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AUSTRALIAN FOOD AND RECIPES

Damper Recipe

Damper is traditionally a simple Australian unleavened bread baked in the hot coals of a campfire. (Our modern recipe is, of course, not unleavened because it uses self-raising flour.)

Damper

Traditional method
The damper dough was wrapped around a stick and cooked or put into an iron pot and buried in the hot coals.

The bread is called damper because the fire is damped to allow the bread to be cooked over the ash covered hot coals.

 See also on our website
Aussie Food Charts for Cooking

Still being served ?
Steve P wrote us "since when is damper found at today's informal dinner parties?"

Well, Max and I had damper at our wedding about 12 years ago. We had guests from Germany and America as well as Aussies and everyone loved it. It was held outside at a friends property and we even had a sticky beak kangaroo there as well.

Depending on the menu, other people I know serve damper at their parties too.

On My Restaurant Rules on TV (2012), a contestant make damper in the competition.

Australian Recipe

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Australian Damper

Modern version to bake
in the oven or try on a campout.

Ingredients

450  grams (3 cups) flour, self-raising
 teaspoon salt
180  ml  (6 fl oz) milk - if the mixture is too dry,
add a little more milk
1  teaspoon sugar, caster (sugar, granulated)
80  grams (1/3 cup) butter, chilled
    extra flour as needed

 
Method

1. Mix the flour, salt and sugar together into a bowl.
2. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
3. Add milk slowly and mix to form a soft dough.
4. Knead lightly on a floured board until smooth. Shape into a round loaf, brush with milk and cut a cross in the top surface of the dough.

. . .  For oven cooking

5. Grease and dust with flour a round cake tin. You can substitute a flat baking pan, but the round tin gives a better shape to the loaf.
6. Place dough in the pan and bake in a preheated oven at 190 C (375 F) for 30 - 40 minutes.

. . .  For campfire cooking

5. Grease the camp oven (Dutch oven) and dust with flour. Add bread dough and cover.
6. Place in your campfire, cover with hot ashes and coals and bake for about 30 minutes.

 

Note: to test if it's done, tap on the loaf and it should sound hollow. Cut into moderately thick slices and serve while still warm. Top with butter, golden syrup, or your favourite jam.

Variations: You can add a variety of ingredients to Damper for a different flavour. For example, add desiccated coconut, cinnamon, sultanas and extra sugar for a sweeter Damper.

We hope you enjoy this recipe!

 

So yes, damper is still being served at informal parties more than people realize.

Origin of Damper

During colonial times it was a staple food in the bush because the dry ingredients could be easily carried and they only needed to add water to make the damper.

The original version used plain flour and had no sugar or butter. It used water instead of milk so it was great on trips.

Today Australians buy their bread from pastry shops or the grocery store. However, when there's an informal party you may find damper served somewhere on the table.

Did you know . . ..
A quick and easy method the drovers in the outback used to make damper is to wrap the dough around a stick to toast it over the coals. Fill the hole where the stick was with butter, golden syrup or jam.

 

Did you know . . .
How did Damper get it's name? No one knows for sure, but my guess is that it probably comes the fire having to be "damped" down to lower the heat to a moderate level in order to cook the bread. As the recipe was passed around, a new cook would always be reminded to "damp" down the fire. So it's easy to see how the name Damper would stick.

 

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