Buttermilk rusks are always a winner, especially when dunked in tea or coffee!
While South Africans around the world yearn for and enjoy the well known Ouma Rusks, there’s something a bit special about homemade rusks. For those not in the know, rusks are kind of like biscotti, and a much loved South African treat. Thanks to Debra van der Merwe for sharing another super easy recipe!
- 1 kg cake flour
- ¾ tsp salt
- 3 level tbles baking powder (not baking soda)
- 500 ml buttermilk OR
- 500 ml full fat milk mixed with 3 tbles vinegar or lemon juice (buttermilk)
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1½ cups sugar (white or light brown)
- 1 tbles caramel essence or vanilla essence
- 250gr cold butter, cut into small blocks
- Turn oven onto very low heat about 150°F (65 C).
- Spray 2 loaf tins with non-stick baking spray or grease with butter. You need 2 cookie sheets for drying out rusks at end, ungreased.
- If you are not using buttermilk, add the vinegar or lemon juice to the full cream milk, stir and let it stand for about 5 minutes.
- Sift flour, salt & baking powder together.
- Rub butter into flour until it looks like bread crumbs. (you can use a food processor on pulse mode for this step).
- Transfer breadcrumb mixture to a large bowl.
- Beat egg,add buttermilk and essence to egg mixture, add sugar and stir.
- Add to dry ingredients and mix in with a knife.
- Knead well by hand until dough reaches the elastic stage. If the dough is too sticky on your hands, just sprinkle a little flour in until dough is no longer sticky.
- Roll mixture into sausage shapes (about the length of your thumb and a bit thicker) and loosely pack into tins, OR halve dough and shape into 2 loaves in tins then cut to size when cooked, whichever you prefer. (I do the loaves)
- Put tins with mixture in oven for ± 45 minutes at 150°F (65 C) to rise.
- Remove from oven.
- Set oven to 350°F (180 C) when oven reaches this temperature, bake for 40 - 45 minutes.
- Set oven to lowest heat again, about 150°F (65 C).
- Turn out loaves to cool.
- When cool gently break balls apart, or slice loaves into slices about ¾ inch thick then slice these slices into ¾ inch fingers – if possible use an electric knife.
- Place in a single layer on cookie sheets with a little space between each rusk, place in oven at 150 F (65 C) to dry for about 8 hours, turn rusks one turn about every 2 hours.
- Allow to cool, put into air-tight tins or air-tight plastic bags.
I usually double up the mixture and make 4 loaves because of the electricity used in the drying process.
You will need a very large mixing bowl if you double up plus 4 loaf tins, or 2 large mixing bowls and then just do 2 recipes simultaneously.