All Bran Rusks

all bran rusksWhat is a rusk? It is kind of like a biscotti but it’s a less sweet, more crunchy, less refined version of the biscotti. It’s a crunchy baked biscuit that can be enjoyed as a breakfast or a snack, dunked in coffee or tea (rooibos tea being the favorite) to soften slightly before taking a bite. A South African household is simply not complete without them! In French, where the word originates from, it means “twice cooked” and it is essentially a hard, dry biscuit, or a twice-baked bread. By removing all the moisture from a bread, it keeps for ages longer than it would under normal circumstances and when sailors took to the sea many moons ago, their bread became just that, hard crunchy and almost inedible unless dunked in coffee, tea or whatever drink was at hand. This old sailor’s trick was adapted for land living by the Dutch from the Dutch East Indian Company who landed in the Cape of Good Hope in 1652. The Dutch Settlers perfected the rusk when they eventually took to the hinterland and dried their bread to preserve it on the long marches behind their ox wagons north in search of land. Today the rusk come in many varieties like buttermilk, wholewheat, anise, muesli and my personal favorite, All Bran Rusks. It’s essentially a twice-baked quick bread and is quite fast to whip up. The drying time is what takes the most patience but it’s so worth it and such a handy breakfast or snack on board a boat!


  • 500g butter
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • 2 cups (500 ml) buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 kg self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) salt
  • 6 cups (240g) All-Bran wheat flakes
  • 1 ¼ cup (100g) uncooked oats
  • ½ cup (100 gram) chopped pecan nuts or chopped almonds
  • Optional: Reduce All Bran to 4 cups and add 2 cups of muesli
  • Optional: Add 1/2 cup raisins


  • Melt the butter and let it cool down.
  • Beat eggs, sugar and buttermilk into the melted butter.
  • Sift the self-raising flour, baking powder and salt together.
  • Add All-Bran, uncooked oats and pecan nuts.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.
  • Ladle in a large oven pan (330 x 280 mm), lined with foil or baking paper.
  • Bake for 25 minutes in an oven of 200°C. Reduce the heat to 180°C for another 25 minutes or more, until golden brown.
  • Cool slightly before turning the tin out and let it cool down.
  • Slice into slices and then cut into fingers. Place on a drying rack and dry in oven at 80°C until the rusks are dry, crunchy and brittle.
  • After they cooled down, place in an air tight container.

Dunk the rusks in a hot drink and eat.


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