(Australian Bush Bread)

January 26: Australia Day

We have not had the opportunity to travel to the Land Down Under. But we have friends from there, although they live in New Jersey, where we met when we lived there for a while, too. Gary and Girlie B. even got married on Australia Day! Their wedding reception concluded with fireworks over Sydney’s Opera House (we saw their lovely photo album).

We still visit with each other occasionally and they give us nice Aussie souvenirs, such as the aboriginal cloth featured in our food photo above with a bush bread called “damper”. It is very rustic and simple, traditionally baked with coals in a campfire or oven by drovers, stockmen and swagmen who had bare basic provisions of food supplies in the outback. But damper is delicious hot out of the oven, with its crustry bits and crumbs, and smothered with a little butter or jam, although it is traditional to eat it with golden syrup.

For a quick way to celebrate Australia Day, bake a quick bread from the bush—a delightful damper!


(Adapted from Australia’s Best Recipes)


  • 3 cups self rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted (see Notes)
  • 2/3+ cup milk (water is traditional)


In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Melt the butter in the microwave and pour over the flour mixture.

Stir in the milk, adding a little more if the dough is too dry and crumbling. Mix until it sticks together. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a round ball. Avoid overworking the dough as it will get too tough. Flatten into a 7-8 inch disk (or leave as a mound shape).

Brush the top with a little extra milk to brown the top when baking. Score some deep lines (and “X” or 8 wedge marks) on the top. Place  on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, or until the bread makes a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Slice into wedges and serve. Eat warm with butter, jam, golden syrup or honey.


  • Some recipes suggest cutting up cold butter pieces and mixing cutting it into the dough with a pastry blender.
  • Feel free to sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the damper or experiment with different spices and flavorings in the dough.
  • Damper does not last for more than a day and is best eaten fresh as it hardens the following day.
  • Search for other bread and Australian recipes in our blog.