Australian Camping Recipes – Damper

camping recipes on the fire how do you make damper

Camp cooking on a fire is a great way to experience the outdoors, and usually combines lounging by a warm fire with a glass of something in your hand! There are lots of traditional camping recipes that can be cooked in a camp oven and are easy. Of course camp cooking in Australia wouldn’t be the same without damper.

Whether or not you’ve been camping before or even tasted damper, everyone probably has some romantic idea of cooking damper around the camp fire with friends and family.

Cooking & Camping With Kids

Damper is so easy to cook. Once you know how, it’s likely to become a camping staple. It’s also a great way to get children involved in cooking when camping with kids.

Damper is a quick and easy recipe that kids will love. It can be made sweet or savoury and tastes great with butter, jam, honey, nut butters, vegemite or even hummus! Children also learn about fire safety when they cook.

Origins of Damper

The origins of damper date to early colonial times and was cooked by swagmen under coals as a quick and filling alternative to bread. The origin of the name may derive from ‘damping’ the coals overnight and cooking the damper underneath, or from its connection with the term to ‘damper’ the appetite.

Damper Camping Recipes & Ingredients

Damper is a simple unleavened bread. The basic recipe for damper is flour, water and salt. But experimenting with your own recipes by adding other ingredients to make a sweet or savoury damper is half the fun.

Here’s a basic camping recipe:

  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • pinch salt
  • water

Beer Damper

By adding beer to damper, the bread is a little more like a sourdough damper.

  • 3 cups self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups of beer

How Do You Make Damper?

  1. Mix the flour and bicarb and salt.
  2. Rub the butter through the mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the beer (for a beer damper).
  4. Mix or knead the dough. There is some disagreement over whether damper should be kneaded or not. Some people insist it must. Others say it is important not to knead.
  5. If the dough is too dry, add milk (or coconut milk for a sweet damper recipe)
  6. Place the damper in a greased camp oven and place under hot coals (never in the fire). Let the damper cook for anywhere between 20 to 35 minutes until it comes out crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

Tips to Cooking Damper

  • First build a fire The key to a good damper is lots of hot coals underneath and piled on top of your camp oven.
  • Don’t put your damper in the fire. It will burn.
  • To get your damper crisp on the outside it is suggested to leave a small gap under the lid of the camp oven to let steam escape.
  • Tap the damper to determine whether it is ready. If it sounds hollow, its ready to eat!
  • Damper goes stale quickly, so it is preferable eaten on the day it is made. It’s so easy to make, however, you can quickly make it every day.

Sweet & Savoury Damper Recipes

For a sweet damper recipe add one or more of the following:

  • coconut milk
  • chocolate chips
  • sultanas
  • chopped dates
  • nuts
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg

For a savoury damper add one or more of following and make your own Aussie-Italian pizza damper:

  • cheese
  • olives
  • capsicum
  • sundried tomatoes
  • salami

What’s your favourite damper recipe? Do you have any favourite camping recipes that are easy to make, tasty or kids can make?