South African Rusks

I started creating this post about South African Rusks in April 2013, but then it just sat there as I was too nervous to start the blog.  A bit like I’m to shy to make it publicly known that I have one other than the 5 people I’ve told.

Finally 10 months later I’ll finish it and post it.

Simon has a colleague who is from South Africa. When Simon was going on his annual kayak trip “boys weekend” in March last year 2013 Fouché suggested to Simon that he take some rusks along for his journey. They went to a South African store and bought some “Ouma” Rusks. They were amazingly delicious, and I thought I can make them!


I googled some recipes. I’ve made quite a lot of different recipes over the  last 10 months, and I’ve found a favourite (which will be further down).

After each batch of rusks I have cooked I send some in to work with Simon to get Fouché  to sample them, and he was proud of my efforts and he enjoyed them.  As he’s more an expert on rusks than I am, I was pleased to hear he liked them. He made a batch as well and he sent a sample back to me and his were amazing.

Rusks are full of healthy ingredients, low GI, and fun to make, a unique biscuit as its double baked, amazing dunked in a cup of tea well you can’t really eat them without dunking them or you’ll break your teeth, they are meant to be hard. Each recipe also makes a lot of rusks.  The recipe I made on the weekend made 84 rusks. Shame the recipe wasn’t that great. I now am going to end my search for recipes and use my favourite one as any other recipe has never been as good and when it makes 50+ biscuits it takes some time to go through them before I can make my preferred recipe again.

The kids won’t touch them, but I hope that as they grow older they will develop a taste for them, and maybe they will have fond memories of me baking rusks, every month or two, and the house smelling wonderful and maybe when they grow up and move out they will ask me for the recipe.  They do enjoy my baking, when I make chocolate cake, jam roll and that type of thing, but of course as soon as its something healthy that I want them to eat they refuse it! That reminds me I’m going to make chocolate zucchini cake this weekend, see if I can trick them.. its a low calorie recipe from my skinny dessert cookbook! Back to rusks….

Rusks or as they are called in Afrikaans: beskuit,  are a traditional Afrikaner breakfast meal or snack. They have been dried in South Africa since the late 1690s as way of preserving bread, especially when travelling long distances without refrigeration. Their use continued through the Great Trek and the Boer Wars[1] through to the modern day. Rusks are typically dunked in coffee or tea before being eaten.

(Thank you Wikepedia)

Here is my favourite recipe:-

1 Cup Buttermilk (I make my own as buttermilk as it is such a rip off to buy) to make it its just 1 TBS of lemon juice in a measuring jug, add skim milk to the 1 Cup level and leave it for 30 mins. This makes butter milk!

6 Cups Wholemeal Plain Flour (I’ve used SR and PL or white flour at times and it always turns out fine)

1 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Cups of cereal (Muesli, bran flakes, just right, crushed weetbix) whatever you prefer or have in the pantry

1 Cup Bran

1 C Oats

1/2 Cup coconut (shredded or desiccated) or omit if you don’t want to add it.

2 tsp bicarb soda

1 tsp salt

1 TBS cinnamon

1/2 C sultanas (or other dried fruit of choice) I’ve tried chopped dried apple / peaches/ dates anything tastes good.

1/2 C mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower) is what I generally use but you could use others as well like sesame, linseed, chia etc..

250 grams butter melted

3 Eggs

You will need a huge huge huge mixing bowl, several greased paper lined baking tins, and some greased paper lined trays.

Melt the butter – when cool add 3 eggs then the buttermilk and whisk together.

In a huge mixing bowl add all the dry ingredients.

Add the egg/butter/milk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well, you will probably have to get your hands in there to do this bit as its impossible to mix it with a spoon.

Once its all combined, press into greased lined baking tins, or roll into little balls and place touching in the baking tins.

Bake 180 C for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven, cool for a while then if you pressed it flat into baking tins cut it into small squares (the size you want to eat) – if you rolled it into balls break the balls apart. Then place these pieces slightly apart on lined baking trays.

Reduce oven to 100 C

Bake for a further 4 hours, rotate the trays in the oven every now and again over the 4 hours.

This will make a heap of rusks! Once they are cool, keep in air tight containers.

Then enjoy them with a cup of tea or coffee.

They are crumbly, they are hard, they are delicious! Here is a few pictures of my rusk making some with my special helper Bria who loves getting in and using her hands.

rusk1 rusk2 rusk3


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