Damper is a bread made from wheat-based dough, flour and water, and sometimes milk ,with some butter if available, is lightly kneaded and baked in the coals of a campfire, either directly, or within a camp oven. When cooked as smaller, individually-sized portions, these damper "bush scones", are often called "johnny cakes". It is uncertain if this name was influenced by the term for North American cornmeal bread. However, Australian johnny cakes, while often pan-fried, remain wheat-based.
Damper was utilised by stockmen who travelled in remote areas for long periods, with only basic rations of flour, sugar and tea, supplemented by whatever meat was available.
Damper is an iconic Australian dish. While considered quintessentially Australian within that country, and synonymous with early European settlement and rural life there, bread making is such an ancient and widespread practice, that this form of bread baking is not unique to colonial or pre-colonial Australia. historically prepared by early settlers, swagmen, drovers, stockmen and other travellers. The bread is different to bush bread, which has been made by Indigenous Australians for thousands of years and was traditionally made by crushing a variety of native seeds, nuts and roots, mixing into a dough, and then baking the dough in the coals of a fire.
The basic ingredients of damper were flour, water and sometimes milk. Baking soda or beer could be used for leavening. Damper was normally cooked in the ashes of the campfire. The ashes were flattened, and the damper was cooked there for ten minutes, often wrapped around a stick. Following this, it was covered with ashes and cooked for another 20 to 30 minutes until it sounded hollow when tapped. Alternatively, damper was cooked in a greased camp oven. Damper was eaten with dried or cooked meat or golden syrup. Damper is sort of soda bread..
Soda bread is no yeast bread, a variety of quick bread traditionally made in a variety of cuisines in which sodium bicarbonate (otherwise known as "baking soda", or in Ireland, "bread soda") is used as a leavening agent instead of the traditional yeast. The ingredients of traditional soda bread are flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. The buttermilk in the dough contains lactic acid, which reacts with the baking soda to form tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide. Other ingredients can be added, such as butter, egg, raisins, or nuts. An advantage of quick breads is their ability to be prepared quickly and reliably, without requiring the time-consuming skilled labor and temperature control needed for traditional yeast breads.
As an Aussie tradition to bake this with dinner when you’re camping in the outback, today damper can be a “noble dish” that appers on fine dinner table or parties of “high class” comminities.Read more