Probably the most widely recognized bush tucker recipe is damper, a simple type of bread made of water and flour. Although the Aborigines originally baked this bread, it was the Europeans that gave it the name damper. Originally made with flour, salt, and water, it was baked in the hot coals of an open campfire. During colonial times it was a staple food in the bush because stockmen and drovers in remote areas could easily carry the dry ingredients. They needed to add only water to make the damper, and often served it with tea made in a cylindrical billy or billycan, a lightweight hanging pot with a close-fitting lid.
Bush tucker: wattleseed
Recipe source: adapted from australianflavour.net
Serves: 4 or 24 tastes
· Bowls – large
· Measures – cup, ½ cup, tablespoon, ½ teaspoon
· Sifter or sieve
· Table knife
· Oven tray
· Sharp knife
· Pastry brush
· Chopping board and knife
· Serving plates
What to do:
- Preheat oven to 200°C.
- Measure the milk and water into a small saucepan and set to heat on low. Weigh out the ground wattleseed and then add in to the milk. Bring to a simmer and then turn off the heat, then leave for 10 minutes to infuse.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, then rub in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
- Make a well in the centre, add the combined milk and water and mix lightly with a knife until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl.
- Gently knead on a lightly floured surface and then shape into a round, put on a greased oven tray. Pat into a round 15-16cm diameter.
- With sharp knife, cut two slits across dough like a cross, approximately 1cm deep.
- Brush top of dough with milk. Sift a little extra flour over dough.
- Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Reduce heat to 170°C. and bake another 20 minutes.
- Using oven mitts, carefully slide the damper out of the oven and check that it is done: if you knock the loaf it should sound hollow inside – or you can poke a fork into the centre and see if it’s clean when pulled out.
- We divided our loaf into 4 and served each quarter whole, for each table to pull apart their own piece.
Notes: How would you adapt the recipe if you had no access to refrigeration?