This is not your grandmother's bread. Quick and easy to make Damper is an iconic Australian bread and was a staple of the early Australian settlers' diet.
Damper bread is fantastic with lashings of salted butter such as our French Butter or a gooey triple cream Camembert cheese or a hearty minestrone soup. Whatever you eat with it make sure you have a Williamson wine!
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C)
Grease and flour a thick, oven-proof pot such as a Le Creuset or if you don't have a pot then grease a baking sheet.
In a large bowl stir or sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
With a pastry blender or better still, your hands, cut in butter and rub through with your fingertips.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the milk and water.
Stir until the dough comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a round loaf 8 inches across.
Place the loaf onto the prepared pan and using a sharp knife, cut a cross in the top.
Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and continue to bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. The loaf should be golden brown and the bottom should sound hollow when tapped.
Chef Tommy's Tips:
Damper was originally developed by stockmen (cowboys) who traveled in remote areas for weeks or months at a time, with only basic rations of flour, sugar and tea, supplemented by whatever meat was available. The basic ingredients of damper were flour, water, and sometimes milk. Baking soda could be used for leavening. The damper was normally cooked in the ashes of the camp fire. The ashes were flattened and the damper was placed in there for ten minutes to cook. Following this, the damper was covered with ashes and cooked for another 20 to 30 minutes until the damper sounded hollow when tapped. Alternatively, the damper was cooked in a greased camp oven.