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Australian Damper Bread

No recipe image available.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.

Recipe Ingredients:

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

Cooking Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.