Buttermilk Ouma Rusks Recipe

Long before you could just go to the shops and buy “Ouma Rusks”, real life grannies would actually make them for their families. It’s true I promise!

In South Africa, the are known as Beskuit (South African rusks) and are brilliant to dunk in your morning tea or coffee and make great snacks for rumbling tummies; morning, noon and night. They are also still used as a traditional way to treat stay-over guests by waking them with a tray of freshly brewed coffee and rusks.

So if you now live somewhere where you can’t just go to the store and buys rusks, or if you just fancy making them for yourself, below is the recipe:


  • 2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat bread flour (coarsely ground if possible)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp pure almond extract
Method: How to make “Ouma Rusks”
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the dry ingredients.
  3. Combine all the wet ingredients, pour them into the dry ingredients, and stir until you have a soft dough, similar to biscuit dough.
  4. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and roll or pat it to about a 1/2 inch thickness.
  5. Cut the dough into rectangles about 2 by 4 inches. Bake the rusks about 2 inches apart on buttered baking sheet for about 25 minutes until the tops are crisping and browning a little.
  6. Loosely pile the rusks on a baking sheet and keep them in a 200 degree oven all day or all night (about 12 hours) to dry. The finished rusks should be very dry and hard. Cool and store in an airtight container. Rusks will keep for weeks.
  7. Alternatives
  8. Oatmeal-Raisin Rusks: Reduce the white flour to 1 1/2 cups and add 2 cups rolled oats and 1/2 cup currants or chopped raisins.
  9. Almond Rusks: Add 1 cup chopped almonds and omit the cinnamon.
  10. Peanut Rusks: Add 1 cup coarsely chopped peanuts.
  11. Anise Rusks: Omit the cinnamon and almond extract and add 2 tsp. pure anise extract

If you plan to keep the rusks for a long time, do not substitute margarine for the butter.

  • Iqbal Ahmad

    Is there any outlet in London where one could buy Ouma Rusks?
    Thanking you.
    Iqbal Ahmad

  • Lesley

    can you pse explain how you bake the rusks on baking sheets? In the picture the tops are brown. I bake my rusks touching each other in a deepish tin. appreciate your help. thanks

  • I normally roll my rusks in balls and pack them touching each other in a deep pan and when baked just cut or break them lose and then dry them.
    If I understand your recipe correctly you cut them individually but your picture doesn’t look like that. Please explain your baking sheet method. Thank you.
    Kind regards