Damper is a simple bread of flour and water eaten by early Australian settlers and bushmen, although modern versions add milk and butter for flavour. The dough may be wrapped around a stick and cooked over camp-fire coals or cooked in a camp oven. Damper is so called because it was said to ‘dampen’ the appetite.

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Ingredients

  • 375 g (13 oz/3 cups) self-raising flour
  • 90 g ( oz) butter, melted
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) milk
  • milk, for glazing
  • flour, for dusting

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 210°C (415°F/Gas 6–7). Lightly grease a baking tray. Sift the flour and 2 teaspoons salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Combine the butter, milk and 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) water and pour into the well. Stir with a knife until just combined.
  2. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 20 seconds, or until smooth. Place the dough on the baking tray and press out to a 20 cm (8 inch) circle.
  3. Using a sharp pointed knife, score the dough into eight sections, about 1 cm (½ inch) deep. Brush with milk, then dust with flour. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) and bake the damper for another 15 minutes, or until the top is golden and the bread sounds hollow when the surface is tapped. Serve with butter.

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