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Bush Damper

In colonial Australia, stockmen developed the technique of making damper, mainly out of necessity. Away from home for weeks with only a camp fire to cook on and sacks of flour as provisions, a basic staple bread evolved. Originally made with flour and water and a good pinch of salt, kneaded, shaped into a round, and baked in the ashes of the campfire or open fireplace. It was eaten with pieces of fried dried meat, sometimes spread with golden syrup, but always with billy tea or maybe a swig of rum. Today, Damper is made with milk and self-raising flour. Salt is optional.


  • 3 cups of self-raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Sift flour and salt into a bowl, rub in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  2. Make a well in the centre, add the combined milk and water, mix lightly with a knife until dough leaves sides of bowl.
  3. Gently knead on a lightly floured surface and then shape into a round, put on a greased oven tray.
  4. Pat into a round 15-16 cm (6-6 1/2 inch) diameter.
  5. With sharp knife, cut two slits across dough like a cross, approximately 1cm (1/2in) deep.
  6. Brush top of dough with milk.
  7. Sift a little extra flour over dough.
  8. Bake in a hot oven for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. Reduce heat to moderate and bake another 20 minutes.
  10. Damper is best eaten the day it is made.

One Response to “Bush Damper”

  1. Short order cook Says:

    Original recipe found at
    Visit for lots of info on Australia.