I like to wrap mine in foil before baking, to avoid a totally charred inedible crust. Then I pop it directly onto coals!
Damper is essentially made from flour and water, with a raising agent, like baking soda or bicarbonate of soda added.
It can be embellisehed with dried fruit for extra nutrients and flavour.
The easiest way to make damper is to mix self-raising flour and water together to form a dough. Begin by making a well in your flour and adding water, or perhaps milk. working with clean hands, until the dough forms a ball. Flatten it out a little to form a pie shaped round loaf, then either wrap in foil, place in a hot camp oven, or put it directly into coals.
I learned to make damper from a stockman, who was walking Tasmania's glorious Overland Track, at the same time as I was!
My gut feeling is that Australian damper was derrived from early Eurpoean settlers/invaders, learning or observing traditional damper making by indigenous tribes. Australia's Aborigines have traditionally ground wattle and other native seeds into flour to make damper. In the early days of colonisation at Botany Bay and Sydney Cove, when Europeans were close to starvation, I can't help but wonder if the Eora tribe of Sydney taught their invaders the art of damper making with indigenous foods?
Experiment with different grains and nuts, wholemeal and plain flours and perhaps some dried fruit or a sprinkling of lemon myrtle leaves to give your damper very different flavours and textures.
As I write, I wonder about mixing the dough with some olive oil as well as water, to make a kind of Middle Eastern version, a bit like Turkish bread?
Perhaps the Afghan Cameleers introduced it, or reinforced its importance within the young colonies?
Damper was certainly a mainstay in the diets of stockmen and women and swaggies, that form part of Australian folklore and cultural heritage.
It is best when eaten straight from the oven, piping hot!