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In colonial Australia, stockmen developed the technique of making damper out of necessity. Often away from home for weeks, with just a camp fire to cook on and only sacks of flour as provisions, a basic staple bread evolved. It was originally made with flour and water and a good pinch of salt, kneaded, shaped into a round, and baked in the ashes of the campfire or open fireplace.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.
This is another popular aussie food, great to be served with rich stews that have thick gravy. Easy to make, and really good fare served with real butter. Today it 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
- Sift flour and salt into a bowl, rub in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
- Make a well in the centre, add the combined milk and water, mix lightly with a knife until dough leaves sides of bowl.
- Gently knead on a lightly floured surface and then shape into a round, put on a greased oven tray. Pat into a round 15–16 cm (6-6 1/2 inch) diameter.
- With sharp knife, cut two slits across dough like a cross, approximately 1 cm (1/2in) deep.
- Brush top of dough with milk.
- Sift a little extra flour over dough.
- Bake in a hot oven for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Reduce heat to moderate and bake another 20 minutes.
- This also can be made in the coals of a campfire in a camp oven greased with butter, cook for about 15 minutes.
- Best eaten the day it is made.