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The famous Australian Damper


The best bush food, Damper

The damper is a thick homemade bread, created from the wheat-based dough, traditionally made from flour, salt and water with some butter if available. The ingredients are then mixed and kneaded. It is recommended that you knead the damper mix for at least an hour, the longer you do it the better the damper will be[1].  


Australian damper bread

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There are many methods of cooking damper, the dough can be wrapped around a stick just like a marshmallow and held over the fire, otherwise use the conventional way of cooking the dough in a camp oven, which is a thick-walled cooking pot with a tight-fit lid, also known as a dutch oven that is made of seasoned cast iron [2].

Where did Damper originate?

The famous damper was first mentioned in memoirs edited by Barron Field, a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales between 1817 to 1824 [3]. The name ‘Damper’ derives from a Lancashire expression meaning “something that takes the edge off the appetite”. Because it was the most common form of bread for bush workers in the nineteenth century, to earn your damper means to be worth your pay [4]. 


Damper process


How is bush bread different?

The Australian Aboriginals also made Dampers for many thousands of years, but they referred to Damper mainly as bush bread or seed cakes [5]. Their technique involved crushing a variety of native seeds, sometimes with nuts and roots, mixing it into a dough and then baking the dough in the coals of fire. The bush bread is filled with high protein and carbohydrates, which helped form a part of a well-balanced diet. Archaeologists have discovered the millstones for grinding seeds into flour have been discovered to be 50,000 years old [6]. 


Why was Damper important?

The damper is one of the most iconic, traditional, and delicious tastes unchanged by time. They’re perfect for breakfast or tea time but also when you just want something to eat. So why was Damper so important? Damper was utilised by stockmen, squatters, swagmen, drovers, and other travellers, because it only needed basic ingredients to make, and required just water[3]. This was important because as a horse rider carrying unnecessary weight would be a burden, but carrying a damper provided a softer and stable ride.

Damper in camp pot

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Keep the tradition going!

The damper will be an Australian iconic dish for years to come. While serving the early European settlers, bread making is such an ancient and widespread practice that has been around for thousands of years. Many cultures around the world have their own way of cooking or making bread, but the reasons for making it remain the same as it brings people together and fills you up delightfully.

Looking for a nice camp oven to cook your damper? Don’t look past the famous King Brown Camp Oven Kitchen with different types of ovens, tools, and recipes you’ll be sure to cook up a storm to feed the whole clan. Click the link here:

Don’t forget to stay sun safe during your bush adventures. Our camping page offers a variety of designs you might be interested in.

Enjoy the brisk morning air after the dinner with damper and camping among nature!

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