It’s cold outside, cold enough for a campfire AND you’re in the bush or somewhere you’re allowed to make a fire. Yep, it’s Damper time.
But first, a little bit of history…
Damper (also known as bush bread) is a traditional Aussie bread. It comes from the days of swagmen, drovers and stockmen who didn’t have a Woolworths nearby, so they had to make their own bread in the fire.
It’s the most basic of bread recipes – making it brilliant if you’re camping or road tripping. There’s nothing like the feeling of instant gratification when you lift that warm bush bread from the ashes. Ahhhhhh.
It is pretty easy – all you need is some plain flour, a bit of butter, salt and some water.
Follow these easy steps:
Step 1. For one large roll of damper take a cup of flour and put it in a bowl. Add a healthy pinch of salt.
Step 2. Chop up about 50-60 grams of butter, and rub it into the flour.
Step 3. Add water bit by bit – you don’t want too much or you’ll have to add more flour and then more water and then more flour – it becomes a vicious cycle and before you know it you’ve got damper for a month! The key is to add a little at a time.
Step 4. Knead the damper and water together until it resembles a ball of pizza dough that you see in the pizza shops before the cook flattens it out.
Step 5. Dust the ball of dough with some flour and wrap the dusted ball in foil.
Step 6. Place the foil ball into hot ashes under the crackling fire. Then, sit back and let the fire do the rest.
Step 7. After half an hour, carefully retrieve the damper from the hot ashes (we use a pointy stick like a giant one-pronged fork and pierce the foil ball, trying in vain not to singe ourselves).
Step 8. Carefully (because it’s bloody hot) unwrap the damper. It should be hard and crunchy on the outside yet fluffy and doughy on the inside. Perfect.
Step 9. Back in the day, damper was eaten with meat or golden syrup (“cocky’s joy”). But we prefer to smother the inside fluffy goodness with butter (we added a little garlic and chilli) and serve with hot soup or home-made baked beans or vegemite. YUM!
Stay tuned for the van-made baked bean recipe we’re giving a try next week!
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