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!