South Africans living away from home crave traditional foods that are difficult to buy abroad. For me, one of those is rusks, the traditional double baked bread that other cultures know as biscotti. The African version is typically rough, robust and less sweet — and always dunked in tea or coffee. A rusk with your morning coffee is how you start a good day in Africa!
While my preference is for a wholewheat aniseed rusk, today I baked buttermilk muesli rusks instead. They’re easy to make …
Recipe: Buttermilk Muesli Rusks (makes 18-20) …
1 egg, beaten
250 ml buttermilk* (1 cup)
250 g butter, melted (1/2 lb)
125 ml sugar (1/2 cup) — or double to 250 ml (1 cup) for a sweeter rusk
2.5 cups muesli
5 ml salt (1 teaspoon)
500 g self raising** flour (1 lb)
12 ml baking powder (2.5 teaspoons)
*If not buttermilk then add some acid to react with the baking powder (e.g. add one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to an empty measuring cup. Add milk to fill the cup. Stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes until curdled. Stir, use in place of buttermilk.)
**If not self raising flour then add another 20 ml baking powder (4 teaspoons)
- Beat egg, buttermilk and melted butter together
- Stir in the sugar
- Blend the remaining dry ingredients and then stir into mix
- Grease a roasting pan
- Roll out golf ball sized dough balls (I got 18 balls into a 8”x11″ dish)
- Bake at 180 C (350 F) for 45 minutes
- Cool, turn out and separate the buns
- Dry out in a low oven about 100 C (200 F) for around 6 hours
Background and context for the bun method of making rusks: Both my grandmothers baked rusks. My English grandmother baked tea breads, sliced them up and baked it again. Her rusks were refined cuboid/rectangular prisms, more suitable for dunking in tea, I thought. My Afrikaans grandmother made buns, the method I used here. The result is a man-sized chunk of coffee dunkin’ goodness.
Dough balls in a greased pan, ready to bake …
Buns baked for 45 minutes …
Cool, turn out and separate the buns (they’re less fragile when cold) …
Ready for the second bake …
Unfortunately, having waited six hours or more for your rusks to dry out, you should also wait for them to cool down before consuming.
Yum, just like my Ouma made them!
Links Muesli Rusks