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Buttermilk Biscotti Rusks

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There is nothing better than Buttermilk Biscotti Rusks to dunk in your coffee at breakfast in the morning.

What is a Rusk?

A rusk is a hard, dry biscuit or a twice-baked bread. It is sometimes used as a teether for babies. In some cultures, rusk is made of cake, rather than bread: this is sometimes referred to as cake rusk. In the UK, the name also refers to a wheat-based food additive.

Definition of a South African Rusk

Rusks is the anglicized term for beskuit and is a traditional Afrikaner breakfast meal or snack. They have been dried in South Africa since the late 1690s as a way of preserving bread, especially when traveling long distances without refrigeration. Their use continued through the Great Trek and the Boer Wars through to the modern day. Rusks are typically dunked in coffee or tea before being eaten.

Buttermilk Biscotti Rusks
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Buttermilk Biscotti Rusks

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  • Author: EsmeSalon
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Drying Time: 5 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours 50 minutes
  • Yield: 2530 depending on size 1x
  • Method: Easy
  • Cuisine: South African


I have been on a baking binge, and just had to make a couple of batches of this classic! It just can’t be beat.


Units Scale
  • 250g butter
  • 200ml sugar (I’m always the first one to decrease the sugar in any recipe, but in this case, I actually use more! I think I went up to about a cup-and-a-half at least)
  • 10ml salt (I omit this as I use salted butter)
  • 500ml buttermilk
  • 1 kg self-rising flour
  • 5 ml baking powder
  • 2 large eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and grease large, flat baking tray/s.
  2. I have used several sizes & shapes of baking tins and trays. Nothing works as well as a very shallow, flat tray.
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Add sugar (and salt, if using) and stir until dissolved. Add buttermilk.
  5. Heat only slightly until warm but not hot.
  6. Sift flour and baking powder together in a large bowl. Add beaten eggs to a lukewarm buttermilk mixture. Pour liquid into flour and mix.
  7. Again, I have tried all sorts of strategies here: stand mixer, hand mixer, and a good old wooden spoon. The only one that works is doing it by hand (with the wooden spoon) and being careful not to overmix. It must be fluffy and light.
  8. Then carefully scoop it into the baking trays.
  9. Spread very lightly to the edges. Do not press the dough – keep it light and just pull it with your fingers to cover the pan.
  10. If you are lucky, you might have the cutter that fits into the pan like I do (thanks to the best gift from my mom!!). If so, oil the cutter well and cut the dough before baking.
  11. Then bake for about 30 mins. Keep an eye on it as it could bake faster since it is thin.
  12. Remove from pans and break or cut apart.
  13. Then place the rusks directly onto the oven racks, turn the oven to exceptionally low heat (I used 175°F), prop the door open with a spoon, and dry for several hours until fully dry throughout.
  14. Nothing like it with a cup of coffee for dipping!!


  • Serving Size: 25-30
  • Calories: 219
  • Sugar: 6.6 g
  • Sodium: 181.9 mg
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 32.1 g
  • Fiber: 0.9 g
  • Protein: 4.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 32.2 mg
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Biscotti Rusks Buttermilk on a white plate with a steaming cup of coffee
Buttermilk Biscotti Rusks

We do have lots of similar recipes for Rusks

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10 thoughts on “Buttermilk Biscotti Rusks”

  1. Esme,
    I halved the recipe (did not add the additional sugar) add added raisins (soaked in rum for 30 min). Followed the directions (used a large wooden spoon to mix) as given. Very easy to make.
    However, I found the biscotti (rusks) were tasteless and the only spark was the raisins. What was missing for me is the buttermilk taste.
    I do not like the idea of more sugar as it is not really good for you.
    I often make buttermilk rusks (Ja, ek is van Wolmaransstad in Suid Afrika) and love the taste of the buttermilk. I will try again, but increase the butter, maybe substitute dark brown sugar and maybe a Tsp of vanilla essence.
    Good luck with your blog

    • Hi Tony. Thank you for your feedback and description of how you adjusted the recipe. I am sorry to hear that it did not do it for you and for the lack of buttermilk. This recipe does have buttermilk, so not such why you did not get that yummy buttermilk taste. I am guessing but did the rum not overshadow the buttermilk taste? Please let me know when you try it again if it worked out better to your liking.

    • Catherine, It’s not complicated at all. We have lots of biscotti recipes on the blog you can try it. It’s a staple in our house and very seldom go without it. In fact, I should bake a fresh batch again. Although we are not vegan, do have vegan family members, we love the Vegan biscotti, and I then bake this one: and if I do not have all the vegan ingredients I substitute with regular, but we love the rest of the ingredients and it does turn out perfect every time.


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