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Australian Cheese and Olive Damper

A crusty and cheese covered loaf of olive damper bread from Australia

For the next stop along our international cheese trail, Cheese Around the World takes you “down under,” for a traditional bread all the way from Australia. Interested in previous posts? Learn about German quark in here.


“The very earliest form of bread—made by humans since long, long before recorded history—was an unleavened mass of grain and water cooked in flat cakes on hot hearthstones, or in lumps in the hot ashes. It went by many different names, but was not different, essentially, from what we call Australian ‘damper’.”

Traditionally eaten by the early settlers of Australia, damper was an easy-to-make, yeastless bread made with flour, salt, and water. Hungry Australian bush colonists formed the dough and cooked the lumps in the ashes of their fire or “wrapped around a stick and cooked over an open flame.” Outside of the colonies, damper was known as “bush bread.”

It took a great deal of ingenuity for the settlers of Australia to make a bread without yeast. Just as amazing as the invention of this yeastless bread is how they managed to stomach cooked dough covered in residual ash from the fire. Although, maybe the ash was the only thing giving this bread any flavor in the first place! 

I stumbled upon a modern take on damper while searching for traditional Australian foods. Now with ovens, Australians have finally been able to circumvent those tedious lumps of ash, and added some delicious cheeses and olives to the mix! It’s so cool that such a simplistic bread made long ago because of lack of resources has been preserved into Australian tradition, and is still eaten today. Check out how Syrie Wongkaew takes the simplistic, poor-man’s damper and gives it a tasty spin! Visit this website for the recipe.

Hungry for more? Read the next post on Norwegian Brunost.

Photo Credit: Photo from ninemsn food

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