how to make damper in a camp oven

how to make damper in a camp oven

Looking for a traditional Australian camp oven recipe? Damper is a must-try! This simple bread is perfect for cooking over an open fire.


Damper is a traditional Australian camp oven bread, made using self-raising flour, milk and sometimes with soda water instead of milk. It’s cooked in a camp oven over an open fire and is usually served with butter and golden syrup.

What is Damper?

Damper is a traditional Australian bread that is quick and easy to make, and can be cooked in a camp oven over an open fire. It is made from self-raising flour, milk and butter, and often has raisins or other dried fruit added to it. Damper is cooked in a round, cast-iron camp oven, which has feet so that it can be placed directly on hot coals.

To make damper, you will need:
-1kg self-raising flour
-250g butter
-1 cup milk
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 tsp salt
-2 cups raisins or other dried fruit (optional)

To make the dough, mix together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add enough milk to form a soft dough. If you are adding raisins or other dried fruit, mix them in now.

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Place the dough into a greased and floured camp oven, and bake over hot coals for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Damper is best served warm with butter and honey.

The History of Damper

Damper is a traditional Australian bread that was usually made by drovers, stockmen and swagmen (itinerant workers) when they were out on the road. It was simple to make and didn’t require any special ingredients or equipment – just flour, water and a camp oven.

The most popular legend about the origins of damper says that it was invented by Jacky Jacky, an Aboriginal man from Queensland. According to the story, Jacky Jacky was out hunting with some other Aboriginal men when they came across some white drovers camped near a waterhole. The drovers invited the men to share their evening meal of mutton and damper, and Jacky Jacky was so impressed with the bread that he asked for the recipe. When he got back to his own camp, he made his own version of damper using flour, water and saltbush (an native Australian herb).

Other stories about the origins of damper say that it was invented by convict women in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) in the early 1800s, or that it was developed by European settlers in New South Wales as a way of using up leftover bread dough.

Whatever its origins, damper has become an important part of Australian culture. It’s often eaten with butter or golden syrup, and it can also be served with savory toppings like cheese or bacon.

How to Make Damper in a Camp Oven

Preheat your camp oven on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. You want it to be nice and hot before you start cooking the damper.

Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. This includes the self-rising flour, sugar, and salt.

Slowly add in the milk, a little at a time, until the dough comes together. It shouldn’t be too sticky or too dry.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for a few minutes. Then shape it into a round loaf.

Place the dough into the hot camp oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the damper is golden brown and cooked through.

Damper Recipes

There are many different ways that you can make damper, but the most important thing is to get the right consistency. You want the dough to be light and fluffy, but not too dense.

One of the easiest ways to make damper is to mix self-rising flour and water together in a 1:1 ratio. For every cup of flour, you will need one cup of water. Simply mix the two together until it forms a dough, then knead it for a few minutes to form a ball.

If you want to add some flavor to your damper, you can add things like cheese, bacon, or herbs. Just be sure not to add too much liquid, or it will make the dough too wet and difficult to work with.

Once you have your dough ready, simply place it in a well-oiled camp oven and bake it over hot coals for 30-40 minutes. The damper is done when it is golden brown and cooked through. Serve it hot with butter and honey or jam. Enjoy!

Tips for Making the Perfect Damper

There are many recipes for damper out there, but there are a few key tips that will help you make the perfect damper every time.

One of the most important things to remember when making damper is to not overwork the dough. Mixing it too much will result in a tough final product. The dough should be mixed just until it comes together – no more, no less.

Another key tip is to make sure your camp oven is hot before you put the damper in to bake. Preheat the oven by putting hot coals underneath and on top of it. This will help ensure that your damper cooks evenly and doesn’t stick to the bottom of the oven.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and flavorings. Damper is a versatile dough that can be made sweet or savory, depending on your preference. So go ahead and get creative!


Thank you for reading this guide on how to make damper in a camp oven. I hope you found it helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.

Further Reading

If you want to learn more about damper, check out these books:

  • “Australian Camp Oven Cookbook” by Murraya Netherton
  • “Camp Oven Cookbook” by Jude Mayall
  • “Camp Oven Companion” by Jennie Wright


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