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.

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