Baking Adventures (Part 7): Australian Damper (Soda Bread) with Olives

You’ve probably spent a good bit of time with your family and friends over Christmas and New Year’s. In this instalment of Baking Adventures, we venture Down Under for a bake that’s meant to be shared by a large group of people. It’s an Australian “damper,” a rustic loaf often baked over a fire in the wilderness.

Australian Damper with Olives (1)

Yes, you read right – a hearty loaf of bread. Fortunately, it’s easy to put together in the comfort of your own kitchen. And because the recipe involves no yeast, this loaf is a snap to make.

This damper with olives comes from model-turned-chef Lorraine Pascale. Her recipe calls for self-raising flour, but if you only have all-purpose flour like me, then just add some baking powder to compensate. If you do have self-raising flour in your possession, then just use 450g of that and leave out the baking powder.



450g all-purpose flour
5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 1 tbsp dried rosemary)
1 cup water
75g green olives, pitted and chopped

Serves 8 generously.


Step 1: Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F). In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients except for the green olives. When the mixture just begins to form a cohesive dough, turn it out onto a clean work surface. Add half of the chopped olives on top and knead them into the dough.


Add the other half of the olives and knead those in as well.


Step 2: When all the olives have been incorporated, shape the dough into a round ball.


Place the dough ball on a sheet tray lined with baking paper. With the handle of a wooden spoon or something similar, press down on the dough to create a deep indentation right down the middle.


Repeat until you divide the dough equally into eighths. Your dough should be pretty flat right now, but it’ll puff up again in the oven due to the baking powder.


Step 3: Bake the loaf for 35 minutes or until lightly browned and it sounds hollow when tapped. Serve warm with a dip of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Australian Damper with Olives (2)


This loaf is just made to be shared with family and friends. Because you’ve made those indentations, everyone can have a go at tearing out a segment of bread for themselves. It’s a great start to any meal since you’re quite literally breaking bread!


Baking Adventures is a collaboration between Basic Bakes and QuirkyChic. QuirkyChic is a Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle blog by Caroline & Ruth. To find out more about them, click here. Expect a new Baking Adventure every second Friday of the month!

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