The Real Damper Circa 1870

Submitted: Friday, Jul 11, 2003 at 06:28
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This was printed in London as part of "An Account of the Colony" in 1870. Nothing much removed from what we slip in the camp oven today ....... Damper or Bush Bread Cut a piece of bark from a gum tree to use as a kneading trough about 2 feet square. Put on it 2 or 3 pannikins full of flour - one pannikin is about 1 pound of flour - add a small tsp of salt for every pound of flour. Gradually pour water into centre and work it till it becomes a thick paste. The secret of a good damper depends upon the thorough working of this paste. Shape it into a round flat cake about 2 ins thick - it will be ready for cooking. Your fire should be prepared some time before, so that you may have a large quantity of ashes. Rake out the ashes with a forked stick, level the ashes on the ground, which should be about 2 or 3 inches thick, rub your cake all over with a bit of flour to prevent it sticking and carefully place it on the ashes. Cover it all over with hot ashes about 2 or 3 inches deep. It will be baked in 30 or 40 minutes, according to size. You can tell when its done by uncovering it and striking with your fingernails; if not done the sound is dull and dead; or stick your knife in, and if it draws out clean it is done. Knock of all the ashes with a green brough, stand it up to cool, and it is fit for use.
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Reply By: Deleted User - Friday, Jul 11, 2003 at 06:30

Friday, Jul 11, 2003 at 06:30
Local variation is to make a clean bed of fresh beach sand - light fire on top and after about an hour or so scrape away the fire - leaving hot clean sand. Sprinkle flour over the sand - drop on the damper, another sprinkle of flour, some hot sand and hot ashes. Turn damper over after 20 minutes or so.

Damper will be totally clean.

About 50-50 self raising and plain flour, cold water and the very minimum of kneeding - stopping when the dough gets springy. Good - but still prefer made with yeast.
Collyn
AnswerID: 559153

Reply By: Deleted User - Friday, Jul 11, 2003 at 06:31

Friday, Jul 11, 2003 at 06:31
G'day Collyn, Interesting in the sand ! Had not thought of that but have not sand camped for awhile. After going to Fraser Is since I was 12 I'm all sanded out .... [smile] One thing I'm about to show the kids, now they are responsible enough around a fire, is the damper hot dog. Place damper dough around a 1/2 inch stick ,about 1/2 inch thick, so it looks like a stick through a sausage. Hold over coals turn to cook evenly .... when coolish to touch pull stick out and fill with some jam or golden syrup. Anthony
AnswerID: 559154

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