A damper is a simple fried or grilled quick bread. They are often made over campfires for a delicious taste of the outdoors. Below are recipes to make them on a fire, barbecue or in the oven, depending what you have access to at the moment.
Damper Bread on a Campfire or Barbecue
Servings: 6-8. Prep time: 10mins. Cooking Time: 10-15mins
Ingredients: 500g Self Raising Flour; 80g Sugar; 200ml water
- Get the fire going ahead of time so you can cook on the embers and not the flame. The flame is too hot and will burn the outside of the food and leave the inside raw!
- Scrape off the end 15cm of bark from your stick with a potato peeler or pen knife. Store the sticks somewhere with the clean end off of the ground; or you can cover the top half of your stick in foil.
- Put the flour and sugar into a large bowl. Pour in 200ml water and mix to a dough. Knead lightly in the bowl until the dough comes together, then set aside for 10 minutes.
- Divide the mixture into 8 equal pieces of dough.
- Take 1 lump of dough and roll it between your hands to make a sausage shape. Wrap the dough around the foil-covered end of the stick and gently press it onto the stick so that it won’t fall off.
- Cook the dampers over a campfire or barbecue for 10-12 minutes – keep turning them so they turn golden brown all over.
- Carefully tap the dough with your finger – when it’s cooked, it should feel solid when you tap it. Wrap some kitchen paper or a tea-towel around the damper and pull off the stick.
- Fill the middle of each damper with either jam or spread of your choice.
Caution: Always have an adult present when there’s a fire, and always peel away from your body and never towards your hands.
Damper Bread in the oven
Servings: 1 loaf. Prep time: 10-20mins. Cooking Time: 30mins
Ingredients: 450g Self Raising Flour; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1 tablespoon olive oil; 225ml water
- Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6
- In a large bowl mix the flour, salt, olive oil and water. Mix everything well until the dough
- starts to come together in a ball. Then get your hands in and squidge all the dry bits in,
- using the bread like a cloth to gather the bits up.
- Dust a work surface with a little flour and place the dough down.
- Squish it into a soft, smooth ball.
- If everything is too wet, just add a small handful of flour to the dough
- Place the dough onto baking tray and flatten gently to make a round about 20cm across
- Cut a deep cross in the dough and brush lightly with milk (not essential)
- Bake for 30 minutes until golden
- Serve warm with butter and favourite spreads
- For a savoury option try adding olives, rosemary or grated cheese to the dough or any other ingredients you think will work well
Take it Further
If you enjoyed making damper bread over a fire, you could try making your own Bushcraft Pencils. For more food activities, check out how to make a Tiny Cooker. You could also find out about international food by making some Pancakes of the World or go foraging for flowers and make Elderflower Cordial.