fresh Bush bread for Wainibuka

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

FOR Wainibuka villagers gone are the days when a loaf of bread was about 25 km away in Korovou.

Before Hot bread shop opened in Korovou they waited for bread vans from as far as Suva or Rakiraki to deliver the bread to their village shops or to the school.

Today not only do they eat bread but they are eating healthy wholemeal bread with bakers who have made bread using the ancient wheat grinding methods renowned for pioneers of the great continents in Canada and the United States, who settled their with their bread making methods from the United Kingdom.

Pioneers of those days were staunch Christians puritans if you like and much involved in spiritual uplifting as well as the physical aspect of life.

Today Navesau Secondary School, villagers and commuters can thank Mel and Eileen Stanke, who had brought their bread making skills from Rock Creek in British Columbia in Canada to the hills of Wainibuka in the interior of the Tailevu Province.

The two volunteers, who are attached with the Seventh Day Adventist Church, are continuing the Eat for Strength Navesau bakery deep in the interior of Wainibuka close to the border of Ra. It is no wonder that it is now dubbed bush bread.

The project was started by Daryll and Byrle Hagen fellow Canadians who were also attached with the SDA in Fiji and based at the school.

Mrs Steinke said the school struggled to make financial commitments and needed a side business to help operate the school so the Hagens started a canteen and later the bakery. She said the canteen was turned over to the school by the Hagens once it started and then she and her husband arrived.

We offered to continue running the bakery and then turn it over to the school, she said.

Ever since we took over commuters from as far as Nadi and Suva have come here looking for our bush bread as someone called it.

Mel himself is a professional baker in bread and learnt how to stone grind his own wheat and bake real wholemeal bread.

He said a man from Germany developed a method of stone grinding and designed his own mills to suit todays standards.

We could make flour without taking the wheat germ out of it and this was kept in bags and stored in dry areas for up to two years, Mr Steinke said.

While we are not using the same kind of flour here we do make wholemeal bread.

This bread is good as it flushes out the system but a lot of people simply like the taste and the wonder of it all in Fiji is that coconut wireless gets news around quite fast. I did not go to a school to learn this as it was passed on to me by a friend and I did it so often that I got to teach other people how to bake bread.

Apart from the wholemeal bread they also make coconut cookies, rolled oat cookies and muffins. The school also takes on students to work part time to learn the skills and gives them experience in a business set up.

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