Rum and Raisin Rusks

500ml buttermilk
750ml water, lukewarm
125ml dark rum
100g raisins
200g butter, melted
5ml mixed spice
20g instant yeast
100g brown sugar
5ml salt
5ml bicarbonate of soda
5ml vanilla
1,75kg flour

Spray two large loaf tins (or a baking tray) with cooking spray. Set aside.
Add the buttermilk, water, rum, raisins, melted butter, mixed spice and instant yeast to a large mixing bowl and stir together.
Allow to stand until the yeast starts to dissolve and forms bubbles on the surface.
Add the sugar, salt, bicarb and vanilla and mix together.
Add two-thirds of the flour and stir through until combined.
Add more flour, mix some more, and repeat until the mixture comes together to form a workable dough. Do not add more flour once it looks workable. The dough will and must be sticky!
Lightly grease a large bowl, place the dough in it and cover with a tea towel. Allow to prove for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 180℃.
Shape the dough into even portions, roll into balls and pack them tightly into the prepared loaf tins.
Cover with a tea towel and prove again until doubled in size. About 45 minutes.
Bake the rusks for 40 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool until it is cold enough to handle comfortably.
Gently separate the rusks, cut each in half in its length and place them on a baking sheet.
Turn your oven temperature down to 100℃ and dry out the rusk for 5-6 hours.
Store your rusks in a glass container.

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