How to Make Australian Traditional Damper Recipe?

Many people might not know about this Australian bread called Damper. It is a bread made initially by Australian settlers on the continent. While some also believe that this is the same bread as the Aboriginal bush bread that has existed since 3000 years ago.

And how to make the traditional damper recipe? This Australian damper bread is lightly kneaded and traditionally cooked in hot coals of fire but can also be cooked in an oven or over a campfire. The composition of the bread is plain flour and water, with some butter if available.

traditional damper recipe

This blog post will provide the background, what makes it unique, and instructions on how to make this delicious traditional dish in the traditional ways.

Ingredients for Australian Traditional Damper Recipe

Traditional Damper Recipe Plain Flour

This Aussie damper bread is bread made from wheat-based dough. The composition is plain flour and water, with some butter, if available.

How to Make a Damper with Plain Flour and Water?

You can make the bread with plain flour and water, and it’s quite easy! It was a very simple, no-frills kind of bread – just flour, water, and sometimes salt – but it was filling, nutritious, and perfect for cowboys who were always on the go. 

To make yours at home, you only need 1 cup of plain flour, 1/2 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of baking powder (optional), and a pinch of salt (optional).

Just mix everything until it forms a dough.

It is then lightly kneaded to make this bread that can be baked in the coals of a campfire or camp oven.

The bread can be leavened with baking soda or beer for a more enriched flavor.

How to Make Damper Australian Traditional Recipe Step by Step?

Traditional Damper and Butter. Credit: canva

These recipes are basic traditional damper recipes. There are also other types, such as sweet or tasty ones. 

Easy Damper Recipe – Traditional Campfire  


  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pinch salt


  1. Rub together the butter and flour until it is all crumbly.
  2. Add the salt, sugar, and a little milk to the mixture until it forms a sticky dough.
  3. Divide the dough into two pieces, and roll them into a long snake shape. Wrap the dough around a clean, dry stick.
  4. Hold over the campfire or hot coals to cook.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

Easy Damper Recipe Oven – Traditional Basic


  • 250 g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 25g butter, chilled and cubed
  • 175 ml milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Use a large bowl and combine the flour and a pinch of salt with your fingers. Rub in the butter until it becomes fine crumbs.
  3. Start by adding the water to the flour and stirring it with a butter knife or sharp knife in a cutting motion. Add 1-2 tablespoons of extra water if necessary. Use your hands to bring the mixture together.
  4. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and shape the dough into a soft, smooth ball.
  5. Roll the dough into a ball and flatten it until it is about 17cm in diameter, or make mini dampers. Cut deep moats across the dough, then brush with milk.
  6. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the damper is golden brown and makes a hollow sound when tapped on the base. 
  7. Serve and enjoy.

Traditional Aboriginal Bush Bread Recipe (Damper Aboriginal Recipe)

damper camp oven
A damper in Camp Oven on Coals. Credit: canva


  • 4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1⁄2 cups milk
  • butter for greasing the pan
  • extra flour


  • Put the flour and salt in a bowl, and create a well from the center.
  • Pour in the milk and mix.
  • Coat the camp oven or round baking sheet with cooking oil and dust it generously with flour.
  • Place prepared dough in the camp oven or cast iron pot and make a cross shape slash on the top.
  • Carefully close the lid of your camp oven and cook in hot ashes from your campfire for 30 minutes. Alternatively, bake at 220° C (425˚F) in an ordinary kitchen oven for 30 minutes.

What is Damper?

What is a Damper in Australia?

It is a cherished Australian staple, with roots that stretch back to the earliest settlers. This beloved soda bread is a staple food for many of the continent’s travelers, such as swagmen, stockmen, and drovers. It remains an iconic dish among Australians today!

Is Damper Aboriginal?

Some believe it is the same as Aboriginal bush bread, a 3,000-year-old recipe that crushes various native seeds and roots mixed with dough. Others think it’s very different from bush bread.

Are you achieving simplicity? Savor freshly-made bread with butter and honey for the most delightful taste.

Aboriginal Damper History

How to Make Australian Traditional Damper Recipe?
Traditional Aboriginal Damper. Credit: canva

It is traditional Australian bread. Stockmen in remote areas used it as sustenance when they traveled for long periods and had limited access to food, like flour, sugar, and tea.

It is made with flour, water, and sometimes milk. It can be leavened with baking soda or beer for a more enriched flavor.

The traditional bread is traditionally cooked by flattening the ashes on the fire and wrapping it around a stick. It is then covered with ash and cooked until it sounds hollow when tapped.

These “bush scones” are called Johnny Cakes with smaller pieces of bread. It is uncertain if the term for North American cornmeal bread influenced this name. However, Australian Johnnies, while often pan-fried, remain wheat-based.

Damper Serving Suggestions

Cheddar and Chive Beer Damper Bread. Credit: canva

If you want to go tradition, serve the bread with either a bit of dried meat or some golden syrup. However, it also tastes great served alone. A delicious chicken casserole can be enjoyed with Belgian chicken soup on the side.

Are you achieving simplicity? Savor freshly-made bread with butter and honey for the most delightful taste.


What do you serve damper with?

It is typically eaten with dried or grilled meat. It could also serve warm and spread with golden syrup as a dessert.

How do you know when the damper is cooked?

Lightly coat the top of the bread with flour, then bake it in an oven for 30 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. To determine if your loaf is done baking, tap a small indention at its base and break it open. If you hear air escaping from within, your bread is good to go! Allow the bread to cool slightly before slicing it into thick pieces and serving.

Why do Aboriginals make damper?

Aborigines have long enjoyed the nourishing benefits of traditional bread or bush bread. This hearty seedcake is full of proteins and carbohydrates – essential for a balanced diet.

Why is it called a damper?

In 1817, historian James Bonwick referred to a First Fleeter named William Bond, who had a bakery in Pitt Street and claimed the first bread he made was damper. According to Bonwick, the name was derived from Bond’s “damping” or smothering his fire with ashes.

How do you eat bread damper?

Whether you enjoy it as a breakfast accompaniment or an afternoon snack, this herb and cheese damper pairs perfectly with your favorite cup of tea. Serve it up alongside some soup for a heartier meal!

How long does damper dough last?

Store the dough in your refrigerator, but aim to use it within two days. Storing for longer than that might be risky and affect its quality.

This is the best way to keep your dough in the refrigerator. After kneading, please place it in a large oiled mixing bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Place this away from cold air sources like refrigerators or freezers on the kitchen counter.

See also: Barbecued Snags Australia: What You Need to Know.

Related Questions

What types of food did Aboriginals eat?

Aboriginal people ate a wide variety of plants, including fruits, nuts, roots, vegetables, grasses, and seeds, as well as different animals such as kangaroos, porcupines, emus, possums, goannas, turtles, shellfish, and fish.

What is an Australian billy?

An Australian billy is a long-handled tool used by Aboriginal men to gather firewood. It consists of a wooden handle with a metal head at one end and a hook or spike on the other.

The billy was traditionally made from wood cut down in the bush.

What is the Aboriginal food of Australia commonly called?

The Aboriginal name for this type of food is “bush tucker” (also known as “bush food”). This term refers to all foods gathered from the wild, including fruit, berries, tubers, leaves, flowers, insects, birds, reptiles, mammals, and even small fish.

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