Damper (Aussie Campfire Bread)

Total Time
Prep 10 mins
Cook 30 mins

This very traditional Australian bread was the staple food of the famous Australian swagman. Traditionally it is cooked in the coals of the campfire but this version is made in your oven. It's very quick to make and extremely versatile. Damper is a cross between a bread and a scone. It can be either sweet or savoury and the variations are endless - just use your imagination. Try a savoury damper as a side dish with soup. The swaggies often served a plain or sweet damper with butter and golden syrup (corn syrup). Served like this it's called 'cockie's joy' - a 'cockie' being a farm worker, and a 'boss cockie' being the person in charge. Damper does not keep well. It is best eaten the day it is made, but it can be frozen and reheated. Give it a try for something different!


  1. Set oven to hot 200C (400F).
  2. Grease an 18cm (7 inch) sandwich cake tin or four single serve ramekin dishes.
  3. Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
  4. Add any other optional ingredients (see below).
  5. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add most, but not all of the milk.
  6. Mix with a knife, adding more milk if necessary, until you have formed a fairly moist, but not sloppy, dough.
  7. Turn dough into a cake tin or spoon into ramekins.
  8. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
  9. If making a savoury damper, sprinkle the top with cheese and/or add a thin slice or slices of tomato.
  10. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown on top and a skewer, inserted in the centre, comes out clean.
  11. Turn out and cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.
  12. Serve warm with butter.
  13. Some Variations: Cheese Damper- add 1/2 cup grated cheese and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  14. Cheese and Bacon Damper- add 1/2 cup grated cheese and 2-3 rashers of cooked, chopped bacon.
  15. Cheese and Herb Damper- add 1/2 cup grated cheese and 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil OR 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.
  16. Fruit Damper- add 1/2 cup mixed dried fruit and 1 tablespoon sugar.
  17. Orange Damper- add the finely grated rind of an orange and 1 tablespoon sugar.
Most Helpful

This is a wonderful 'quick bread' that's very difficult to screw up! I've had damper before while I was living in Oz, but had never tried making it myself. Well I was visiting my parents this weekend and made them soup w/damper for dinner. They really enjoyed it - said it tasted like a big crusty [American] biscuit. It was perfect paired with our soup. This recipe came together even quicker than I expected; I actually mixed it up on a commercial break! I used all-purpose flour plus 2tsp. soda, which worked just fine. I added about a Tbs. of freeze dried basil, a dash of garlic, and 1/2c. cheddar cheese. I baked it on a baking stone simply because I was attempting to recreate the damper I had eaten. My dad liked it so much he wants to try the campfire version! Thanks for the recipe!!

Atiekay March 06, 2007

Perfect. Mine did use a little more milk but it seems to be my flour - I've had problems with this pack! I'd forgotten how adaptable damper is. I sprinkled half with cheese & the other half with cinnamon sugar. mmmmm

auntchelle July 05, 2006

Great basic recipe. There is so much you can do with this. I cut the recipe in half. I did not have self rasing flour so I added 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt to the regular all purpose flour. Also I added a little more sugar and mixed in some chopped apples. Baked for about 25 minutes I think. Over flowed a little out of my custard cups when baking (I used 2 6oz cups). But this was a great recipe. Very tasty!

anme January 22, 2007