“Have you heard of Damper? It’s an Australian bread that’s made using few ingredients and cooked in a campfire. Stockmen and drovers would make it using their basic camping rations.” from Alex in SurvivalCommonSense.com Comments
by Leon Pantenburg
Actually, I had not heard of Damper, but I never need much excuse to experiment with survival foods, and asked Alex for a recipe.
“Leon, I think there are as many Damper recipes as there are cooks, and nobody agrees on what the real one is,” Alex replied. ” The basic recipe uses flour, baking powder, salt and milk, and is cooked in a campfire (either in a pot, or wrapped in foil, or suspended on a stick, or straight on the coals). It’s usually served with jam or honey or something similar.
“My great uncle was a drover, and he used to make it for us when he visited. We never could get his recipe straight – whenever we asked, he’d just grab handfuls of ingredients and say: ‘You just add a bit of this and a bit of that…’ His came out perfect every time. Ours didn’t.”
Every prepper, survivalist or emergency preparedness enthusiast should have a variety of these simple, tasty recipes as part of their survival kit! Food is a basic survival requirement, but sometimes, even hunger can’t overcome monotony. Eat the same thing, day after day, and some people might just quit eating.
So survival cooking, of necessity, must be simple and tasty! It makes sense that every region has an emergency-type ration based on simple ingredients such as flour or meal.
Bannock, that staple among trappers and traders in the Northwest in the early to late 1800s, probably originated in Scotland. “Ramrod rolls” were common in the Confederate Army because of a lack of options. In this recipe, a cornmeal dough was wrapped around a stick or ramrod, and toasted over a campfire.
Fry bread became a favorite among some Native
American tribes after they were forced onto reservations and issued flour and salt for rations. Hardtack was a standard American military ration for over 200 years.
Since Australia was colonized by Great Britain, I’d guess Damper is a variation of a popular English bread.
Regardless, Damper is easy to make, and don’t over-think it! In any of the following recipes, mix the dry ingredients together, add the milk or water and form a smooth dough. Don’t knead too much. Then, either make biscuits or a larger loaf, and bake it however you want to. It look really cool (and is a great kids’ activity in camp) when the dough is rolled around a stick and toasted over a campfire. Put peanut butter in the hole, and you have a delicious, warm sandwich.
Another recommended idea is to amend the flour with one tablespoon of soy flour; one tablespoon of dried milk and one teaspoon of wheat germ per cup of white flour. This combination makes a complete protein of the flour, and turbocharges the nutritional value of the bread.
Here are a few Damper recipes that could work well in your survival kit:
2 c self-rising flour (If you don’t have self-rising, add 1-1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt to every cup of regular or
2 tsp baking powder
Mix dry ingredients together first, then add water to make a soft dough. Knead until the dough sticks together, but not too long or the Damper will get tough. In a conventional oven bake at about 375 degrees about 20 minutes, or until the edges start to brown.
2 c self-rising flour
1/2 tsp salt
1-1-1/2 c milk
2 tsp butter
2 tsp sugar
Follow standard cooking directions.
- 4 c self-rising flour
- 1 1/2 c water
- a pinch of salt
- 2 Tbs butter
- 1 tsp chives
- 1 tsp crisp bacon, crumbled
- 1 small onion
Rub the butter into the flour. Add salt. When it looks like crumbs, add water and the rest of the ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon until it is a sticky dough. Turn out on to a floured board and mold into a round. Place in a well-greased cake tin and cut across to make 8 or 10 servings. Bake (at 35 degrees) for 20 minutes or it sounds hollow when you tap on it. Turn out and serve hot with butter. (Recipe courtesy of About.com. camping.)