Drying rusks

I was looking on the web last night for recipes for rusks. Lots of recipes from South Africa; they’re apparently popular there. One of the pages gave instructions for drying them after they’d been baked, saying to dry them at 170 degrees for several hours.

“Wait,” I thought, “that’s just like my food dehydrator.”

With the food dehydrator I can dry them more effectively since it has lower temperatures than my oven, and its thermostat is better, and it has a fan that gently blows the warmed air over the food ensuring that it dries evenly.

So I made a batch this morning, also incorporating an ingredient that I’d wanted to try, whole grains. I had some spelt berries that I started soaking the day before, so I had a spelt mash. It made 1 1/2 loaves. After it had cooled a bit I sliced the smaller loaf and started it in the dryer. The slices from the bigger loaf are still drying.

A spelt mash might work in a regular loaf of bread but in dried rusks the soaked spelt berries just dried out and became harder than they had been originally. Tooth chipping hard. I kind of would still like to try it with the whole oat groats that I have but I can’t imagine that they’d do any better. Maybe I should try old fashioned rolled oats.

Nevertheless, the food dehydrator works great for drying the rusks.

I also decided to try making a batch with some sorghum flour. I used half whole wheat flour and half sorghum flour. Unfortunately I spaced out and forgot to add the wheat bran so it turned out more like a quick bread. I was puzzled as to why the dough was a batter instead of a dough. Duh. The sorghum flour gives them a different flavor. Not good, not particularly bad, just not worthwhile I guess I’d say. If it was in a sweet bread with cinnamon and spices it might be nice. But in a cracker it doesn’t really work. Plus, even more problematic, it makes the bread crumbly, similar to corn bread. So the sorghum flour is still looking for a home in some baked good I haven’t yet discovered.


One Comment on “Drying rusks”

  1. Gluten is the sticky stuff that glues breads together and prevent crumbling. Maybe if you added some gluten rich flour such as wheat to your Sorghum?

    For reference – in South Africa corn is sometimes substituted for what you call wheat and what you call corn is always called Mealies. Confusing I know….

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