Damper damn it

Damper is Australian bush bread, traditionally associated with swaggies and stockmen who were limited in what groceries they had access to and what they could carry when working away from the homestead or towns for yonks. Damper usually consists of flour, water, salt and sometimes milk, but the modern versions can have sultanas, sugar, cheese and/or herbs added to the mix or anything you have in your pannier.  Damper is traditionally baked in the coals of a fire or placed on a old branch and cooked over the fire. It was usually eaten with dried meat, or with golden syrup or honey dribbled on it (try maple syrup), but always accompanied by a cuppa made in a billy.

Ingredients: Basic Version.

  • self raising flour – 1/3 cup
  • salt – pinch
  • milk powder – teaspoon
  • water – couple of tablespoons
  1. Turn your stove on low and start heating the pot.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients into a bowl and add a tablespoon of water and mix with a knife.  Keep folding the mixture on itself and then add the rest of water but don’t let the mixture get too sticky.
  3. Place a small amount of flour on a clean flat surface and place the dough on it, ensuring that dough has a light coating of flour on the outside and shouldn’t stick to your hands when handled.
  4. Cut a cross into the top of the damper and place it into your pot and cover.  Turning the heat up too much results in damper with a tough bottom and mushy insides.  It’s better to leave it on the lower heat and brown it slowly 25- 35 minutes is usually good.

Notes:

  1. The above recipe uses dry goods to make the damper as they are easy to carry, store and last a long time.
  2. I use a old steamer that has had the folding wings taken off it to keep the damper off the bottom of the pot.
  3. You can add the milk powder to the water before mixing it in, and use a small amount of milk to coat the top of the damper to help it turn golden.
  4. Can be eaten with anything you fancy, vegemite, maple syrup, honey or can be eaten as is.
  5. This version makes a small bread roll size damper.

 

Please Sir, I’d like some more.

Help feed Ed.
 grumpy cat
Recipes for the Loooong Haul.

Well here it is, I’m passing the hat around for any suitable simple recipe ideas for a long cycling tour.

Types of recipes I’m looking for are those that use dehydrated ingredients and/or dry foodstuff (rice, pasta, flour, herbs, curry, milk powder etc) which don’t weigh a ton or excessively bulky, oh and uses water.
Also your recipe will get posted to my recipe page along with any pictures I take when I attempt it.
I have a damper recipe that I have played around with which I think I have sorted now.

What’s in the bag?

If you are planning a bicycle tour and buying your food/meals at shops and such along the way then this post isn’t really for you, but if you are planning on taking your food along on your journey and crossing state lines/borders then you will need to consider quarantine and what restrictions each state places on you and your menu.

Now, I’m planning on going from Western Australia (WA) through South Australia (SA) and ending in Victoria (VIC) and bringing along for the ride most of my food, but I don’t want to get to the first border crossing and find out that any or even the majority of my food cannot continue with me. Sure I could eat it all at the border crossing but that won’t do me any good tomorrow when I’m down the road.  I suppose there’s always road kill.

For Australia, the one stop shop for quarantine matters is Quarantine Domestic which not only covers foodstuffs, but also:

  • plants or plant products
  • animals or animal products
  • soil
  • agricultural machinery and other equipment
  • recreational equipment.

On leaving WA and arriving at the SA border, I can bring dehydrated fruit and vegetables, (dehydrated being the key word) rice, pasta and dried herbs & spices into SA, so far so good that gets me to the Victorian border which upon checking is also OK with what I’m planning on taking. But If I was planning on going in the reverse direction Vic through SA to WA, them, yes I’m ok at the Victorian and SA borders with everything, but at the WA border, they have a different view on home dehydrated and commercial dehydrated foods, also on processed and unmilled rice, whereas VIC and SA just use the one definition.  Might be worth checking if you are planning on taking honey, nuts and potatoes.

Not only will they take away the verboten foodstuff but you could end up with a fine and that won’t be fine and it will put a dent in your touring aspirations and budget.

Below are the information pages I downloaded and converted to PDFs if anyone is interested/planning a bike tour across the bottom of Australia in the near future.

destination-south-australia destination-victoria destination-western-australia

Another dry story

Dehydrating Food.

“Dehydrating or drying is a method of food preservation that works by removing moisture from the food, which in turn limits the growth of bacteria and has been used worldwide since ancient times to preserve food.  Where or when dehydration as a food preservation technique was developed has been lost over time, however the earliest known practice of food drying is 12,000 B.C. by inhabitants of the modern Middle East and Asia areas.”

Today’s attempt with different food types and dehydrating:

Corn: before 33 grams, after 9 grams.

Pineapple: before 142 grams, after 17 grams.

Apple: before 97 grams, after 15 grams.

Mince Steak: before 250 grams, after 55 grams.

Here are the before photos:

Dehydrating food
Pineapple before. 142 grams.
Dehydrating food
Corn before. 33 grams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dehydrating food
Mine meat before. 250 grams.
dehydrating food
Apple before. 97 grams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the results after waiting 10 hours: Mince, pineapple, apple and corn.

dehydrated food
Mince meat after. 55 grams.
dehydrated food
Pineapple after. 17 grams.
dehydrated food
Apple after. 15 grams.
dehydrated food
Corn after. Only 9 grams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dehydrating food is a very good way to reduce bulk and weight of your foodstuffs and prolong its life expectancy, especially handy for a long solo tour away from civilisation.  I’m sure I have many lessons to learn in my attempts to master this art.

For more information on dehydration:

Check out PineMartyn‘s youtube videos on camping and how to dehydrate food.

Two good articles on dehydrating from the Washington Post and the Dry Store