Man can not live on bread alone.
A little biblical reference for this Easter weekend. Maybe he can, maybe he can't - but I feel I could definitely live on bread if it were fancy bread, in particular Cheesy Oat Damper. I'm a big carb-lover, and an even bigger cheese-lover, so if you put the two together I'm pretty much sold on it immediately. Make it a healthy, homemade damper dough flavoured with rosemary and garlic then stuffed with sharp cheddar and we're into foodgasm territory. Amen to that.
Damper is a yeast-free bread and something my family used to make a lot on our annual camping trips to the Flinders Ranges, mostly on the last day before returning home. I now know this was more a way to use up the remainder of the basic food supplies so we didn't have to lug them home rather than a fun way to mark the end of our holiday. Well played, mum. Either way it's something close to my heart that evokes a lot of good memories of a happy childhood. Plus, y'know, it's cheese-filled carbs - my one true love (don't tell my husband, although I have a sneaky suspicion he knows).
This is an easy, kid-friendly recipe and a fun way to introduce kidlets to the magic of baking. If my family can make it at a camp site with no electricity you can definitely make it in your kitchen. The garlic and rosemary really takes the dough to the next level but if you're a cheese purist, or a flavour hater, you can leave them out. You could also make them into small buns, just adjust the cooking time as necessary. You can also either make the dough by hand or throw everything into a food processor and pulse until the butter is combined, then process with the milk until a dough forms.
If you're a regular camper this is a great one to mentally file and make on your next trip, once you've made the dough simply stretch it out into a long strand and wrap it around the end of a (clean-ish) stick. Wrap the whole thing in aluminium foil and pop into the hot coals of your campfire, checking after 10 minutes and every 5 after that (campfire cooking times can be pretty variable). Fantastic as an accompaniment to soup, as an addition to a brunch spread or just whipped up on a cold weekend because you can. Cheesy Oat Damper - you complete me.
Cheesy Oat Damper
Modified from http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/40565/cheese+filled+oat+damper
2 & 1/2 cups wholemeal self-raising flour
1/2 cup wholemeal spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup rolled oats, plus 1 tablespoon, extra
30g butter, chilled, chopped
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
3 tablespoons rosemary sprigs, coarsely chopped
Sea salt flakes
1 & 1/2 cups buttermilk, plus 2 teaspoons, extra, to brush (** see note)
100g vintage cheddar, grated
1) Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2) Combine the flours, baking powder, oats, butter, garlic, 2 tbsp of the rosemary and a good pinch of salt in a large bowl. Use your fingertips to rub butter into the flour until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
3) Make a well in the centre. Add the buttermilk and stir with a flat-bladed knife until the mixture just comes together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead mixture to a rough ball.
4) Spread or roll out the dough into a rough circle and sprinkle with 3/4 of the cheddar. Fold the edges of the dough towards the centre and press together to completely encase the cheese (see pictures). Carefully transfer to prepared tray.
5) Brush the top with the extra buttermilk and use a knife to score deeply into 8 wedges. Scatter with the remaining rosemary, extra oats and remaining cheese. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes.
6) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and cooked through and the cheese has melted.
* *You can make your buttermilk at home using milk and an acid, such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Simply mix 1 cup of milk with 1 tbsp of acid then stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Voila! One cup of buttermilk.
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