Egg-free buttermilk rusks (eierlose karringmelk beskuit)

South Africans love buttermilk rusks (karringmelk beskuit), and for good reason too: the buttermilk gives it a lovely flavour, and because you use self-raising flour, they are easy to make at home. You can even make your own buttermilk by adding lemon juice to normal milk.

There is only one downside to eating buttermilk rusks: you need to time your dunk perfectly, if you don’t want the bottom half of your rusk to break off and sink to the bottom of your cup. These egg-free buttermilk rusks​ are denser, and therefore less likely to come apart and splash into your coffee. (Jaco can vouch for this, he’s got a whole container of egg-free rusks at work.)​

Makes 36 rusks.


  • 200 gram butter
  • 1 cup (200 gram) sugar
  • 280 ml (1 cup and 1 tablespoon) full cream milk, plus 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice or vinegar
    300 ml (1 cup and 2 tablespoons) buttermilk
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) cream of tartar
  • 750 gram (6 cups) self-raising flour
  • Optional: 1 to 2 teaspoons (15 to 30 ml) anise seeds


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Place butter in a bowl and add the sugar. Microwave until the butter has melted.
  3. Add buttermilk – or, if you’re using normal milk, add the milk and lemon juice, and let it stand for 10 minutes until the milk curdles.  
  4. Add cream of tartar and salt, and stir well to dissolve.
  5. Add the self-raising flour, stir in, and knead lightly.
  6. Line a baking dish. A pan that measures 20 cm by 20 works well.
  7. Shape dough into 36 balls and pack them tightly into the dish.
  8. Bake for about 50 minutes, until done.
  9. Turn the oven down to 90°C.
  10. Tip the baked rusks onto a wire rack and let it cool down until you can handle it.
  11. Separate the rusks from each other. A fork is really useful for this.
  12. Place rusks on a baking tray. Return to the oven, and dry slowly at 90°C for about 8 hours.


You can double the recipe, but then you will have to bake it for 10 minutes longer.