My friend, Eats-like-a-bird, is a darling heart. No favour is too big for her, no effort too great. She’s pretty much a 10 too, so I think it says a lot about me that I am willing to be seen in public with her. I find solace in the fact that she’s not a terribly keen cook. So when she saw the picture of these rusks, the conversation went (rather predictably I suppose) something like this:
SHE: It’s like a hard bread, hey?
ME: No, it’s ‘like’ rusks.
SHE: Oh, but is it like hard?
ME: No, not yet. It needs to be sliced and dried out in the oven. You knew that, right?
SHE (sounding awkward mixed with some contrite): Erm. Yes?
No need to feel bad if you’re in this camp. But if you’ve never made rusks, you really should give it a whirl because nothing could be easier and it’s way better than those store-bought Ouma rusks. Rusks are my go-to breakfast when I’m on the run. Not as nutritious as a poached egg on wilted spinach and rye to be sure, but terribly handy. So I decided to make them work a bit harder. I used my base buttermilk rusk recipe and threw in a whole load of other things – All Bran, rolled oats, sunflower seeds, cranberries, coconut, sultanas… I call them breakfast rusks, because it sounds fancy. They dry out hard and super crunchy, perfect for repeated dunking into early morning coffee.
All you need is…
8 cups self raising flour
6 cups All Bran
6 cups rolled oats (find it in the health food section of your supermarket)
2 cups brown sugar
2½ tsp salt
1 cup sultanas
1 cup cranberries
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup desiccated coconut
2 large eggs
2 x 500g cartons of buttermilk
360g butter or baking marg like Stork, melted (I show it in grams, it’s easier than forcing it into a cup to measure!)
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the eggs and buttermilk. Stir it into the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter and stir until mixed in. To be honest, I abandon the spoon at this point and use my hands. Divide dough equally between two large bread pans sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 170 degrees Celsius until done. Test it like you would a cake, by inserting a thin knife or kebab stick. If it comes out clean, it’s ready. Allow to cool in the tins and turn out. Slice into thick slices and then into rusks. Place on baking trays and dry out in a warm oven at 80-90 degrees Celsius. This takes quite a few hours. Store in an airtight container.