Slam dunk: How to make homemade rusks, regular or gluten-free

Chilly mornings need something warm to lure one out of bed. And there’s nothing nicer than a cup of coffee and a homemade rusk or two, or even three

23 May 2021 - 00:01 By Jenny Kay and Hilary Biller
Homemade rusks are a real treat.
Homemade rusks are a real treat.
Image: Brent Ninaber/Unsplash


Makes: 40-50 rusks


1kg self-raising flour

5ml (1 tsp) salt

15ml (1 tbsp) baking powder

125g digestive bran (found on supermarket shelves alongside the flour)

200g bran cereal

250ml (1 cup) light brown sugar

100g pecan nuts, chopped

125ml (½ cup) desiccated coconut or coconut flakes, optional

125ml (½ cup) mixed seeds, optional

125ml (½ cup) raisins or dried cranberries, optional

500g butter

2 extra-large eggs

500ml (2 cups) buttermilk


  1. Place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
  2. Melt the butter and combine with the eggs and buttermilk.
  3. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix to form a stiff dough.
  4. Press the dough into a 40x30x5cm deep oven pan sprayed with cooking spray and bake in a preheated oven of 160°C for 1 hour.
  5. Remove and cool.
  6. Cut into pieces, place on a baking sheet and return to the oven at 70°C to dry out for a couple of hours. 


This recipe comes from 'The South African Gluten-Free Cookbook' by Jenny Kay.

Makes: 50-60 rusks


1kg (4 cups) gluten-free flour mix - use readymade gluten-free flour or see recipe below to make your own

250g butter, cubed

375ml (1½ cups) brown sugar

250ml (1 cup) desiccated coconut

100g ground almonds

100g sesame seeds

60ml (4 tbsp) psyllium husks

20ml (4 tsp) baking powder

5ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate of soda

5ml (1 tsp) salt

500ml (2 cups) full-cream yoghurt

4 large eggs


  1. Place the gluten-free flour into a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the sugar, coconut, ground almonds, sesame seeds, psyllium husks, baking powder, bicarb and salt. Mix well.
  3. Combine the yoghurt and eggs in a separate bowl and mix well.
  4. Add to the dry ingredients and mix to form a stiff batter.
  5. Spoon the batter into a greased 30x40cm baking traying tray. Use wet hands to smooth the top.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  7. Leave to cool in the tray, then turn out and cut into fingers.
  8. Place the rusks on a clean baking tray. Dry the rusks in a 50°C oven for 6-8 hours.



500g white rice flour

350g brown rice flour

200g potato starch

50ml (30g) fat-free milk powder

10ml (2 tsp) xanthan gum


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and use a wire whisk to blend well.
  2. Store in an airtight container and use as necessary.