Introduction: Bruin Beskuit (Multigrain Rusks)
This recipe is for Multigrain Rusks, or as the Afrikaans (South African) people call it: Bruin Beskuit.
A rusk (in South African terms) is a biscuit that has been dried overnight and can be stored for extended periods of time in a dry, cool place. It was made and consumed by the Voortrekkers and recipes have been handed down from generation to generation over the years since the early ages of the Settlers (sic). This delicacy can be enjoyed any time of the day or night with either a cup of coffee, tea or even dry! (Every person has their own taste…)
Before I begin, I have to admit that I got this recipe from a friend, tweaked it a wee bit, and with her permission I am sharing it with the world - it is a fail safe recipe and you will enjoy the end result as much as we did. Thanks Lynette, you are the Bomb! :-)
Please take note: Insert your own disclaimer here. You ARE going to work with kitchen utensils. You ARE going to work with the oven for extended periods of time. Things WILL get hot. Be Carefull!
There are two categories of ingredients in this recipe. Basic and Optional.
First, set the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
Second, grab a huge mixing bowl to combine all the ingredients. You will also require a smaller bowl and a handmixer to beat the eggs into submission, a couple of measuring implements, and a scale (for exact science :-) ).
Third, you will need two huge (as in, it has to fit into the oven huge, not industrial size) baking sheets (preferably with an edge) in which you are going to press the rusk dough. Line these sheets with baking paper as you want to turn the rusks out easily!
Let's get started!
Step 1: Basic and Optional Ingredients
☐ 1kg / 2.2lb Self Raising Flour
☐ 2 teaspoons Baking Powder*
☐ 2 teaspoons Salt
☐ 5 cups Bran
☐ 1 ½ cups Sugar
☐ 500g / 1.1lb Butter (soft) - you can use the plastic stuff called margarine, but really?
☐ ½ cup Canola Oil, or vegetable oil. (Not Olive Oil)
☐ 2 Eggs, beaten
☐ 2 cups Buttermilk
1 Cup of any or all of the following, dependent on what you like in your rusk:
☐ Coconut (the dry type, desicated, shredded, flaked, etc.)
☐ Sunflower Seed (kernels)
☐ Papitas (pumpkin seed)
☐ Sesame Seed
☐ Sultanas (the dried type - gives it a nice dried fruit kick)
☐ All Bran Flakes
☐ Orange and Lemon Peel
*if you have noticed the asterisk (*) in the basic ingredients, you will know that this is where it gets explained:
For every cup of optional item that you add to the mix, you have to add 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder extra. So if you decide to go balistic and add everything in the optional list, you have to add 2 + 8 teaspoons of Baking Powder. Sounds CRAZY, I Know, but trust me on this. The mix gets denser with each item you add, so you have to compensate with baking powder to get the dough to rise in the oven. Don't fret, you don't taste the baking powder afterwards, it works too hard to lift the dough, so it is all worked out in the end. :-)
Step 2: Mixing the Goodies
Mixing that Dough!
Mix all the dry ingredients, both the Basic and the Optional you have decided on. This is where that huge mixing bowl comes in handy as it gives you a lot of space to work with - no mess, no fuss! (I went to the $5 shop and bought myself the large dumpling steamer pot, the steamer shelves are removeable and this creates a lovely huge pot for mixing).
In the smaller, seperate bowl, beat the eggs, butter and buttermilk until smooth.
Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and start kneading like there is no tomorrow - get everything incorporated nicely. (Yep, you have to use your hands and elbows, wait, forget your elbows!)
The mixture, henceforth known as dough, should not be a slimy, runny mess, but rather a beautiful cookie type dough that is pliable with your fingers. If required, add a bit of Self Raising Flour, but I highly doubt that it will be necessary.
(I only used food-grade latex gloves as these work lovely with the cookie-dough, they don't stick, and afterwards your hands are easily rinsed off!)
Step 3: Baking That Stuff!
Now we get to bake the Rusks, almost there!
Divide the dough in half and press each half into the baking sheets, pressing it down and making it level with your hands.
Next, cut the rusks into fingers, how-ever wide you want them - it should not be wider than your coffee cup or mouth can handle! (This step alleviates the need of having to cut through the already baked rusks, which can be challenging and crumbly at best, it helps you break the fingers apart at the end of the baking process).
Bake the rusks (in the oven, duh!) for about 45 minutes at the pre-set 160 degrees Celsius (or for our Imperial Friends - 320 degrees Fahrenheit).
When the rusks are nice and golden, remove them from the oven and ensure the first cut is still there by sliding a knife through the bake. (Switch off the oven!)
Gently pull them apart, without burning yourself!, and then arrange it on the oven's grids. I usually place a baking sheet with grids on the lowest setting (see photo) to catch all the crumbs. Space them nice and evenly apart to allow the hot air through each of them.
Set the oven to between 80 and 90 degrees Celsius (185-ish degrees Fahrenheit).
Now close the oven door, and keep it open with a knife inserted between the door and the oven jamb. (Again, see photo). This allows the moisture to escape the oven cavity (which you want as you are now drying the rusks).
Leave the rusks in there for about 8 hours, which will dry them out to perfection! (I usually bake in the early evening, and let it dry out overnight - snooze while you sleep and have a great batch of rusks for breakfast!)
Step 4: "Feed Me, Seymour!"©™® and What Have You!
Eating them lovely rusks!
When the rusks are all dried out, you can store it in a plastic/metal/ceramic/whatever you fancy container. It will keep for a long time (well, for as long as the nuts are not icky).
The true traditional South African method of consuming these rusks are by taking one in your fingers, dunk a bite-sized portion of it into a cup of hot whatever you like (Coffee, Tea, Etc… NOT Cider!) after which you bite that dunked portion and experience a mindwarp of ecstacy…wait, maybe it's not that good - but that is going to be your own opinion to make. Just know this, you have to dunk it to get the fusion of biscuit and coffee and to soften that rusk. Trust me on this…
There is a brand of rusks in South Africa, and if you have been to South Africa you will know exactly which brand I am talking about. This recipe is true to our mothers, grandmothers and their mothers. A true heritage of the South African Boer. (Not meant in a bad way, guys!)
Go ahead, you know you want to! Dip a Ouma!
Disclaimer: If there are any spelling mistakes, my apologies, I tried my best. If you enjoy this too much and go over your ideal weight, sorry, nê… (Common sense prevails…)