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damperDamper is traditionally a simple Australian unleavened bread baked in the hot coals of a campfire. The 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.

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 had no sugar or butter and used water instead of milk.)

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

The following is a modern version that you can bake in your oven or try on your next campout.

Ingredients

2
½

2
2
 
 cups
 teaspoon
 cup
 teaspoon
 teaspoon
 
self-raising flour
salt
milk
sugar
butter
 

Method

  1. Mix the flour, salt and sugar together into a bowl.  You can leave the sugar out if youu wish and add sultanas to the mix for sweetning.
  2. Cut in the butter to the dry mix until fine crumbs form.
  3. Add milk slowly (start with about 1/4 of a cup then another 1/4 and then a splash at a time) and mix to form a soft dough, should not stick to hands. Adding too much liquid will make the mixture sticky and very difficult to work with.
  4. Knead lightly on a floured board until smooth.
  5. Shape into a round loaf, brush with milk and cut a cross in the
    top surface of the dough.

( For oven cooking )

  1. 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.
  2. Place dough in the pan and bake at 190° C (375° F) for 30 - 40
    minutes.

( For campfire cooking )

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

(For Cadet Activiity)

  1. Mould dough into a ball about the size of a tennis ball.
  2. Oil a piece of alfoil and wrap the dough.
  3. Place in campfire and cook for approximately 25 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.

Just for fun or something different
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.

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