Friday, 27 March 2009

Australian damper bread baked over campfire coals

by Eilleen
Consumption Rebellion

I love bush camping. I love the quiet. For me, bush camping replenishes my soul. Bush camping was probably my very first introduction to a simple life (except I never thought of it that way of course). It was through bush camping that I learned how to cook over a campfire.

One of the best things about bush camping is making damper. Damper bread is very similar to soda bread and was traditionally made by stockmen (Aussie version of "cowboys") who often trekked through very remote areas of Australia for months at a time with only very basic rations. Thus, the ingredients are also very basic (and very easy to make):

3 cups of flour
1 tsp of baking powder
Pinch of salt
About 80g of butter
1 cup of cold water

Choose a spot where you can make a fairly wide fire pit. On one side of the pit, build up your campfire.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Rub butter in until you get a breadcrumb-like texture. Make a well and add 1 cup of cold water. Mix the whole thing with a knife until everything is wet. Take out of bowl and shape into a nice round loaf.

Now place the bread in a camp oven or wrap in alfoil. By this stage, your fire would've burned down. You may now want to transfer some of the fire on to the other side of the pit (so you can continue to cook other food or just to keep warm). Leave plenty of the coals from the "old fire".

Dig a little shallow well from the old fire. Place camp oven or alfoil-covered bread on top of hot coals. Being a woodfire, time can vary but I would recommend checking it around the 15-20 min mark to see if it's done.

You can also try damper using a normal oven. Bake at around 180 degrees Celsius (or around 350 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 20-30 mins.

Slather with lots of butter or even sprinkle some cheese.

Picture courtesy of taste.com.au