Are you going camping soon or looking for something super easy and filling for you and the boys to cook at home?
Damper is an iconic Australian recipe from the old days of drovers, swagmen and stockmen. It was traditionally cooked in an iron pot on hot coals.
Some of my best childhood memories involve damper. On our road trip to Cape York Peninsular and on weekends, our family would often find a great spot along a creek or river, light a fire and cook damper. I can still see Mum mixing the dough with a knife and Dad helping us to wrap the dough around our chosen sticks, so we could cook them over the fire.
The best part of course was unwinding the damper off the stick and drizzling Golden Syrup and butter all over it. The challenge for us was to try to get the damper in our mouth before the syrupy butter mixture ran down our arm.
Today however, we spend more time cooking in our kitchens, so we are giving you a recipe for all locations – at home, in the bush, on the beach, or wherever takes your fancy. Kids love making this recipe.
450 grams (3 cups) self-raising flour
pinch of salt
80 grams (1/3 cup) chilled butter (cut into rough cubes)
185ml (3/4 cup) milk (add more if mixture is too dry) – you can use water instead of milk if you like
Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.
Add the butter, rubbing it into the flour with your fingertips until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
Gradually add the milk and mix with a knife to make a soft dough.
Knead lightly on a floured board or bench-top for one to two minutes until the dough is smooth and then shape into a round loaf.
For oven cooking
Pre-heat oven to 200°c (or 190°c for fan-forced)
Place dough onto a flat baking tray covered in baking paper.
Cook in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes.
To see if it is cooked, tap on the top of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it’s ready.
For campfire cooking
Grease your camp oven and dust it with some extra flour. Add your dough and cover with the lid.
Place the camp oven directly onto the campfire and cover with hot coals and ashes.
Bake for around 30 minutes or until cooked.
To cook on a stick
When choosing a stick, my Dad would always tell us to find green wood that was a few centimeters wide to stop it from catching fire. He would then take the bark off where the damper was to go with a knife, so we didn’t end up with bark in our bread.
Break the dough into 6+ balls, roll your small ball into a long sausage shape and wrap around your stick firmly so it doesn’t come off.
Hold the stick over the fire for about 10 minutes, turning regularly so it doesn’t burn.
Note: Please check with your local authority before lighting campfires.
Best eaten while it’s still warm with butter, golden syrup, honey, jam or the topping of your choice. Enjoy!