Australian Damper Bread
The original damper bread was a heavy, unleavened loaf baked in campfire ashes. Today's damper, while still simple and rustic, is civilized enough for indoor consumption. Yeast lightens the bread and adds a tangy flavor; baking powder gives it the texture of an airy biscuit.
1 (.25-ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 110°F / 45°C)
1 cup milk, scalded and cooled to about 110°F | 45°C
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- In a small bowl, combine yeast and warm water; let stand until yeast is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in milk; set aside to proof.
- In a large bowl, mix 3 cups flour, baking powder and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs (or rub butter into flour mixture with your fingers). Add yeast mixture and stir until dough is evenly moistened.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking.
- Shape dough into a round, lumpy loaf 5 to 6-inches in diameter. Dust lightly with flour, then place in a greased 8-inch round cake pan. With a very sharp knife, cut an "X" about 1/2-inch deep and 3-inches long in center of loaf.
- Bake on lowest rack of a 375°F (190°C) oven for about 55 minutes or until well-browned. Turn out onto a wire rack and let cool briefly. Serve warm.
Makes 1 loaf or about 10 servings.