Bonfire bread (dampers)

campfire bread, damper

Have you got your pumpkins? Are they sitting on the side, slowly melting (like mine)? Or have you got busy with the scalpel and created your own personal work of art? I have indulged in some Halloween crackers and as Lucy mentioned here, we’re going to hers on the actual night, for a spot of Tiny Tears mutilation, the 6yo even has a calendar countdown he made in his bedroom which he crosses off each night (with a crucifix). So we’re all set for October 31st. 
How about Bonfire night though, got any plans? I worry Bonfire night is being forgotten in a swamp of orange plastic, and that makes me sad. I want my children to indulge in the numb feet, frozen fingers and acrid burning smell of dynamite that coloured my youth. Admittedly I’m not sure anyone mourns the loss of the misshapen Guys which used to litter the high street, and the angular, pale youths who used to demand a penny for them. 
But there’s something about fire in autumn that shouldn’t be missed. Last year we had a bonfire party at the allotment, and despite it not quite living up to my Pinterest-inspired ideals, I loved it. I discovered mulled amaretto, we burnt a chair, we saw fireworks from a distance – perfection. This year I’m not sure what we’re doing, but whatever it is, it’s going to include fire and these – dampers. 
What are dampers, I hear you ask (I have supersonic hearing)? I had no idea until a friend told me about them. She feels that marshmallows aren’t quite enough bang for your buck – they melt too quickly, plop into the fire, and they are yet more sugary stuff for your kids. Dampers, on the other hand, are a basic mix of flour and milk, which can be made by the kids at home. Once at the fire, they can roll the dough into snakes and swirl around a bamboo stick and hold over the fire until toasted. They are surprisingly tasty and give the kids something to do which doesn’t involve sugar or dynamite. Result. Check out our video with the kids making their own (in sunny October while we were staying a gorgeous shepherds hut in Sussex), it was idyllic.
I can’t pretend to have perfected the cooking method yet, as ours were a bit charred in places – we cheated in the photo above and did them on the hob (sorry! but at least we’re honest!). I think ideally we’d tie the bamboo skewer onto a stick so little hands would stay further away from the flames. Have you ever made them? Any top tips? Do let us know. xx
Dampers
Makes: 10
Start to finish: 5 minutes to make, 10 to toast
150g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp sugar
Half a cup of milk
To serve: cinnamon sugar
Add the salt and sugar to the flour. Add the milk to form a soft dough. Knead on a floured surface until pliable. Divide the mixture into 10 balls, roll each into a long, fat sausage, then coil around a bamboo stick and toast over the fire. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over and serve.
Make sure you soak your bamboo sticks in water for around 30 mins to stop them catching fire. 

4 Comments

  1. Hello, love your blog and recipes and thought I’d join the “damper debate”! We make them at Cubs and use the cheap bread packet mixes as they have a bit more puff! A bigger stick is better as generally once you have taken your cooked damper you then put a spoonful of strawberry jam in the middle… We always collect sticks in the woods, check for bugs, do a bit of whittling or bark removal – great for keeping older children/teens involved in the process. We think Dampers are cowboy in origin so a bit of a theme sometimes emerges… Enjoy,
    Kirsty

    Reply
    • That sounds great! I imagine finding the sticks and getting them ready for ‘dampering’ is an event all on its own. Will definitely try this method and will get hold of some bread mix! Thanks Claire

      Reply
      • good – glad you like them. send us a picture if you can!

        Reply
    • Wow – you have taken this to another level! And there was us with our shop-bought kebab sticks. I prefer your outdoorsy approach!

      Reply

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