Banana Damper Bread

Whilst nattering around the camp fire one evening, the finer points of damper bread were being discussed. It was mentioned & maybe you have heard, or even tried this to, that there is enough moisture in a banana to make one damper bread.

This thought stayed with me & those that know me realised that, not satisfied with taking it for granted I’d be trying this out for myself. So that’s just what I did. Was there in fact enough moisture in one banana to make a damper bread. I now needed to know.

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Taking a whole banana in one hand & my usual measure of self-raising flour being one fistful in the other I set to task.

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Mashing & mixing the banana into the flour, it wasn’t long before it worked into a gloopy mess & I needed to add more flour, much more flour as it happened. As I added more flour the mixture to resemble something like dough again & less like a messy cake mix.  At this stage I could then begin to knead out the dough, stretching it out & working it into itself. Kneading the dough has two important objectives. It helps give the mixture uniformity, making sure all the ingredients are incorporated evenly. It also insures all the flour and other dry ingredients (i.e. dried fruit, sugar, spices, salt or anything you wish to add) is hydrated by the banana’s moisture. Knowing when you have achieved this can be judged with the help of the heat from my hands imparted into the dough, it gives it a slight elasticity quality.

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Now comes the fun part adding your filling to your dough. Let your taste buds go wild here, if you like it and you want to add it then go for it. The best cook I ever knew was my Grand-ma & she always taught me there are no rules to cooking. I have tried the conventional method of mixing everything in so it appears evenly throughout the finished damper, but I found some ingredients, like raisins were burning on the surface before the damper was cooked. I found that by forming a well with the dough to put your extra ingredients in and forming the dough to cover it, then patting out the damper into a disc retains the extra ingredients within the dough & in this case allows the raisins to plump up within the mix rather than burning on the outside.

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As you can see from the picture below all the raisins are now contained within the mix apart from one cheeky one that came a little close to the surface.

It is also clear that using just one good sizes banana amounted to a sizeable damper, which in fact equated to four times my usual size had I just added water instead.

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Cooking it in my usual way, on an upturned Dutch oven lid, it took just as long as I had thinned it out to the same thickness as I would normally. The flavour of the banana came through nicely, adding a little honey to sweeten it up worked well.

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The great thing about bread though is breaking it up, especially when it is warm & sharing it with friends, which is what I did with this one. In so doing so answering my curiosity, yes there is enough moisture in a banana to make damper, four portions as it happened.

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 Jay Jenner