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A rusk is a hard, dry biscuit or a twice-baked bread. It is sometimes used as a baby teething food. In the United Kingdom, the name also refers to a wheat-based food additive.
Usually eaten with Cuban coffee (Cuban espresso) or as an accompaniment to ice cream, custard or other dessert dishes.
Zwieback (baked twice) is a form of rusk eaten in Germany. Like the Danish and French words, the name refers to being baked or cooked twice.
India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
Netherlands and Belgium (Flanders)
Beschuit, also known as Dutch crispbakes, are light, round, rather crumbly, rusks as eaten in the Netherlands and Belgium. Particularly in the Netherlands it is customary to serve beschuit met muisjes (sprinkled with "little mice" which are anise seeds covered in white, pink or blue sugar; note that "muisjes" can be thought of as miniature "sugar plums") at the birth of a baby. Beschuiten are also eaten as a breakfast food with a variety of toppings, most commonly butter and sprinkles in flavours such as chocolate (chocoladehagel) or fruit (vruchtenhagel), or cheese. A longtime Dutch tradition is to serve strawberries on beschuit usually topped with some sugar or whipped cream.
Beschuit is almost always sold in rolls; a roll typically has 13 rusks (a baker's dozen). They are made by first baking a flat round bread (beschuitbol), slicing it, and then baking each half again, possibly at a lower heat, in the oven after the main baking is over. Etymologically, biscotto (16th-century Italian), biscuit (19th century, from 16th-century bisket) and beschuit come from Latin (panis) bis+coctus, (bread, twice cooked).
Rusks are essentially double-baked bread dough. Round balls of dough are closely packed in pans and baked like bread, after which long chunks are cut or broken off and slowly rebaked to a dry consistency. Several modern-day mass-produced versions are available, the most famous brand being Ouma Rusks. Many bakeries, delis and home industries also sell commercial rusks, sometimes made from non-traditional ingredients, such as baking powder rather than sourdough. In addition to plain and buttermilk flavours, aniseed, wholewheat, condensed milk, muesli, and lemon poppyseed variations are also available.
Skorpor are a Swedish form of rusk. They can be flavoured with herbs, dried fruit, nuts, or spices such as anise or cardamom. Swedish bakery company Pågen makes the world's most-sold rusk brand, Krisprolls.
Various rusk particle sizes are used in the food industry, where uses include:
In 2006, a short-lived scare was caused when some Farley's Rusks were found to contain traces of the weedkiller chlorpropham. The affected products were recalled and the contamination was traced to a batch of flour used during the manufacturing process. The level of contamination was not high enough to be considered a health risk.
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