Buttermilk Muesli

Your Family, May 1987

Your Family, a magazine, held a “Favourite Recipe Competition.” This one, submitted by Mrs. D. Cownley of Dieprivier, Cape Town, was the winner. I’ve tried this and it has to be one of the best rusk recipes. If you know Woolworth’s muesli rusks, these are similar. I used half wholewheat and half white flour. In Canada you can’t find self raising flour so I used 45ml of baking powder. I also substituted one-and-a-half cups of the muesli with one cup sunflower seeds and half a cup of flax seeds.

If you can’t find self-raising flour check out the tip under the “Alternatives” heading.

500 ml sugar
2 eggs, beaten
500 ml buttermilk
500 g marg, melted (I’d use butter)
1 kg self raising flour
5 c muesli
25 ml baking powder
10 ml salt

Add sugar, eggs and buttermilk to melted marg/butter.
Add all dry ingredients and mix well.
Mix dough into sausage shapes and place in greased roasting pan (2 inches/5 cm deep) or press dough evenly into baking sheet.

Bake at 180 C (350 F) for 45 minutes,

Allow to cool and then separate into individual rusks or if you pressed the dough into a single slab in the baking sheet, use any of the many cutting methods. If you rolled them into sausage shapes before baking you’ll break those up by hand instead of cutting them.  Dry out in a low oven after cutting.

Makes about 40

  1. Michele
    March 31, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I have made the health rusks, the condensed milk rusks and the buttermilk muesli rusks.

    I must agree although the health rusks are full of flavour, the buttermilk muesli rusks are the best.

    • April 8, 2011 at 12:45 am

      Thanks for letting us know!

      • Thersia
        October 16, 2011 at 12:59 pm

        Thanks for this recipe. We have eaten the Woolies Meusli rusks and we love them….. I so hoped to find a recipe near to it and,
        thank God find this Buttermilk Meusli recipe. Can’t wait to go and try it…..

      • October 17, 2011 at 6:08 pm

        Let me know what you think of the recipe! I just made this recipe last week and added a cup of chopped almonds. My husband says they’re the best, yet. The secret is to use a good quality muesli. Also, check out some of the tips for making them healthier – I use less butter/marg and less sugar and they’re still great.

  2. Suzanne Mooney
    April 27, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Hello, What a joy to find your page. We had loved the Wollies’ Rusks and so I made the Buttermilk Muesli and found them delicious.

    I added walnuts instead of the almonds, but will try almonds next time for sure. I also added about a Tbsp of pure vanilla extract & I used brown sugar to sweeten & butter. I too used half and half, wholewheat and white flour & I used a variant on how to make self-raising flour, which seemed to work well. I’ve decided I don’t care so much for the taste of the raisins in the rusks, so will pick them out next time! But that’s just me.

    I baked them as described, then cut them using Sharon’s method, and dried them in a 70 C oven, for a couple of hours on baking parchment directly on the oven rack…no pan. What a nice treat, now that my Woolies Rusks had run out. And now these have run out, far too quickly…so baking day tomorrow.

    Thanks so much.

    • April 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm

      Hi Suzanne – thanks for sharing your experience with us and for your tips! I’ve just added a Nuts ‘n Seeds recipe to this blog which, in my opinion, is the closest thing to the Woolworths muesli rusks.

      If you don’t like raisins (my grandmother wouldn’t eat them in food because she thought they looked like dead flies!) then try dried cranberries 🙂

  3. Suzanne Mooney
    April 29, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Hi, the cunning plan is finely chopped dried apricots. will try the nuts & seeds and report in.

    • April 29, 2012 at 11:56 pm

      Ooooo yessss, dried apricots will be good! Do let me know what you think of the Nuts ‘n Seeds. And how the dried apricot turns out….I’ll add it to the recipe as an alternative if you have a good result 🙂

  4. Chris
    June 22, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Hi, would really love to try this recipe. Please tell me what the “c” in “5 c muesli” stands for. Does it stand for “cups”? Please let me know.

    • June 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      Hi there. Bingo! “c” does indeed stand for ‘cups’. It you see a “t” it means ‘teaspoon’ and “T” means ‘tablespoon’. Let me know how your Rusks turn out! I made these two weeks ago. The secret is to use a good quality muesli. I usually chop up any whole nuts that the muesli contains.

  5. Chris
    June 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Hi,Thanks so much. The dough are in the oven at this moment. I’ve tried something a little different. In the recipe I canged the 1kg self raising flour to 1kg nutty weat flour, also added an extra 20ml of baking powder. I cut the larger nuts I found in smaller pieces as suggested. The dough came out very nice. Will let you know tomorrow how it turned out 🙂

    • June 24, 2012 at 1:44 am

      That’s great that it all worked out. I sometimes use half nutty wheat or whole wheat and half white flour. I’m interested to know how it is with all nutty wheat. Happy dunking!

  6. Chris
    June 25, 2012 at 7:16 am

    Hi. It came out really good thanks! Next time Im gonna dry it out longer, I had it in the low oven for 12h. It looks like i needed to held it in for 14h. They turned out very dense, which is a good thing. It’s really tasty. Thank you very much for the recipe, this is a keeper 🙂

    • June 25, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      Glad they turned out well. It’s not too late to dry them out some more. You can put them back in the low oven any time. I must say though that 12 hours is a long time! Mine dry out in 6 hours. The lowest setting on my oven is 170 C.

  7. Chris
    June 26, 2012 at 6:38 am

    Wow thats a lot faster. Next time Im gonna put them in the oven a higher heat. I think because the mixture turned out very dense, maybe it needs longer time in the oven. Thanks for the recipe, I think I need to make some more in the next week though. It’s winter in South Africa and coffee + rusks is a good decision for breakfast sometimes 🙂

    • June 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm

      I’ve also noticed that the more dense the rusk the longer it takes to dry.

      Coffee and rusks on a wintery day is indeed a lekker treat!!!

      If you decide to try any of the other recipes let us know how they turn out. I think my favourites are Nuts ‘n Seeds, Cranberry Orange Almond, and the Coconut and Ginger.

  8. Suzanne Mooney
    June 26, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Oh Chris, It’s summer in Ottawa Ontario, and Coffee and Rusks is the perfect breakfast every time! It’s how I start the day. WIll make the buttermilks today. Life has been taken up with gardening in the heat. I dried mine out on bakers paper in the oven at probably around 170 C, and when they weren’t crunchy enough, I put them back in. They don’t seem to care, and come out happily.

    • June 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one who starts their day with a rusk and coffee (well in my case, a chai latte). I couldn’t think of a better way to ease into a day.

    • Anne
      November 10, 2017 at 8:03 am

      Wont they burn at 170 celcius? I always learned 80-100? I do like the ww muesli rusks being a bit darker brown. Maybe the 170 is actually the trick?

      • Suzanne Langlois Mooney
        November 10, 2017 at 9:47 am

        Oh goodness, it was a typo…I dry them out at the lowest C my oven will turn on…80C
        thanks for drawing this to my attention.

  9. Chris
    July 1, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I’m gonna make another batch of these in the next week. I need to perfect it first before I will move on to one of the other recipes 🙂 Will let you all know how it turned out. One of the comments I got of this recipe is that I need to make a double batch next time 😀

    • July 1, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      A comment like that means they must have been delicious! If you substantially change the recipe or come up with something new let me know…I may be able to share it on this blog.

  10. Suzanne Mooney
    October 9, 2012 at 10:13 am

    hello, I have recently made 3 small changes to what I had been doing & am reporting in. I have actually bought ‘self-raising flour’. I had been using all-purpose flour & adding the baking powder, and the rusks were fine, but with proper self-raising flour they are much better, and in fact closer to the Woolies taste. I have been mixing them in my big electric mixer; that works so much better, and I let them mix longer than if I were mixing by hand; this seems to lead to a lighter crumb than before. And finally, I saw proper buttermilk in the supermarket and bought some, it also produces a better and lighter taste and texture, than the soured milk. The finely chopped dried apricots were great, as were the salted sunflower seeds. All in all a huge success.

    • October 15, 2012 at 6:37 pm

      Great tips, Suzanne. Thanks for sharing them. I’ve not tried creating my own buttermilk and have recently discovered for a healthier approach, that there is 1% buttermilk which works well. I will look out for self-raising flour but it’s hard to find in Canada.

      • Suzanne Mooney
        October 15, 2012 at 9:38 pm

        Hi, yes. I used 1% Buttermilk also. I’m not sure what made the difference, but the rusks are getting closer to the lighter, texture of Woolies. Yummy anyway.

  11. Suzanne Mooney
    October 9, 2012 at 10:16 am

    p.s; Brodie makes a Self-raising flour. I found it at my Metro, and as I was traveling through a small Ontario town at No Frills….the lower end Loblaws store…I forget its actual name. It was a bit pricey; 1 kg for approx $5, and on sale at the No-frills for 1.5 Kg, for about $3. It’s worth the extra, and I cannot define why. Also real buttermilk, as opposed to the milk plus lemon juice, made a more Woolies taste as well

    • October 15, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      I know that South African shops in Vancouver sometimes carry self raising flour too.

  12. Debra
    March 2, 2013 at 4:30 am

    Just making your recipe in Australia and used above recipe with a few changes, puffed quinoa, almond meal, sunflower seeds, oat bran and I’m looking forward to the results, your recipes are fabulous! A very dear South African friend got me hooked on rucks, delicious on the go breakfast option!

    • March 4, 2013 at 6:41 pm

      Hey Debra, that’s great. How did the rusks turn out? If they were a success let me know what quantities of the additional ingredients you used so I can share them with others on this site. I’ve been thinking about ways to use quinoa in rusks so I’m looking forward to hearing about your experiment.

  13. Mara Minnaar
    June 11, 2013 at 9:00 am

    I liked the Woolies Muesli Rusks, so I can’t wait to make these, they sound wonderfull.thanks for sharing.

    • June 11, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      Bear in mind that most of the recipes on this site are provided either from my friends or from magazines like Your Family, or from my own adaptations. The Woollies rusk recipes are not on this site, unfortunately. But what I do like though, is that I can control the amount of fat and sugar (see the health tips)and add my favourite goodies in terms of nuts, seeds and fruit. Enjoy!

  14. September 22, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Hi there,

    How much in weight is a cup of muesli? Thx so much.

    • September 22, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      Hi there. Your question got me curious and I found this Australian site that gives the weight equivalents of 1 cup of lots of ingredients. Hope that helps. If not, a google search might help you narrow down your need more closely.

  15. September 23, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Thx for your reply. I did look on google and found that Australian measurements seem to be different and also some South African ones also differ from each other. So does anyone know specifically for this recipe what they used that worked? Many thanks, Alex

    • September 23, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      Wow, that’s disconcerting. Unfortunately I can’t help you. Some recipe books have conversion tables in them. You may want to check your SA recipe books and hopefully there will be something there that will help? I know that measuring by weight is a more accurate way to go about baking so good for you for trying to find the equivalent weight. If you do find out let me know and I’ll post it to this site.

  16. Suzanne Mooney
    September 23, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    In my experience with the rusks, they seem quite happy with fairly flexible amounts of whatever you like; The Muesli we have for breakfast, in that amount, would overwhelm and weigh down the rusks, so instead I use a C of Muesli, a C of sunflower seed, about 1/2 C of flax seed; a generous cup of rolled oats, 1/2 cup of oat or bran germ. I also add if I have it, about 2 tsps of vanilla extract.

    I bake at 200C for about 40-50 minutes, then follow the cutting instructions, put the rusks on parchment paper in the oven at 80C overnight. Perfection…and the wonderful aroma perfumes the house overnight, so warm and cosy.

  17. February 15, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Hey, per comments above, I’ve just posted a recipe for muesli rusks on http://pepperspiceandallthingsnice.wordpress.com, where I replace the self-raising flour with cake and whole wheat flour, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar. This is based on a recipe for making self raising flour that I found in a very old Cook and Enjoy (Kook en Geniet) by SJA De Viliiers. I also reference this site, as this fantastic recipe formed the basis of my recipe.

    • February 15, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      Thank you for sharing this tip and your recipe. It looks great! There is a tip on this site for creating your own self-raising flour, too – check out the tip under the “Alternatives” heading. You’ll also notice that most of the recipes on this site don’t use self-raising flour – some use yeast though I’ve not personally tried those. I usually just add the baking powder, myself. But your helpful comment prompted me to place a link to the tips page on this site for all the recipes that call for self-raising flour so thanks!

  18. Christine
    April 15, 2014 at 1:49 am

    Thank you for the recipe, I’m actually waiting for the second batch to finish baking. I used a similar style to Suzanne, but a ‘mock’ muesli. 5 cups of dry mixture of rolled oat, spelt, barley, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and whatever dried fruit I have in the pantry. I also use wholemeal flour (Atta flour).
    Please don’t kid yourself these scrumptious breakfast rusks are healthy, unless you take out the fat and the sugar!
    They certainly don’t last in our household.

    • Anne
      November 10, 2017 at 7:43 am

      I do think they are healthy as they are filled with oats (muesli) and nuts! (That is, if you exchange the margarine, which is unhealthy, for butter which is very healthy).

      You probably mean they are not unlimited for people on a diet, I agree with that 😉

  19. Wibke Mendelsohn
    April 18, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    I’m just about to pop a batch of these into the oven. Not wanting to come back from four fabulous weeks at home in South Africa I’m hoping these rusks will help me beat the blues. When my Mum and I bake rusks we shape the dough into walnut-sized balls, which then are fitted snugly together on the tray. It sounds like a lot of work, but actually is done in no time – especially when you have two eager little hands to help and dough with a lovely consistency like this recipe. After baking you can easily cut along the lines or break the rusks apart with your hands – although the latter causes more crumbling. I’ve done the same with this lot.
    I’ve taken photos of the result, though don’t know how to post them?

  20. sue_ellen_i@hotmail.com
    January 21, 2015 at 2:39 am

    Hi. Thanks for your lovely recipe. My rusks are in the oven. 🙂 Look forward to trying them out and taking them along for our family enjoy while camping this weekend. Thanks, Sue

    • January 22, 2015 at 5:49 pm

      Great! How did they turn out? I made a batch of rusks two weeks ago, trying a new recipe (which I’ll post soon!) and we are already half way through eating them! They sure are the best thing.

  21. Sue
    May 10, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    These sound really good so will get ingredients tomorrow. Pease can u tell me…do I use the toasted muesli or uncooked.

    • May 10, 2015 at 9:32 pm

      I suggest the toasted muesli for adding texture and flavour which I think might be better than the uncooked. But I’ve never actually tried the uncooked. If you opt to go with uncooked muesli let us know how the rusks turn out. Bon appetit!

  22. Suzanne Mooney
    May 10, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    hi, I use raw Muesli. Aspen, available in Canada. Or any raw seeds, oats, bran or anything. It doesn’t seem to make a difference. I find, for my family, that the raisins, dried apricots etc, dry out too much. I leave the cut rusks in a 90/100C oven overnight. So if you like dried fruits/nuts, I’d dry them for fewer hours or at a somewhat lower temp.

    This is The Best Recipe ever; I make it once a month; the rusks as breakfast, and as a good Housewife, I use the crumbs on yogurt for a breakfast as well.

  23. May 11, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Good to know. Glad you like rusks as a breakfast snack much as we do! I have reused the crumbs as topping for apple crumble, on icecream and yoghurt. Why waste such deliciousness?! This is a good recipe, I agree.

    My oven’s lowest temp is 170F/75C and so far I’ve not managed to dry out the dried fruit based on about 5 – 6 hours of drying time.

  24. Suzanne Mooney
    May 11, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    ah, you see, I am lazy. I make them around 6 in the evening; by the time they have baked time 1, rested a bit, then cut, and ready to dry, it’s around 7:45. So I turn the oven on low…and leave them in overnight. they’re still wonderful.

    • Anne
      November 15, 2017 at 4:28 am

      How many hours minimum and maximum is the “cake” allowed to stand before cutting and drying? Also, how quickly do you take the cake out of the pan after baking? And do you put a towel over it whilest cooling?

      I just made the rusks and they are great! Next time i will add chopped almond and sunflowerseed for some extra texture. I made as written but with 4c muesli and 1c all-bran. The muesli seemed to disappear a bit in the rusk.

      • November 16, 2017 at 7:23 pm

        Hi Anne. When I take the rusk slab out of the oven I let it stand for 5 minutes before cutting it into rusks. If I leave it longer the top becomes brittle and cracks when I try to cut it. I’m also not sure why one would put a towel over it because that locks in moisture and ultimately you want them to dry. Thanks for the tip about the muesli quantity.

      • Anne
        November 21, 2017 at 7:49 am

        Does everybody here cut after 5 minutes?? I thought you must wait until entirely cold? What do you do suzanne?

      • Suzanne Langlois Mooney
        November 21, 2017 at 1:28 pm

        Hi Anne…Along wIth the original recipe posted by the Buttermilk-Rusk lady, came some notes from someone named Sandra who suggested how to flip over the large ‘cake’, let it cool for 5 mins or so, then cut. I would guess it’s just easier to cut while the rusks are still warm. You could always try it and see.

      • Anne
        November 24, 2017 at 4:18 am

        Ok I will try. I always left in the pan about 30 min and then a whole day/night until fully room temperature. Cause no recipe I ever found specifies the “cooling” part 🙂 So thanks! These rusks are indeed the best. My husband can’t stop eating them too and I have to bake a batch again this weekend! So happy! Our South African morning coffee has improved dramatically…X

      • Anne
        December 5, 2017 at 10:13 am

        Hi it was really more of a mess when cutting while still warm inside (like with any cake). I’d like to recommend cooling for the entire day. It creates much less looseness and crumbs. By placing the towel on top the top does not become hard, which also helps. I bake in the morning, cool in the day, dry in the night. I do use a deep pan, so maybe it is not as much as a problem when you use a flat pan. Cheers!

  25. Hunterzoo
    June 3, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    I’ve baked these three times now and must say I struggle with the amount of crumbs they produce. I use a raw muesli with nuts and fruit included, and I use an electric mixer. To bake I press it into 2-3 bread loaf pans and cut the loaves once they are cold (3 hours or so later). I find the texture is so light the loaves break apart very easily which makes me think the crumbs don’t just come from cutting.any ideas how to make a slightly firmer texture – I love the taste of this recipe!

    • June 7, 2015 at 8:33 pm

      I wonder if you’re not drying out them long enough? I can’t be sure of course. I bake mine in a cookie sheet and then cut them into fingers and dry them for about 5 hours. While there are still crumbs there are not “tons” if you know what I mean. I use the crumbs on icecream, apple crumble or yoghurt!

  26. Suzanne Mooney
    June 7, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    I bake mine in a large, I think it’s called a ‘jelly roll’ pan. Then turn them over, as the instructions…I think it’s “Sandra’…info is downstairs…and cool them for about 10 mins.

    Then, I too cut mine into ‘fingers’…and dry them overnight at 80C. The crumbs, I collect and use as ‘muesli’ on yogurt with fruit.

    Nothing wasted. My last recipe, I wasn’t paying attention, and since I’d run out of self-raising flour, I ‘forgot’ the first step, and just added the 8 mls of baking powder…a bit, um, dense, but still and all, dipped into coffee or yogurt, just fine.

  27. Lynette
    July 22, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    I LOVE IT, thank you WOW. I used less sugar, made my own granola ( linseed, pumpkin, poppy, and sesame seeds, cranberries, raisins, date and fig pieces). It is definitely better than the Woolworths brand.
    I will NEVER buy store rusks again
    I sincerely thank you for the recipe👌🏾👌🏾

    • July 22, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      The figs sound like a fantastic addition. And thanks for the tips on making one’s own muesli!

  28. Suzanne Mooney
    July 22, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    So glad you like them as much as the rest of us do. Buttermilk-Rusk-Lady will go down in history. We use the crumbs as ‘granola’ on yogurt with fruit…though a friend in Bulawayo used to just add hers back into the next baking’s batter!

    I take them as ‘hostess presents’…and people greet me with little cries of joy!

  29. Anne
    November 26, 2017 at 4:23 am

    I (accidentally) made these rusks with 1L buttermilk. Sticking to the recipe (500mL) the second time, they were actually better the first time! Very sweet and dense. An idea if you want to experiment!

  30. March 7, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    I’m not sure what people find when using the self-raising flour alternative used in the Tips, but I found that it gave a really strong flavour of baking powder that is quite off-putting. They also rose like crazy, which is a good thing, I guess, but many broke in half longways across the middle when I tried to move them later. I used Alpen muesli and added extra raisins, but I don’t think I’d try these again unless I had real self-raising flour or a better alternative.

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