I am aware of how to make a bootable USB from the downloaded
Install.app of El Capitan.
Apple have now released an update to El Capitan: OS X 10.11.1.
Is it possible to apply this minor update to the same bootable drive so I do not have to install the update after clean installing El Capitan from the drive?
If I need to do a clean install of several Macs, I'd rather not manually install the 10.11.1 update each time as well.
I obtained the update DMG file from Apple: https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1845
When you open the DMG file, it mounts the volume which simply contains a PKG file to install the minor update.
The probably easiest solution is to simply download the latest OS X El Capitan installer after a minor update was released. Usually the newest installer available in the App Store already includes the update.
To get the build version of the OS installed by the OS X installer.app enter in Terminal.app:
and so on. The build version here is not identical with the build version of the later installed operating system. To get that one you have to mount the InstallESD.dmg in "/Applications/Install OS X El Capitan.app/Contents/SharedSupport/". Then cd to "/Volumes/OS X Install ESD" and enter "open BaseSystem.dmg".
To get the Build or System version then enter:
With the new OS X installer you can create a new bootable USB.
Depending on your internet connection that's probably faster and less hassle/error-prone than merging an update in an older full installer.