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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Rich Man Poor Man Rusks

Rich Man Poor Man Rusks are my favourite rusks and I am thrilled to be sharing this recipe with you. Those of you who are not into baking, can buy the rusks online from or even place an order for a specified date with Buy the rusks here.

Let's start with a list of the ingredients and then I'll walk you through the steps of baking it.
1,5 kg margarine
900 g sugar (4 1/2 cups)
6 eggs
2 litre Amasi ('poor man's food')
3 kg wheat flour (21 cups)
150 ml baking powder
15 ml salt
1 litre All Bran flakes (12 cups)
1 kg Nutty Wheat
400 ml mixed raisins
150 ml pumpkin seeds ('rich man's food')
150 ml cashew nuts ('rich man's food')
150 ml almonds ('rich man's food')
With the ingredients in place, let's pay attention to the method. Start by melting 1,5 kg margarine. I pop it into the microwave to speed things up. Leave the margarine to cool down.

With the margarine cooling down, I find a large bowl to mix the dry ingredients in. The first to go into the bowl is 3 kg of wheat flour.

To this I add 150 ml baking powder.

I then add 15 ml salt

Time to add 4 1/2 cups sugar.

I add 12 cups of All Bran Flakes.

And I add 1 kg Nutty Wheat Flour.

The rest of the dry ingredients get chopped up before I add it to the mix. I start with the 400 ml mixed raisins. It is actually a mix of raisins, sultanas and currents. All of these need to be pitted. Although this is not the norm, I chop these up first before I add them. There is a two-fold reason for this. Some raisins have a tendency to swell up when it comes into contact with moisture. This could result in some over-sized raisins in the rusks, something I strongly dislike, but my mother loves. Go figure! The second reason is that the flavour releases better when the fruit is chopped up, sending that delicious sweetness spreading right through the rusks, rather than keeping it locked up in concentrated spots. Anyway, the industry standard is to leave it whole and you get to decide for yourself whether you want to chop it up or not.

I then chop the 150 ml almonds. Almonds are too big to leave whole and the baked rusks will be very difficult to cut into fingers if the ingredients are too bulky. I took a picture of how finely/roughly I chopped the almonds.

I also add 150 ml chopped cashews. The cashews are also chopped up to make them less bulky. Try replacing the cashews with pecans or even Brazilian nuts. I tend to let price and availability determine which nuts go into my mixes.

The 150 ml pumpkin seeds are also chopped up to make it less bulky in the dough.

Once all the dry ingredients have been added, mix it thoroughly to make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed.

It is now time to start mixing the wet ingredients. Start by beating six eggs in a large bowl.

Add 2 litres Amasi to the eggs and mix well.

Once the melted margarine has cooled down sufficiently, add this to the egg and milk mixture. Mix well. Do not add the margarine before it has cooled down, because it will cook the eggs and then the protein in the eggs are not able to set the dough once it is in the hot oven.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix. This will be very gooey and messy at first, but keep at it.

Your dough is ready once it releases from your hands and the sides of the bowl. You will be able to form it into a neat ball and lift it from the bottom without it sticking to the bottom.

This is just about the right time to set your oven to 180°C. Always preheat the oven before putting the dough in the oven. Spray the baking tins with a non-stick coating.

Fill the tins to approximately 2/3 from the top and stick them in the oven. Do not crowd the tins, but allow enough room in the oven for the air to circulate freely.  Cover the dough that is not going into the oven directly with plastic to prevent it drying out.

The rusks will bake for between an hour and 1 1/2 hours. Once they turn golden brown on top and start to loosen from the sides of the tin, you can stick a skewer in to test if they are done. If the skewer comes out clean, you can remove them from the oven. If the skewer has dough on it, the rusks are not ready and you need to put them back to bake a little longer. Leave the rusks to cool in the baking tins for a while. Once you can touch the tins with your bare hands (they will still be hot, but not scalding), you can turn them over and remove the rusks.

Leave the rusks to cool on a wire rack.

I borrowed these photos from the blog on Amasi rusks since the lens became dirty and the photos were of poor quality. Once the rusks are completely cooled down you can follow the same steps to dry them, as we did with the Amasi rusks. Cut the loaves into thick slices. Cut the slices into thick fingers (approximately 2 cm x 2 cm or thereabouts).

Spread the rusks evenly on the oven racks, leaving space for air to circulate. Place the racks in the oven.

Set the oven to 100 °C and wedge the door slightly open. The rusks will dry for about 8 to 9 hours. When dry, let them cool down and store in cake tins at room temperature. The rusks will remain good for months of kept in dry conditions.

Enjoy with coffee or tea. The traditional way of eating rusks is to dunk it in your coffee or tea and eat it while still dripping wet. Try it. You won't regret it.

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