You won’t beat this easy 3-ingredient Aussie Damper Recipe.
Based on an original recipe used by Aussie bushmen and early settlers in the 1800s and another Damper recipe promoted during the bread shortages of 1943, this yeast-free bread is just as tasty and comforting today.
This Damper Recipe receives many five star ratings and rave reviews.
Why do people love it? Well, it:
- includes instructions for cooking at home in an oven and using an outdoor campfire.
- requires just 3 simple ingredients.
- relies on several old-fashioned recipes to get the balance of those ingredients spot on and deliver an authentic damper.
- can be enjoyed with lashings of butter or golden syrup around a camp fire OR serve it with soup at a dinner party – in fact, it’s great any time you feel like your own easy homemade bread fix.
What is Damper?
Damper is an iconic Australian bread that was baked by early settlers and continues to be popular today – especially when we're camping or enjoying the great outdoors.
A little history
Damper was first mentioned in memoirs edited by Barron Field who was a Supreme Court Judge in NSW between 1817 and 1824.
Back then, the ingredients included flour, water and salt and the damper bread was cooked by being buried in the hot coals of a camp fire. The ashes were brushed off before eating.
We’ve come a long way since the 1800s, and so have our damper recipes.
Today, recipes generally rely on self raising flour and sometimes butter is rubbed into the flour. Milk is generally called for instead of water.
My recipe research
The recipes I’ve used here to create this one have two important things in common.
- They’re simple – no unnecessary ingredients or steps.
- They get the balance right – producing a tasty damper while staying as true as possible to the original bushman’s damper.
The first is a recipe provided by the Home Science Department of the East Sydney Technical College, printed in a Sydney paper during the 1943 bread shortages.
The second recipe I’ve used to create this one is the “Fair Dinkum Damper” from the Bushells Cook Book: 100 Recipes from Australia’s Past, published in 1983.
Ingredients for Damper
To make this iconic Australian bread, you need:
- 3 cups self-raising flour (SR flour)
- teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups milk.
NOTE: If you only have plain (all purpose) flour, don’t fret. Simply add 1 ½ tablespoons of baking powder with 3 cups of plain flour.
If you don't have milk, or enough milk, you can substitute with water. It will still be damper, just not quite as tasty in my opinion.
You’ll also need:
- large bowl
- butter knife
- baking tray (for home cooking) or camp oven/cast-iron pot/foil (for cooking on camp fire).
How to make perfect Damper
1. Sift flour and salt
First, sift your flour and salt into a large bowl.
Use a bit of height above the bowl to get the air incorporated. If you don’t have a sifter, simply whisk the flour in the bowl with a whisk or fork.
2. Warm and add milk
Next, warm the milk (without boiling) and add to the bowl. Mix with a butter knife until mixture sticks together.
TIP: If there are still dry crumbly bits in the bottom of the bowl add another 1-2 tablespoons of warm milk until mixture holds together. If mixture feels too sticky, add a little extra flour.
3. Knead dough gently into a round
Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead very gently into a round.
If you’re camping or don’t have an available surface, simply attempt this step in the big bowl you’re using.
When cooking at home, place round onto a greased and floured baking tray and flatten gently so it’s about 13-14cm in diameter.
If you’re cooking this bush bread on an open fire, wrap damper in foil or place on a greased piece of foil in a camp oven. Again, you‘re aiming for a 13-14cm round.
4. Cook for about 25 minutes in oven or camp fire
If you’re cooking at home, pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius / 390 degrees fahrenheit (fan-forced) and place damper on the bottom shelf. Bake for 25 minutes or until a rich golden colour.
If you’re cooking on a camp fire, cover damper with hot coals and bake for about the same time.
Remove from oven or fire and turn damper upside down on a wire rack to cool.
TIP: Check the damper is cooked properly by tapping on the base. It should sound hollow. If not, return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
Enjoying your Bread
Serve your damper warm or allow to cool.
It’s traditionally eaten with butter or “Cocky’s Joy” (also known as Golden Syrup).
You can also enjoy it with your favourite jams, preserves or condiments.
It's best eaten warm from the oven, but you can keep for up to 1-2 days. Store by wrapping in a clean tea towel.
Yes. Wrap in food wrap and freeze for up to 6 weeks.
I haven't tested the recipe with other flours, but i imagine it would work well with wholemeal flour, gluten free flour and a range of other flours.
Want more classic Aussie recipes?
- large bowl
- butter knife
- baking tray
- 3 cups SR flour (or 3 cups plain/all purpose flour and 1 ½ tablespoons baking powder)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups milk
- Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius (fan-forced).
- Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. (OR whisk with a fork if you don't have a sifter)
- Warm milk and then add to bowl. Mix with a butter knife until mixture sticks together. If there are still dry crumbly bits in the bottom of the bowl add another 1-2 tablespoons of warm milk until mixture holds together.
- Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead very gently into a round.
- Place round onto a greased and floured baking tray. Flatten gently until round is about 13-14cm in diameter.
- Bake on bottom shelf of oven for 25 minutes or until a rich golden colour.
- Remove from oven and turn damper upside down on a wire rack to cool.
- Check the damper is cooked properly by tapping on the base. It should sound hollow. If not, return to the oven for another 5 minutes.