These Maltabella rusks are a twist on my mother’s famous buttermilk rusks – perfect with a cup of tea!
Question: if winter arrives and you haven’t baked a batch of buttermilk rusks, is it really winter at all? I don’t think I can ever remember a winter that didn’t start with my mother making buttermilk rusks. It happened like clockwork and it was (and still is) the only time I ever eat rusks. There’s nothing like a steaming cup of sweet rooibos tea with a buttermilk rusk.
My childhood also featured steaming bowls of maltabella porridge during winter with dollops of butter and a sprinkling of sugar. So when I combined both winter morning favourites, I got… Maltabella rusks!
In case you’re not sure what maltabella is, it’s a porridge made from malted sorghum flour. It’s creamy, toasty and comforting like a warm hug. It’s really quite odd that we don’t eat more sorghum in South Africa. It has been cultivated and eaten in Africa for far longer than maize has – Sorghum is our very own South African superfood. It’s a pity it doesn’t get as good of a PR job as quinoa or freekeh because nutrient-wise, it’s loaded with good stuff and is high in protein. It’s also gluten-free, a lot cheaper than any of the other ‘fancy’ Instagram-famous grains, and it hasn’t travelled halfway around the world (sustainable too – tick!). So why is it so hard to find sorghum grain on supermarket shelves? You can’t. You can only find Maltabella porridge. So. Friggin. Weird.
Something else that’s really weird is the fact that amasi or maas is often a lot cheaper than buttermilk. Did you know that it amasi is exactly the same as buttermilk? It’s simply labelled/branded differently. As far as using it in recipes goes, the two are completely interchangeable. Odd, right? What’s not odd though, is the maltabella in these rusks. It makes them super crunchy, gives the rusks a slightly malty flavour and bumps up the nutritional value quite a lot. They are my new favourite breakfast – dunked in cup after cup of milky, sweet rooibos tea!
Do you enjoy Maltabella as much as I do?
- 240g soft brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 500ml amasi or buttermilk
- 500g self-raising flour
- 500g maltabella (I used the quick-cook version)
- 250g salted butter or margarine, softened
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius (160 if you’re using a fan-forced oven). Grease 2 x standard loaf tins.
- Whisk the sugar and eggs until light and creamy. Add the amasi or buttermilk. Sift the flour and Maltabella into a large separate bowl and rub in the butter or margarine.
- Add the buttermilk mixture and mix to form a sticky dough. Pinch off golf-ball-sized pieces of dough, roll them neatly and pack them tightly together in a single layer in a greased baking tray or bread loaf tin. Bake for 50 minutes - 1 hour or until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.
- Break the cooked dough into pieces along the lines of the original balls, lay out flat on baking sheets and leave in an oven heated to 100ºC overnight or until completely dry, at least 8 hours. Store the rusks in an airtight container.
LOVE THE TWIST ON A SOUTH AFRICAN FAVOURITE? HERE ARE SOME MORE!
Turmeric Milk Tart
Caramel Peppermint Crisp Mousse Cake
Milk Tart Custard Slices
I used to love maltabella as a child! I’ll definitely be trying this out for Father’s Day – my dad loves his coffee and rusks! And I had no idea that amasi and buttermilk were the same thing. I know for future 🙂
PS. You mention salt and vanilla in the instructions but they’re not in the ingredients. How much should I add?
Ah I am so glad you’re inspired to make these! They really are so yum! The salt and vanilla mentioned in the method is an error – there is enough salt in the butter and I ended up removing the vanilla as I think it overpowers the flavour of the maltabella 🙂 Will update the recipe now – thanks for spotting that!
In your instructions you don’t mention the maltabella being added… Do you cook it beforehand or do you add it with flour? Looking forward to trying this recipe xxx 🙂
Hi Linda – it goes in with the flour! So no need to keep it beforehand 🙂 Happy baking!
🙂 Thank you so much!! I’m trying new recipes and love your little twist on family favourites… The Turmeric Milktart is next on my list!!
Hi Kate, I am Kate, and I love rusks more than stokies and boerewors. My friends know me as the one who bakes rusks for everyone else, and I have “my” recipe that I have tweaked over time. THIS Maltabella recipe has stopped me in my tracks, however, and I am making them TONIGHT.
I’m leaving work early.
Ah Kate you made my day with this message! Haha, please don’t get fired, but if you do, I promise these rusks will be worth it 😉
I have rediscovered Maltabella this winter and am super keen to make these rusks. Is the soft brown sugar standard golden brown sugar or the darker treacle-type sugar?
Hi Kate! I’ve actually just launched the range of Natura Sugars on my online shop and sell the soft brown sugar – it is absolutely glorious and has so much more flavour than regular brown sugar! But you can also use standard brown sugar – the recipe will still work 🙂 Happy baking! x
Such a wonderful recipe, especially for someone who eats rusks every day, thank you! Just made a batch for tomorrow morning 😀
Added a twist by including a big pinch of elachi and ground, dried naartjie peel, works well with the maltiness!
Hi there, if I have sorgum flour , can I use that, instead of maltabella, which I dont have!
Yes, you can definitely use sorghum flour. x