Traditional Australian Damper Recipe

Damper is a classic Australian soda bread traditionally prepared by early settlers and bushmen. It is a simple, rustic bread made from basic ingredients and cooked over an open fire or in the coals of a campfire. This iconic bread is a must-try for anyone wanting to experience authentic Australian cuisine, and it’s perfect for a quick and easy homemade bread option.


  • 3 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional, for a slightly sweet touch)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter (optional, for a richer flavor)


1. Preheat the Oven:

  • Preheat your oven to 200°C (390°F).
  • If you have a cast-iron skillet or a baking tray, lightly grease it or line it with baking paper.

2. Mix the Dry Ingredients:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the self-raising flour, salt, and sugar (if using). Stir well to evenly distribute the ingredients.

3. Add the Wet Ingredients:

  • Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk and water.
  • If using butter, melt it slightly and add it to the mixture.

4. Combine the Ingredients:

  • Using a wooden spoon or your hands, gently mix the ingredients until they just come together to form a dough. Be careful not to over-mix as this can make the damper tough.

5. Shape the Dough:

  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it gently for a few moments to bring it together into a smooth ball.
  • Flatten the ball slightly to form a round loaf about 20 cm (8 inches) in diameter and 3-4 cm (1-1.5 inches) thick.

6. Prepare for Baking:

  • Place the shaped dough onto your prepared cast-iron skillet or baking tray.
  • Using a sharp knife, score the top of the dough with an ‘X’ pattern. This helps the damper to cook evenly and makes it easy to tear apart once baked.

7. Bake the Damper:

  • Place the damper in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  • If you prefer a more traditional method, you can cook the damper in a campfire by placing it in a camp oven (Dutch oven) and covering it with hot coals. This will take about 20-30 minutes, depending on the heat of the coals.

8. Cool and Serve:

  • Remove the damper from the oven and allow it to cool slightly on a wire rack.
  • Serve warm, sliced, or torn into pieces, with butter, jam, golden syrup, or your favorite spread.

Tips for Success:

  • Self-Raising Flour: If you don’t have self-raising flour, you can make your own by combining 3 cups of all-purpose flour with 3 teaspoons of baking powder.
  • Adding Herbs: For a savory twist, add fresh or dried herbs such as rosemary, thyme, or chives to the dry ingredients.
  • Cheese: Adding grated cheese to the dough before baking can provide a delicious cheesy flavor.

Making traditional Australian damper is a wonderful way to bring a taste of the Outback into your kitchen. This simple, no-fuss bread is perfect for pairing with a variety of toppings and spreads. Whether you bake it in your oven or try the more adventurous campfire method, you’ll find that damper is a versatile and satisfying bread that’s sure to become a favorite in your home. Enjoy the simplicity and rustic charm of this classic Australian staple!

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