Buttermilk rusks with all bran flakes, oats, sunflower seeds, sesame, pecan nuts and linseeds.

I grew up in a household where we always ate fabulous homemade rusks. My mom was THAT “tannie” who could bake the best  “mosbolletjies” and buttermilk rusks in the whole town. She made the traditional white ones, but also the whole wheat ones with nuts, muesli, raisins and all other goodies. My friends from university still swear that they became fat during those years because of my mother’s legendary rusks! (she regularly sent me huge plastic containers full of the good stuff).

Being so spoilt with regular free access to great rusks, I never really thought of baking my own. But then my parents moved to Plett a few years ago, and the rusk waves became fewer and farther between.  So it hit me that it was time to become the “tannie”.

I didn’t phone my mom for her recipe, but rather turned to my arsenal of local baking books, and came across a great looking buttermilk rusk recipe in “Huisgenoot Top 500 Wenresepte”. To me, there are a few uncompromisable things that I need from a great rusk:

1) It has to contain enough fibre and good stuff for me to forget about the fact that I’m jamming a whole block of butter into it.

2) You have to be able to see and taste what is in it (not just a fine brown haze of crumbs)

3) It has to be a great size and shape – grippable and dippable into any standard coffee mug

4) It needs to be easy to prepare: preferably just mixing everything together and chucking it into an oven.

So that is what I found in the recipe for “Neutbeskuit”. I changed a few of the ingredients (like swopping the muesli and apple for linseeds and oats), changed the bread pans to flat baking tins, and came up with a DELICIOUS rusk which is now my household brand, and something that my kids hopefully will be proud of one day! To me, it is the new generation of the “best rusk in town”, and I would be proud if anyone wants to call me “THAT tannie”.

Tannie Ilse’s DELUXE RUSKS:

1kg self-raising flour

2 t salt

2 t baking powder

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup linseeds

100g roughly chopped pecan nuts (I sometimes substitute this for 1/2 cup sesame seeds)

1 cup oats

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

2 cups all bran flakes

2 eggs (I use jumbo size)

500g butter, melted

2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 180  degrees Celsius. Mix all the dry ingredients together with a wooden spoon. Whisk eggs and buttermilk together lightly, and add with melted margarine to dry ingredients. Mix well with wooden spoon. Distribute with greased spatula into 2 x greased flat standard baking tins (like the ones you use to bake cookies). Bake for 45 minutes, one pan above the other, swopping the 2 pans around half-time so that both can get the same heat from above and from below. Turn out onto wire racks to cool slightly. Turn heat down to 90 degrees Celsius. Cut rusks into “fingers”, arrange on oven racks, and return to oven to dry out for 3 hours. Turn the oven off and open the door to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

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  1. Sounds great … but are they??? I am a rusk-fundi. I can tell you what to buy if you don’t have access to decent home-baked fare. Once I put my stamp of approval on a rusk, it is revered everywhere!

    So … if you provide me with a batch I will assess it … completely free of charge … and maybe … just maybe you attain that holy grail of rusks … MY approval … 🙂

    BTW – I need about 3kg for a decent evaluation …

    1. Gustav, you sound like a rusk pro indeed. 3kg seems like just the right amount to get you hooked for life. 🙂
      Maybe you can be my rusk pimp?

  2. oh … a 5th requirement I would add to your 4 very good ones, is that it has to be of just the right consistency. Porous enough to absorb coffee readily, but still structurally sound after absorbing the coffee. I hate rusks that are rock-hard and do not absorb easily and also those that fall apart when they come near the coffee!

    1. Yes, totally agree with you on that! And my rusks are exactly that!

      1. I am trying to find a rusk recipe that is on harder side. My son’s South African mother-in-law (now passed) made incredible Rusks that had to be soaked for a minute before you could ene bite into them. They had the look of yeast bread. I have tried three recipes now–have to be buttermilk with no additional seeds and stuff–and all turned out like Biscotti–delicious but you could bite them without dunking–any ideas?

        1. Hi Cindy, sounds like you are looking for a really old-school rusk – those hard ones that are also great for babies to suck on, because they don’t break easily at all! I’ve never baked those, but I’ll scan through my more traditional SA cookbooks and email jou a recipe or 2 that might resemble what you are looking for. It also sounds like the texture of the rusk that you mentioned might use a little less baking powder, resulting in a more dense rusk. That would mean that it would suck up less moisture than the others. Anyway, look out for an email a bit later in the day! And thanks for checking out my blog. 🙂

  3. I feel nostalgic about those “mosbolletjies”…
    but I’m willing to try the new generation rusk.

    1. Naomi! Nothing will ever replace the traditional mosbolletjies! I’m not even going to try!

  4. Hi guys, I just realised that I left out a KEY INGREDIENT: 2 cups brown sugar!! I thought it would never happen to me, but it did. My sincere apologies to anyone who baked these rusks without the sugar!

    I just updated the recipe. Happy baking!

  5. This is exactly the recipe that I’ve been looking for! I’ve printed it and will be baking it as soon as I’ve bought the buttermilk. Yummy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. You won’t be sorry – these are really delicious! X

  6. These are the best rusks EVER!

    1. Thanks so much Sarah-Marie! We eat them every single day for breakfast – really delicious. 🙂

  7. Just come across your blog while looking for rusk recipes, can’t wait to try this one out 😀 It looks so yummy.

    1. Thanks Melek! We eat them for breakfast every single day, they’re still such a favourite of mine!

  8. The Baking Historian

    I made these today and they are wonderfully divine! I live in Holland and the buttermilk here has the consistency of milk so I decided to give vanilla yoghurt a try instead and the scent emanating from the oven was heavenly. I really enjoy the texture of these rusks as well 🙂 Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipe!

    1. Big pleasure, thanks for your comment. x

    2. Good Morning. Well I tried these rusks and I love them!!!! Problem is now I have been told I should cut down on all dairy products… so question is if I put in Soya yoghurt and almond/soya butter or margarine in instead, would the recipe still work??? It’s just the ingredients are too expensive to just “try it out” anyone have any experience with dairy free?? THANKS>

      1. Hi Corinne, thanks for your lovely feedback! I’ve since substituted the margarine with canola oil (a cheap option) or extra virgin olive oil (more expensive, but the flavour is lovely). You can use any good quality vegetable oil that you love. For the buttermilk, I haven’t tried any substitutions, but it seems that 1 cup soy milk mixed with 15 ml vinegar or lemon juice does the trick. Mix the soy milk and vinegar with a spoon and let it sit to curdle for about 10 minutes before using. If you’re making the full recipe, obviously use the same amount (2 cups of this mixture instead of 2 cups buttermilk). Let me know if it tastes the same! xx

  9. Hi I am just wondering how many kg of rusks does this make . My family goes through quite a bit in the holidays. Thanks V

    1. Hi Veronica, I’ve never weighed it, but I usually fill a 5-6 liter container with one batch of rusks. Hope that helps!

  10. Ek het die program gisteraand met Carmen Niehaus so geniet – en sou vir jou 5 sterre gegee het!!! Wens so ek kan die resep kry?

    1. Hallo Christa, dankie vir die mooi boodskap! Ek sal dit gou vir jou stuur. xx

  11. Hello Christi from Australia.
    Your rusks are delicious. I make them regularly.
    Please tell me the size of the 2 greased flat standard baking tins that you refer to.
    I have one tin that I use but what like to do what you say.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Marilyn, my tins are 39 x 26 cm. So happy to hear that you love this recipe! I also make this very regularly, it’s my go-to midweek breakfast. 🙂

  12. […] published the recipe for these winning rusks twice before – one of my first posts ever on this blog in 2011 and again on Die Kos Vos last year. These buttermilk rusks are exceptionally […]

  13. I can’t tell you how much I love these rusks! They are perfect. I replaced the all bran flakes with weetbix (as that’s what I had) and they still taste amazing. Thank you!

    1. Ah, thanks so much Kate! I’ve also replaced the bran flakes with weetbix, haha! It works very well. I’ve recently replaced the pecans with almonds, and it’s not as good. Sticking with pecans in future! x

  14. I’ve never heard of rusk before but it sounds delicious! Perfect for an afternoon snack!

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