Damper bread on a board with butter

Traditional Australian damper bread


Contributing writer

Australia is a relatively young country, with few traditional dishes of its own. One of those few traditional dishes is damper, a simple wheat-based soda bread.

Early European settlers in Australia explored vast tracts of land, looking for areas suitable for either farming or development. Refrigeration was non-existent and all ingredients had to be carried in their horse’s saddlebags under the hot sun. Damper was born out of the necessity to create a filling meal from simple ingredients that were suitable for these journeys.

Cooked damper bread in a camp oven with the lid leaning against a log

Damper is a simple bread that is made from a combination of flour, salt, water and baking soda (an incredibly useful ingredient). If available, butter was also used to add flavour.

These ingredients are readily available to this day, making damper something that is recreated by many Australians even now. This traditional recipe has been passed down and is now a popular food to enjoy while camping in Australia’s great outdoors.

While it may sound like a simple meal, the way that it is cooked over the campfire is what gives it that unmistakable smoky flavour that you don’t get from regular kitchen cooking.

It can be prepared in an oven, but the tastiest (and most recommended way) is to do it over a campfire. Take a look at the recipe below to find out how to make this delicious treat for yourself.


  • 500g self-raising flour (or regular flour with 1 tbsp baking powder mixed in)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100g softened butter (optional)
  • 200 ml water


  1. 1
    Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. 2
    Add the softened butter (if using) and mix.
  3. 3
    Slowly add the water while continuing to mix. Do not knead, just mix.
  4. 4
    Place the mixture on a foil-covered trivet, then place it into a camp oven (a cast iron pot with a heavy lid).
  5. 5
    Place the lid onto the camp oven, then put the whole thing onto some hot coals and cook for 25-30 minutes. It’s finished if the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
  6. 6
    Cut it up and serve with butter or golden syrup.

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Author - Louis

Louis is an outdoors enthusiast from Australia. He loves camping, hiking and any cooking over a fire.

Last Updated 14 November 2022

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Straddling the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean, Australia has diverse landscapes, a fascinating indigenous culture and uncommon wildlife.