These days ‘fire’ is a bit of a four letter word when it comes to the wilderness. Not only does it leave unsightly scars around campsites and destroy potential homes for innocent critters but, in these carbon-counting days, letting all that carbon-dioxide waft into the atmosphere for no good reason is positively sinful.
However, sometimes even the most light-footed tramper feels the need to get back to their inner caveman with a good old fashioned conflagration – it’s okay we understand. When things are going a bit pear-shaped, there’s nothing like a fire to lift your spirits. But if you must have a fire, at least make good use of it to cook something tasty, like this damper.
Volume: 2 L
Cooking time: 60min
Fuel: One medium sized campfire.
- Don’t forget the matches!
- 6 cups of flour
- 2 cups water (approximate)
- 2 tablespoons baking soda (or use self raising flour)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon yeast (traditionally this’d be a warm homebrewed beer)
Mix the flour, baking soda (if you’re not using self raising flour), salt, olive oil, yeast and enough of the water to make a firm dough, don’t worry if it’s a bit lumpy. Shape it into a ball and leave to rest for 15 minutes or so.
Sprinkle a bit of flour out on a clean flat surface (if you’re not in a hut, the rear deck of a friend’s kayak will do nicely!) and knead the dough really thoroughly; flatten it then roll it into a ball and repeat until your forearms are burning. Lastly, flatten it out into a flat disc about 3-4cm thick.
The old-school way of cooking it is to pop it straight into the ashes of last night’s campfire… but if you’re not that keen on eating ash (or if it’s going into a hut stove that’s been burning coal), you can wrap it in aluminium foil. Cook it for about half an hour or until it sounds hollow when tapped. Serve while it’s still warm with a cup of tea and a bit of blackberry jam.