Relive the Romance of the Outback with Damper Bread

 

The Moonshiner, The Man from Outback and Home at Sundown are just some of the books Lucy Walker wrote about life and romance in the Outback. Of course damper , Australian soda bread, was baked in the coals by hunky Australian stockmen. An iconic Australian dish, it is a great idea for outdoor picnics, and where it used to be eaten with some dried or cooked meat, these days it can have other ingredients added in and eaten with honey, syrup or jam.  Aboriginal women traditionally baked this ‘bush bread’ with grains and nuts they were familiar with, and today damper bread is even available in bakeries in Australia.

making famous Australian Bush Bread

If you don’t want to buy damper bread, next time you have a barbecue, allow the kids to make their own damper, add it onto a stick and allow them to cook or bake it over the fire. All it requires is a cup of self-raising flour, a tablespoon of butter, a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of sugar, a tablespoon of butter and a cup of milk. You simply rub the butter with the flour until nice and crumbly, mix the salt, sugar and milk till it forms a dough. Allow the kids to make a snake shape and wrap it around a nice clean stick. Delicious eat with cheese or jam.

Simit…Yummy…

 

Turkish 'snack' bread sold all over Turkey, bread rolls covered in sesame seeds

Simit

A fair few years ago I had a wonderful time visiting Turkey. I spent time in Istanbul then to Ankara followed by a visit to the captivating and very unusual area of Cappadocia. If you even get the chance go and visit. The Lonely Planet describes it better than I can. The history and the culture is a mixture of east and west, exotic yet sophisticated. Everywhere you go you will find a spot that feels like it has never changed. The food there is wonderful, and needs a whole blog to itself but I want to mention the bread here. Fresh bread is readily available throughout the day and a Turk would not sit down to a meal without bread, it is definitely the Turkish stable along with tea (or chai as they call it). It seems that at every street corner appears to have simit sellers. These circular bread rings covered in sesame seeds are delicious. Eaten on their own or with cheese, jam or honey they make a perfect breakfast accompaniment. A Turkish breakfast is a treat in itself. Tulum cheese, Feta cheese, olives, honey, jams, cucumber and tomatoes are just some of the delicious foods you will find on a Turkish breakfast table.  On one occasion travelling through the mountains we stopped for breakfast and a veritable feast came out.  I remember breaking open a warm simit and spreading it with butter, except it turned out to be Turkish cream, kaymak, so thick you cut with a knife and spreads like butter, not sweet but certainly not I was use to on bread. I looked at a few recipes for simits but felt this one was the best. My first attempt turned out a bit of an odd ring more oval really but I am getting better with practice.

Simit seller can be found wandering the streets of any Turkish Town but try finding the actual bakery for one fresh from the oven!!

Simit seller

Making Bread quickly

Bread requires long time with fermentation with yeast and baking. The techniques of baking different kinds of breads are unique to the type. There are certain types which can be made quickly.

Bread

  • Buttermilk biscuits – Knead the dough only for 5 minutes. Add buttermilk instead of water to quicken the process of baking. Fold the dough and bake in the oven. Quick snacks are ready and they are tender and yummy.
  • Lemon Muffins – Add lemon to the dough and egg. The olive oil will make it soft and tangy. For the full recipe you can read this article.
  • Peanut Butter and Banana Bread – This is quick to make and tasty to eat. Peanut butter is put in the dough with banana. Together they make the bread soft and tasty.
  • Scones – Less sugar and more egg helps to make these sweeties. They are not very sweet and you can have it even if you have diabetes. A sprinkle of dry fruits increases the fibre content.
  • Zucchini-Pineapple Quick Bread – Using pineapple as a flavour and mixing with warm cinnamon makes this tasty bread. Quick to make and nice to eat.
  • Pumpkin Bread – This bread tastes best with morning coffee or tea. Light flavour with aroma of fresh pumpkin, this is vintage stuff – right out of grandma’s recipe.
  • Coconut Bread – This is a special one. The coconut milk used to knead the dough makes it soft and I have never had softer bread. I love to make this for friends.

Bread making is a nice hobby and I will follow up with something new next time. It will most probably be the sandwitches.

Rosemary and Olive Oil Focaccia

As you already know, I’ve been obsessed with baking for a while now. When looking for something edgy but comforting to bake, I came across a recipe for making rosemary and olive oil focaccia. Now, I’ve never been a huge fan of focaccia but I am a huge fan of rosemary and this recipe just seems so darn interesting, I knew I had to try my hand at it.

Rosemary Focaccia

Now, this was my first try, so it did not turn out as amazingly as I thought it would, but it turned out well enough for me to know that I will try baking this bread again. I added slightly more salt than suggested, but the bread still turned out quite good. In a moment of inspiration, I added a dash of garlic when I was baking. I found the combination of rosemary and garlic to be incredibly interesting- they complement each other in a way I had not particularly paid attention to before.

Next time I make this bread, I think I’m going to experiment some more. I have found some recipes for rosemary focaccia with red onions that I am certainly interested in trying. What kind of focaccias do you like baking?

Aussie damper bread

So I was getting into the mood of cooking and wanted to look up some good bread made right here in Australia. I gotta tell you there is a few recipes that looked really good and I think I’m going to do some baking in the next couple days to see which one of the damper bread recipes I liked the most. Here’s the recipe I’m going to be trying this week:

Ingredients

To serve

So hopefully I can get this right as I’ve had a few problems in the past with baking.. I’m not the greatest with cooking at all. But being here in Australia this is a bread that is quite common and well known all over. It’s soft like other breads you find in Europe and Turkey. I’ve tried some while I was in Europe and Turkey and they are quite similar to this Australian bread recipe but sometimes damper bread has a tough crust if you leave it out too long in open air. It’s best to eat it soon after being made or cover it up. Happy Eating!

Damper bread from Australia