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Buttermilk rusks

Every South African should be able to whip out a batch of these whenever the craving arises. Especially since we have been making buttermilk rusks since the 17th century as a way of preserving bread.

MAKES 16 // COOKING TIME 10 min, plus 4–5 hours

200g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
375g flour
110g sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups buttermilk
2 tbsp vanilla essence
2 eggs, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 180°C and grease two loaf tins with butter.
2. Place the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
3. Cut the butter into cubes. Rub it into the dry ingredients with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
4. Combine the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to the dry ingredients. Mix to form a batter.
5. Pour into the tins and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 120°C and bake for another 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 100°C. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
6. Turn out of the tins and cut into fingers. Place on a baking tray and return to the oven for three to four hours to dry out.

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