Maggie Cooper's rosemary damper recipe.
Maggie Cooper's rosemary damper recipe. 123rf

An easy bread to bake in the campfire or at home

Australia Day calls for some traditional food offerings, and they don't come more traditional than damper.

This easy bread usually has only four ingredients and was a favourite for drovers and swaggies.

Versions of damper exist worldwide; in Ireland, for example, it's called soda bread. Those on the move usually cooked damper in the coals of a campfire or, if one was available, in a greased camp oven. It was easy to carry the ingredients and, as we all know, there's nothing better than hot, freshly baked bread.

You don't need to build a fire to cook damper; a hot oven will do the trick, although it will lack the authentic taste (and occasional grittiness) of wood ash.

Golden syrup is the accompaniment of choice; however, I have added chopped fresh rosemary leaves to this recipe for an aromatic savoury version. Just a smear of unsalted butter would be perfect.

ROSEMARY DAMPER

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

250g self-raising flour, plus a little extra

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

25g chilled unsalted butter, cubed

175ml milk, plus a little extra

METHOD

Preheat oven to 190C. Combine flour, salt and rosemary in a large bowl. Add cubed butter and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and stir in milk with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. It shouldn't be sticky; add a little more flour if it is. Turn out on to a floured work surface and knead gently until smooth.

Form into a ball. Place on a lightly greased and floured baking tray and flatten gently; cut into sections partway through and brush with a little milk. Bake until golden and it sounds hollow when rapped with a knuckle. Serve warm with extra butter.

maggies.column@bigpond.com



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