Damper is a reliable and easy food companion when camping in outback Australia. For a delicious twist, learn how to make our version of Blueberry Damper.
Coal-fired sweet blueberry and raspberry jam damper bread, anyone?
You cannot go on a 10 month road trip around Australia (like we did) without learning how to make damper; it’s an iconic Australian dish!
If you aren’t already familiar with damper, it is a traditional Australian soda bread that was historically prepared by stockmen, swagmen, drovers and other travellers. A wheat flour based bread, it is traditionally baked in the coals of a campfire or in a camp oven and requires very little ingredients.
Originally, all you needed was plain flour, salt and water (with milk and butter being a bonus if you had it on you) to make basic damper. So you can see how this traditional recipe was very popular back in the day of Australia’s early colonisation, as ingredients were cheap and easy to carry while walking.
Fast-forward to now, and the once simple traditional damper recipe has evolved to become more exciting and varied in ingredients with your choice between making damper savoury or sweet. So don’t stress while making it – this is so easy to make and you can have fun being experimental with it!
Making Blueberry Damper for the First Time!
After trying our hand at damper bread making for the first time with something savoury (it was Garlic and Parmeson Damper Rolls) at a previous camp spot, Adam and I were keen on creating something much sweeter this time round to hit that spot just right. 😉
Feeling like something fruity, I found this salivating “Blueberry Ripple Damper” recipe on SBS Food which caught my eye. At the time, we were driving along Outback Queensland’s famous “Dinosaur Trail” and so the next town we stopped in, we bought some fresh blueberries (clearly the most essential ingredient!) as well as topped up on essential supplies.
It was when we were camping outside of Hughendon in the bush (near a railway) that we decided to cook up this Blueberry Damper – but the ‘Dirty Drifters’ version of it. Because remember, damper is very flexible to make – so long as the foundation of ingredients is there (flour, water) then everything else is entirely customisable and up to you!
Scroll down to see our ingredients list and photos of our progress making blueberry damper bread.
As previously mentioned, our version of Blueberry Damper is inspired by Anneka Manning’s recipe found on SBS Food.
We altered Anneka’s receipe to suit our requirements. For example, we did not have vanilla essence or the extra white flour on standby, and instead of Demarara sugar, we used raw single sugar sachets as an alternative. Personally, after tasting the result – we don’t even think you need vanilla essence or the extra white flour (but each to their own!).
Blueberries are an obvious must-have ingredient needed to create Blueberry Ripple Damper! Thankfully, we did a little grocery stock up well before we found ourselves camping in the bush, just out of Hughenden in Outback Queensland (this was along the famous Dinosaur Trail!).
Jam flavours in this recipe are completely customisable! We used Blackcurrent Jam (which was previously bought from Margaret River’s Berry Farm in Western Australia) that needed using up, as well Raspberry Jam, which we bought from Beerenberg Farm in Hahndorf, South Australia. These two jam flavours worked out great for our Blueberry Ripple Damper but why not have some fun choosing your own!
We also added Ginger Nut Biscuits into our version to add a bit of tasty ”zing” and crunch. We loved the result but again, this ingredient is completely optional (and entirely customisable!).
As a result, our Dirty Drifters Blueberry Damper is even simpler, very easy and with a still delicious result!
Blueberry Damper Ingredients List
- 100 grams – Fresh or frozen blueberries.
- 85 grams (¼ cup) – Blueberry or mixed berry jam. (Our Version: we used Raspberry Jam and Blackcurrent Jam).
- 450 grams (3 cups) – Self-raising wholemeal flour
- 100 grams – Butter, diced, softened slightly.
- 250 ml (1 cup) – Milk, plus extra, to brush on top of damper.
- 2 Tablespoons – Demarara sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra for sprinkling* (Our Version: we used raw single sugar sachets)
- 100 grams – Butter, diced, softened slightly.
- Extra butter to serve.
- Ginger Nut Biscuits** – Optional.
INSTRUCTIONS & PHOTO PROGRESS
Put the self-raising flour and butter into a large bowl (we used our cast iron pot – because we did not have a large bowl) and with your palms facing upwards,
Use your fingertips to rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs and the butter is evenly incorporated. Stir in the 2 tablespoons of sugar (we used our single sugar sachets).
At this point we spontaneously added Ginger Nut Biscuits into the mixture, because why not! Then we made a ‘well’ in the centre.
Now add the milk to the flour mixture and mix it all in with your hands until the dough comes together in clumps.
Use lightly floured hands to bring the dough together — it will be soft, but not sticky.
Place on a lightly floured surface and knead lightly and briefly (only about 6 times) to create two smooth balls.
Pat each ball into an 18 cm round, .5-2cm thick portion. They should be near equal in size, but it does not have to be perfect.
Place one round on a lined tray (or in our case, a cast iron pot!) and spread with the blueberries and your chosen jam mixture, leaving a 2 cm boarder around the outside edge.
Brush the edge with a little extra milk and then top with the remaining round, pressing around the edges to seal.
Use a floured sharp knife to score the round into 8 wedges, cutting about 1 cm deep, leaving it as a round (or in our case, we just did a big X – see below photo).
Lightly brush the top with a little extra milk, then sprinkle with the extra sugar.
Now, on the SBS Food version it says to bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until the damper is lightly golden and cooked through.
But while bush camping in outback Australia, an oven will not be on standby. So we cooked ours in a cast iron pot on hot coals (authentic method!) for nearly 40 minutes, checking on it regularly because coals can be deceivingly very hot!
When the damper is ready it will make a hollow sound when you tap it. It should be a slightly golden colour and well cooked through.
Stand for 10 minutes before serving warm or cool to room temperature (or in our case, just whatever outside weather conditions you are camping in – haha!).
Serve with extra butter or your choice of spreads. Or hey, why not ice-cream?
Blueberry Damper under the Milky Way Galaxy
Adam and I had alot of fun making Blueberry Damper together. We put on some music and shared a bottle of red wine while creating our version of this famous Australian dish.
We were both happy and very relieved with the end result – which looked like a cake/bread hybrid! The Blueberry Damper was crunchy on the outside and very soft, melt-in-your-mouth on the inside. The Gingernut biscuits also added an exciting and welcoming taste to the palette.
Nothing beats making your own damper bread by the campfire under the Milky Way Galaxy, that’s for sure!
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