Fennel Seeds Rusk
Rusks are such an all time snack. Have it for breakfast or in the evening dunked in a cuppa of tea or milk....life is so good!
When I was in school, our annual trip to my grandparent's home was incomplete without snacking on rusks. Before we even reached there, my grandfather would place an order for a large sized container full of freshly baked rusks. They used to as big as an adult's hand, sometimes even bigger, with the aroma and taste of fennel seeds in each slice. As soon as I used to see that huge container, I would sit and reserve most of them for myself, the ones with dark brown color......just loved the slight bitter taste of the extra dark ones :D
My siblings always thought I was mad to eat those.
Out here, I was lucky to get the same kind of rusks until a couple of years back. I don't know why but somehow they aren't available anymore. What we get now are quite small in size, without the fennel and the most disappointing part...they're hardly brown :( So after hunting desperately for them at quite a few places and returning empty handed every time, I decided to give it a shot myself.
After searching over the Internet for recipes and failing here as well, it was time for trial and experiment. Did it turn out successful? Yes it did!!! albeit in the second attempt. I was sooooo happy! finally I could enjoy my favorite rusks at home anytime. Seriously, what can be better than this?
Making rusks is a little time consuming since they are made over a span of two days. First day you make the bread and the next day you make the rusks. I've used fennel seeds here but you could use other seeds that you like or leave them altogether. I'm gonna try more flavors like using berries, nuts in the dough...it's going to taste great!
Makes about 15 Rusks
Recipe Source: Bakingyummies
250 grams / 9 ounces all purpose or plain flour
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon regular salt
1 plus 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon oil
140 to 150 grams / 5fl ounces water at room temperature (you might need more or less depending on the flour's absorbency)
3 tablespoons fennel seeds
To know the instructions for making bread, click here. Follow the mixing and kneading instructions, leaving out the ingredients that are not mentioned in this recipe. Once the dough is almost ready, flatten it roughly with your hands and scatter the fennel seeds on the dough. Gather the dough and knead it by hand for 2 mins to evenly distribute the seeds.
Once you have shaped the dough into a sandwich loaf, using your palms, move the dough forward and backward, like a rock and roll motion on the counter a couple of times.
Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the shaped dough on the sheet, spray or brush with oil and cover with a cling film. Once the dough has at least doubled in size, preheat the oven to 175 degrees C / 350 degrees F.
Place the dough in the preheated oven for 45 mins to 1 hour. To check if the bread is baked sufficiently, tap the bottom with your knuckles. If it sounds hollow and all the sides are evenly browned, it is done. Alternatively, you can check if the bread is done with a food thermometer as well. It should register at least 95 degrees C / 190 degrees F. If the bread is still underbaked, pop it in the oven for some more time until done. Remove the bread from the sheet and keep it on a wire rack to cool completely.
Store the bread in a zip lock bag until ready to make the rusk.
You can make the rusk the same day as well, but a day old bread gives better results.
Preheat the oven to 70 degrees C / 160 degrees F. To make the rusks, slice the bread into 10mm slices and place them on a wire rack (the one that comes with your oven).
Bake in the preheated oven for about 3 to 4 hours. The rusks are done when they feel absolutely hard once you press them between your fingers. If they feel even the slightest bit soft, bake for some more time.
Once the rusks are ready, if you want to give them a deeper color, toast them until they have sufficiently browned. What I do is, I bake the bread slices with the bottom and top coil on until they are completely hard. Then I switch on only the top coil to brown them. I then turn the rusks over so that the bottom of the rusk is now facing up and toast again.
Once your rusks are ready, transfer them to another wire rack to cool completely.
Storage Suggestions: When stored in an airtight container or a zip lock bag, rusks keep well for about 2 weeks.