Oh dampers!

cooking dampers 2I’ve been experimenting with different pizza bases. My family loves pizza, but I am very fussy when it comes to buying them so I don’t serve it as often as they would like. For me the base has to be thin, the toppings need to be made of the best ingredients. No skimping on cheese or flavour. I am one step away from building an outdoors pizza oven.

This week, I tried an artisan bread mix. Stretched it thin over my pizza stoneware – I told you I was fussy- before letting it rest and expand, but not too much. I really did get it very thin. Go me! It did mean that I had a lot of dough left over. I thought ofย  little loaves but it seemed to be the perfect time to introduce the children to dampers. Cooked over a camp fire, of course.

fire bowlMy children are always game to bring out the fire bowl. Cooking over it, something other than marshallows, certainly seemed to grab their imagination. They couldn’t wait. So after supper we headed up to the top of the garden, to a wilder area. Added advantage that the honeysuckle grows thick in this part of the garden. As the sun went down the fragrance grew stronger. We could watch the bats leaving our roof. Some curious ones, came to check out what the mad humans were up to that night, before veering off into the woods to hunt.

cooking dampersSome people cook their dampers as balls in a pan over the fire. So that everyone could be involved, we chose to cook them on sticks. After all, they grow on trees and are readily available. No washing up either. We cut a few sticks off one of our hazel tree. It’s not ready to copice this year, making it easy to find thin branches that were perfect for our dampers. We stripped the leaves and twigs from them.

Taking my left over dough, I gave each child a ball of dough. Using their hands, they rolled it into long thin sausages, stretching them more to make them even longer. Then they twisted and wrapped it around the end of their sticks.

Waiting for the hot embers was more than they could bear. The next part took teamwork. The fire bowl is probably a bit small, so they had to be careful not to cross sticks. They changed the height of their dampers, to allow them to cook but not burn. I showed them how to break off the end to check if it was cooked.Fire and dampersOnce baked, they removed the damper from the stick and dipped the baked bread into homemade blackcurrant coulis. Bliss.

The adults drank coffee brewed on the camp fire. Blankets were passed around, so we could stay out even longer.

It all tasted fantastic. The dough was a good choice. They each made two, which we all ate, in the light, and warmth, of the fire. Watching moths and checking for glow worms. (We found one earlier in the day and were hoping it would shine that night. No luck.) Too cloudy for more than the odd star. They didn’t let that stop them from wishing on it.

“Star bright, starlight, the first star I see tonight…..”

I wouldn’t have blamed them, one little bit, if they’d wished for more evenings just like that one.

cooking dampers 3

Oh, and my pizza. It was declared a huge success. There was disappointment that I hadn’t made two, but then again it would have meant no dampers that evening.ย  I’ll be working with that idea again. Yum.
Linking up with Fiona’s inspirational #CountryKids linky
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

40 thoughts on “Oh dampers!

  • Saturday 6 August, 2016 at 3:27 pm
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    Sounds delicious and looks like a lot of fun. I used to make my own pizza base regularly but have cut out most wheat and gluten fro y diet 9and feel much better for it) and haven’t found a good alternative recipe. I’m determined that I will one day though! Juliex

    • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 6:47 pm
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      Good luck with your search. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Wednesday 10 August, 2016 at 7:52 am
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    Dampers are great aren’t they, my two love making them at every opportunity!

    • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 6:48 pm
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      This is a new favourite, for sure. I’ll need to be organized.

  • Thursday 11 August, 2016 at 11:02 pm
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    Well, your pizza was a success, but – if you are ever wanting to try another recipe… I used to wonder at the delicious flavor in the local gourmet pizza crusts. I imagined it was due to flavors put into the dough while mixing. Silly me! As I started learning about bread-making, I understood about longer and cooler rising times, so as to develop more flavor. Then I found this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and that was it. Here it is, if you don’t mind (my butting in) http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/01/cooks-illustrated-thin-crust-new-york-ny-pizza-recipe.html

    It does need to be made ahead of time, but is very delicious. (I’m just talking about the dough here, not the rest of the recipe)

    Your little cookout sounds very appealing. The English are such nature-lovers. I’ve always had allergies, and while I feel better in recent years, I’m sure I could never sleep out all night, or stay out too long in the evenings.

    • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 6:49 pm
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      Interesting. I’ll need to do some research.

  • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 12:10 am
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    What a wonderful way to spend the evening – cooking dampers over a fire and watching the stars come out sounds utterly blissful. Glad to hear the pizza went down well too! ๐Ÿ™‚ #countrykids

    • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 6:50 pm
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      Thanks Louise. I hope we have more evenings like it.

  • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 12:39 am
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    Wow! How lovely is that. I haven’t done this with my daughter yet, gives me an idea though. ๐Ÿ˜‰ hehe #countrykids

    • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 6:51 pm
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      Hope you have fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 4:26 am
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    What a great way to spend the evening! I have never thought to cook dough over an open fire. Will have to try that soon. #countrykids

    • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 6:51 pm
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      Makes a change from marshmallows. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 8:23 am
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    Sounds idyllic. I’ve made damper once – in Australia made with beer. Never thought of making it here but will have to try now! We were at a country show last week and I was very tempted by one of the stands selling outdoor pizza ovens. The price was amazing too so I think home-made is the way to go. #countrykids

    • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 6:52 pm
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      With beer! Scurries off to look up recipe….

  • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 9:02 am
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    Wow pizza dough over an open fire, sounds amazing! #countrykids

    • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 6:52 pm
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      It tasted fabulous too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 9:51 am
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    Now this looks like the perfect way to spend an evening with the family, we always enjoy cooking dampers and other food over the bonfire. Your three look like they were really trying to make sure their dampers were cooked to perfection and it’s great that they knew about not keeping them too close to the fire for too long. I’m sure they’ll be asking to do this again before then end of their summer!

    Thanks for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 6:53 pm
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      I think they will want to do more bread making outdoors. Probably other cooking too.

  • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 10:37 am
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    Oh that fire bowl looks fab! My husband and I have been hunting down a fire pit/bbq for the garden. We don’t really want a regular gas-fired or coal bbq, we want a fire pit ๐Ÿ™‚ #countrykids

    • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 6:55 pm
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      It is a great fire bowl. Not too big, but still provides the heat.

  • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 4:13 pm
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    Wow those look amazing. I’ve never heard of these before #countrykids

    • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 6:55 pm
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      Children loved being abl to cook their own food outside.

  • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 5:10 pm
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    What a wild and wonderful evening outside. #countrykids

    • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 6:55 pm
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      It certainly was a lovely evening.

  • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 7:19 pm
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    This sounds amazing my girls would love this!! #countrykids

    • Sunday 14 August, 2016 at 11:02 am
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      There is something satisfying about cooking food over a fire for yourself.

  • Saturday 13 August, 2016 at 9:50 pm
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    Looks like great fun. My son made dampers once at Cubs and really enjoyed it. He keeps asking me if we can do them at home but I can’t trust my youngest around fire!!

    #countrykids

    • Sunday 14 August, 2016 at 11:21 am
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      Yes. You really have to judge it. I hope the opportunity comes up for your son again. Sounds like it made quite an impression on him.

  • Sunday 14 August, 2016 at 9:31 am
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    Yum, they look delicious, and great the kids can do their bit too. #countrykids

    • Sunday 14 August, 2016 at 11:22 am
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      They did have fun.

  • Sunday 14 August, 2016 at 12:04 pm
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    I just love this. It will be going on our Autumn bucket list. Thank you for the inspiraction! #CountryKids

    • Sunday 14 August, 2016 at 12:35 pm
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      Good idea. It would be perfect for Autumn.

    • Sunday 14 August, 2016 at 11:22 pm
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      Hope you do. It is fun and just a wonderful camp side activity.

  • Monday 15 August, 2016 at 12:55 pm
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    Ah I love this, such a great way to spend an evening outdoors! Sounds perfect, fantastic idea ๐Ÿ™‚ #countrykids

    • Monday 15 August, 2016 at 3:34 pm
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      It was perfect. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Tuesday 16 August, 2016 at 9:56 am
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    This sounds like a perfect evening! I wish you lots of luck on your search #countrykids

    • Tuesday 16 August, 2016 at 8:42 pm
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      Easy to enjoy the moment on evenings like this one. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Tuesday 16 August, 2016 at 6:47 pm
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    This sounds like the perfect evening! I for one wouldn’t mind doing this on a Friday night. Ooรฒ I’ve never heard of dampers before but they sound nice. Xx #CountryKids

    • Tuesday 16 August, 2016 at 9:23 pm
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      Dampers and enjoying the outside is just a great way to spend the evening.

Comments are closed.

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