A Taste of Africa: Bran Rusks

Tue, Jun 07, 2016 @ 01:52 PM

Getting to know Africa includes experiencing the vastly different - and yummy - expressions of each culture through food.

We grew up eating these bran rusks!

They are delicious no matter what age you are. A lovely crunchy treat to enjoy with a good cup of coffee or tea. We call them our version of biscotti.


Bran_Rusks.jpg Source: Creative Commons, Labeled for Reuse  

Every one of us makes them slightly differently. We have experimented with the dried fruit ingredients. We've tried dried cranberries, blueberries, dried mixed fruit (chopped up), a variety of different types of raisins, dried dates . . . just use your creative culinary imagination! You can omit the dried fruit entirely, but we think they are better with the addition of fruit.

We love sharing our family recipes with you but please remember you can search online and find lots of variations on this dish and other terrific African recipes.  An online recipe site we use over and over again is The Congo CookbookMy East Africa Journal is also a great source for recipes.  

afrolems.com - A food blog for Nigerian, African and Interational recipes is a great source. Visit them - they have a really nice selection of recipes and the instructions are laid out in a really easy to understand manner. 

AllRecipes and Food.com are also good resources.  Just a simple web search will turn up a wide variety of recipes for you to try.

INGREDIENTS

  • 600 grams sugar
  • 3 eggs (we recommend extra large)
  • 1 kg of self-raising flour
  • 500 grams of butter
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1-1/3  cups of milk (we use 2%)
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 200 grams bran flakes
  • Raisins, cranberries, dried blueberries, etc.  Use your judgement. We put in about a half cup.

 

INSTRUCTIONS
  • Set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Grease two loaf tins. We use spray canola oil. There are butter flavour sprays as well if you prefer.
  • Now cream the butter and sugar.
  • Once you've creamed the butter and sugar, you can add the eggs.  Beat this mixture well after adding eggs. We add the eggs one at a time and beat each one into the mixture.
  • Add your dry ingredients but not the bran or the dried fruit yet.
  • Mix your dry and wet ingredients. Then add the bran and then the dried fruit. We add both gradually so they get incorporated evenly into the batter.
  • Divide your batter in half and put each half into a greased loaf tin.
  • Bake the loaves for about 45 to 50  minutes. Make sure to test them in the centre to make sure they are completely "baked through". Ours are usually done at just over 45 minutes.
  • It is really important to let the loaves cool completely before sliding into rusks.
  • Once completely cool, cut the loaves into about 1/2 inch slices.
  • Set your oven to 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Place the slices on parchment paper on a baking tray
  • Dry the rusks in the oven.  We find it takes about 2.5 to 3 hours. Check frequently as you don't want them to burn up.  You just want to dry them out.

In the end, you will end up with a tasty, crispy treat. They keep well in a biscuit tin and we even layer them into a plastic container (with a good seal), between parchment paper and freeze some "for a rainy day".  They aren't quite as good once frozen but as long as you allow them to naturally come to room temperature, they are still pretty good. A trick we use is to put a piece of paper towel at the bottom (under a layer of parchment paper, and another piece at the top, over a piece of parchment paper. This helps to "wick" any moisture away from the rusks.

We've related how we make our rusks but we'll also share a terrific recipe we came across for a similar rusk.  This recipe is "truly terrific" and we highly recommend it.  They are called Ma's Buttermilk Rusks.

This is a recipe you'll want to make over and over. Ours are always a little different each time we make them, which we think adds to the delight!


Enjoy your Bran Rusks with an authentic, single origin coffee! Our Taste of Africa coffees are simply superb. Enjoy our Black Rhino Ethiopian Tikikili - a crisp and sweet specialty coffee or Ethiopian Wolf Yirgacheffe - a sweet and juicy handcrafted and naturally sun-dried coffee.

A Taste of Africa Coffee - Single origin, micro-lot coffees. Fresh roasted in frequent small batches. Simply delicious!

 

Black Rhino - Ethiopian Tikikili

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Our coffees are named after endangered or vulnerable animals in keeping with our support of charities benefiting species at risk worldwide.

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Enjoy!  And please let us know how you enjoy this recipe and any creative culinary modifications you make. 

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We grew up on these bran rusks! Our entire family made them. They were great for little kids to chew on and make a tasty treat for adults with a nice cup of coffee or tea. They are sort of our version of biscotti.
Mustafa Salemwalla

Written by Mustafa Salemwalla

Mustafa hails from Tanzania and spent 30 years getting to know the magnificent continent of Africa. Hence his passion for African art, sculpture, fashion and empowerment of artisans.

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