Who doesn’t love a hunk of warm homemade damper, served with a generous lashing of golden syrup and a warming cup of tea? This iconic Australian bread is easy to prepare with the help of your Brisbane Kids and makes the perfect afternoon tea or side dish for any meal.
Oven Baked Homemade Damper
There are so many delicious recipes for damper, but you can’t go wrong with this simple version, which can be baked in your oven at home. Traditional damper was made with plain flour, salt and water, but adding butter and self-raising flour gives a much tastier result.
- 450 grams (3 cups) self-raising flour
- Pinch of salt
- 80 grams butter, chilled, cubed
- 185ml (3/4 cup) water
How to Make Damper in Your Oven:
Preheat the oven to 200°c. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Use your fingertips to run the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. This is a great job for the kids.
Add the water to the flour and mix until the dough just comes together, adding 1-2 tablespoons of extra water if the mixture is a little dry.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Shape into a disc and place on tray.
Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the damper is cooked through and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer to a wire rack for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature with your favourite spreads. My kids love honey and even vegemite on their damper!
Barbecue Home Made Damper
Next time you’re sizzling a few snags for the kids, try cooking some home made damper on the barbie at the same time. If you have a hooded BBQ, TV Chef Fenton Keough has an easy recipe that is worth a try.
- 2 cups self-raising flour
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 cup milk
How to make Damper in the BBQ:
Preheat flat plate on low indirect heat (no heat under bread side, burners on high).
Into a bowl add the self-raising flour and butter.
Using fingertips, gently rub in the butter until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add any flavourings you like (herbs, cheese, olives etc.) and quickly mix through.
Make a well in the centre, gently mix and gradually add milk until the mixture is all bound together.
Turn onto a floured surface, knead dough gently and shape.
Place a BBQ mat or baking paper directly onto the flat plate.
Put the damper on to the covered flat plate and lower the hood.
Cook for 20 minutes on the low indirect heat method. Serve and impress your kids!
Camp Fire Roasted Damper… At Home!
Damper was traditionally made in a cast-iron pot with a lid, called a “camp oven”. The entire pot was either covered in hot wood coals or the camp oven was placed in a hole in the ground and surrounded with hot wood coals. It was usually served with tea made in a billy over the camp fire and was first cooked by stockmen, drovers and swagmen who travelled in remote areas for months at a time with only basic rations.
Another form of damper, known as bush bread, was also a popular dish with Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal women traditionally made bush bread from seasonal grains and nuts, which they cooked in the ashes of fires.
If your local council’s regulations permit, you can re-create this Aussie tradition with your Brisbane kids by cooking damper over a fire in your backyard. Fire pits are perfect – you can wrap the dough in foil and cook it in the coals, or wrap the dough around a long stick and toast it, as you would marshmallows.
To complete the scene, you could even pitch a tent and have a camp out in your backyard. This is a terrific school holiday activity, or even a fun way to celebrate Australia Day. Your kids may even learn a thing or two.
Please note, lighting of fires in the Brisbane City Council region is banned, except “where the fire is used for a barbecue or similar apparatus to cook food for human consumption”. For more information, visit Brisbane City Council Website