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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sweet Rusks for Dunking - The Modern Baker

The Modern Bakers are baking our way through Nick Malgieri's The Modern Baker. We started with the quick breads. We have embarked on participatory group blogging. We claimed certain recipes to blog about and then bake/blog about whatever other recipes catch our fancy.

The sweet rusks for dunking appealed to me on several levels. Sweet rusks are a quick bread that have been baked so long that it becomes impossible to eat them without dunking them in tea or coffee. Nick says that sweet rusks are common in South Africa and the Netherlands. I work with a woman who is from the Netherlands; I am interested in her critique of the recipe.

I live in a house of backpackers. They have taken pilot biscuits, or hardtack, on some of their trips. I'm not sure that they enjoyed pilot biscuits but I hoped that the sweet rusks would be a delightful backpacking snack.

I assembled the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, egg and buttermilk.

The flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt were combined in a food processor.

The butter was pulsed into the flour mixture. The egg was whisked into the buttermilk, then added to the processor. The mixture was dumped onto a floured surface divided into thirds.

Each third was rolled out and then each log was divided into 12 pieces.

At this point, I would suggest putting the remaining dough balls in the refrigerator. They quickly got more difficult to work with as they warmed up.

The pieces were supposed to be put in a 9 x 13 pan that had been coated with buttered foil. I missed that part. It is up by the ingredients in the top right. Any way, I sprayed my 9x13 pan with cooking spray and didn't have any problems. Nick wants you to put them 9 x 4 in the pan. I couldn't quite fit the 9 so ended up 7 x 5.

The rusks were baked until they were golden, in a 350 oven for 40 mins.

Then they were cooled, broken apart and then arranged on their sides onto cookie sheets.

At this point, some children came down the stairs and ate the not yet dried out biscuits and enjoyed them.

I think that if I had used a knife to separate the pieces, they would have been more prone to staying on their sides for the final drying period. They were returned to the 250 oven for 1.5 hours.

After you have dried out the biscuits, you are left with a pretty tasty little morsel. Hard as can be, maybe even dangerous to the teeth if you don't dunk them in coffee, but tasty, in a subtle fashion.

I brought some in to work and had my Dutch friend, Anneke, try them. She was impressed by how dried out they were. They are not something that she is familiar with, they were not part of her childhood.


  1. I had no idea what rusks were and was afraid to even try this recipe. Thanks for giving me confidence. On the other hand, I have to make this gluten free and I don't know what to sub for the oatmeal. Will ask some other gluten free bakers.

    Thanks for making a rusk a reality.

    I have two recipes to blog and I hope to get to them, this week. It is time to bake another and I am enjoying doing this.

  2. I was just reading this recipe today and thinking "hmmmm...." as I wasn't really sure what they were, what they would look like, and if we were going to eat them. After seeing your process photos and the photos of the little ones lined up, I think I'm in when I get there...but definitely only making a half batch as am afraid that the guys are going to not eat their share (which would be all but one). Yours look fun and good.

  3. I won't be rushing to make these again. But it is always fun to try new recipes.

  4. I, too, was nervous about making these, since I had no idea what to expect . . . thanks for such a detailed post. They definitely sound like they're worth trying!

  5. Yay, someone finally did the rusks! They look at lot more delectable than I imagined them to be. Unfortunately, I'm not a coffee drinker so I haven't seen a point to make these, but maybe if I bake them and plan to eat them before they dry out, it would work. Good job!