In South Africa rusks are generally made from specially prepared dough which may be slightly sweetened and flavored by adding spices.
This differs from many other countries where rusks are generally slices or oblongs of normal bread which is then dried out in the oven. This is sometimes referred to as twice baked bread
This recipe for Buttermilk Rusks (Karringmelkbeskuit) produces an absolutely delicious rusk which highlights the difference referred to above.
400g (14oz) wholewheat flour
600g (1lb 5oz) self-raising flour
10ml (2tsp) baking powder
5ml (1tsp) salt
200g (7oz) sugar
2 large eggs
500ml (2cups) buttermilk
125ml (½cup) sunflower oil
To make the Buttermilk Rusks (Karringmelkbeskuit)
Preheat oven to 190C (380F)
Mix the Whole wheat flour, self raising flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Soften the butter and rub into the dry ingredients.
Beat the eggs and combine with the buttermilk and sunflower oil. Stir the liquid into the flour mixture and knead lightly to achieve a soft consistency which will retain its shape when rolled into a ball, add more flour if too soft.
Grease 2 loaf tins.
Shape the dough into balls and place in the loaf tins, the balls should reach about 2/3 of the way up the side of the pan and should be placed next to each other so that the balls will rise in an upwards direction while baking.
Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Remove and turn out onto a cooling rack.
When cool break into individual rusks along the joins formed by the dough balls.
Do not use a knife to cut the rusks!
Reduce the oven temperature to 100C (210F) and leave for 4-6 hours, turning occasionally, until the rusks are totally dry
They should be a light yellow... Do not allow the buttermilk rusks to become too dark as this will spoil the flavor.
Makes +/-50 Buttermilk Rusks depending on how big you made the balls of dough.
In South Africa rusks are generally eaten by dunking them in the morning coffee, although they can be enjoyed at anytime during the day generally with a hot drink to dunk the rusk into as this softens the hard "beskuit"
These Buttermilk Rusks will keep for 2 or 3 months in an airtight container, however, once you try them I would be surprised if your Karringmelkbeskuit last anywhere near that long.