Thursday, January 28, 2010
Damper - Australian style Bush Bread
Damper is an Australian bush bread made without yeast(but you can add a beer to the mix) that dates back to the early settlers and bushmen who cooked the bread over a hot campfire.
I believe it was first made by Drovers the Aussies call cowboys. To me it is just a large version of ash cakes(which I covered in an earlier post).
For me using a Dutch Oven or steel covered pan to bake the bread in is Ideal, I dont really care for the ash and grit when it is cooked straight on the coals.
But Dutch Ovens are heavy so Im sure most times the Drovers would cook the dough right in the hot coals.
The dry ingredients were easily carried as they traveled the outback and with the help of some water from a billabong (Pond), it was quick and easy to make. Along with their billy tea or coffee, it would keep them fed during a cattle "Muster".
Since I dont have any pics of mking Damper of my own, I borrowed a few from the Net.
Give this type of bread a try, it is quick and easy to make and tasty too.
Tomahawk - Scouts Out!
150 g Wheat flour
100 g Corn flour
2 teaspoon Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
200 ml Milk
20 ml Oil (here:safflower oil)
Make a campfire from dense wood, like mesquite, something that will burn down to hot ashes. Wait for the fire to burn down to hot white ash.
Stand the bottle of beer beside the fire until it is nice and warm-around body temperature is ideal for the yeast to do its work. If you heat the beer too much you will kill the yeast. Warm your mixing bowl as well.
Mix the flour, sea salt and baking powder in a large bowl. When thoroughly blended, make a well in the centre and gradually mix the beer into the flour in a circular motion with a wooden spoon. Different flours absorb different amounts of beer. When the flour begins to form clumps and come away from the bowl, mix it with your hands until it becomes a dough. If the dough is too dry, add milk or water.
Spread a little flour on a clean work surface, turn the dough out and knead rhythmically. Kneading activates the gluten (starch) strands that give the dough its strength. Flatten the dough out into a round disk about one inch thick.
With a shovel, make a valley in the ash the size of the dough. Carefully sprinkle white ash onto the base about 1/4 inch deep. Place dough on ash and shovel coals on top. Check after 40 minutes or so by flicking your finger on the dough. If it sounds hollow it is ready, if not bury with more ashes
Remove damper from ashes with shovel. Brush away the ash, pick out any coals that may be attached to the bread. Slice and enjoy!