Sunday Baking Sunday – the damper pull-apart edition

Today’s Sunday Baking Sunday effort has been a resounding success, if I do say so myself. Go me!

Seems a few of you agree, at least from a visual perspective, as I’ve had lovely likes and comments on Instagram and Facebook as I’ve posted as many photos as a proud mother would of their ‘baby’. Granted, I’ve already eaten a good third of my ‘baby’ so perhaps that’s not a great metaphor.

I’ve been on a bit of a citrus kick in the kitchen lately, so this week as I pondered what to bake, I decided I’d like to take a turn into savoury baking again.

Here she is….

damper pull-apart loaf
Damper Pull-Apart


I found a damper pull-apart recipe that I planned to follow in the August 2014 issue of Real Living magazine. The food section in Real Living has a really accessible, delicious selection of recipes, so if you’re a regular reader who usually flicks past that section, I’d encourage you to slow down and try something that their food team has put together.

Though I read through the recipe several times before launching into today’s baking, I still managed to miss several ingredients and steps, which leads me to conclude that I’ve really made a variation on the recipe I was allegedly following. It worked out beautifully, proving that though recipes can be super helpful, they don’t have to be slavishly followed to get a good result. The quantities of flour, buttermilk, salt and butter remained the same, which I think gave me a good foundation for wandering off the suggested path.

So, here’s my variation on the Real Living Pine Nut, Parmesan & Thyme Damper Pull-Apart.

We begin with the name and key ingredients – pine nuts, check, thyme leaves – nope, substituted some dried basil & fresh spinach leaves, parmesan – intended to add it, completely forgot to.

Shrugs shoulders, onwards.

Annette’s Pine Nut, Spinach, Garlic, Sea Salt & Basil Damper Pull-Apart. 


1/2 cup pine nuts (I just used a whole little packet of pine nuts which you can buy at the supermarket)

3 1/2 cups of self raising flour

Sea salt flakes

1 3/4 cups buttermilk (I made my own by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per cup of milk, then allowing it to stand for 10 minutes)

100g butter, melted

3 cloves garlic, minced (I used three teaspoons of minced garlic from my trusty jar in the fridge)

A good shake of dried basil (or whatever you like or have on hand)

A handful of fresh spinach leaves, torn.

You’ll also need a baking tray for your pine nuts, and a 20 x 10 cm (ish) loaf tin, also lined with baking paper.


Get your buttermilk organised, if you’re making it with milk and lemon juice/vinegar. Let it stand for 10 minutes.

Pop your oven on to 200 degrees Celsius.

Put your pine nuts on a lined baking tray and pop them in the oven as it is coming up to temperature. Keep an eye on them, you don’t want burnt nuts. Should take about 5 minutes to turn a lovely light golden colour.

Sift the flour into a large bowl, add 3/4 tsp sea salt flakes and mix. Create a well in the centre of the mixture.

Melt the butter (I did mine in the microwave).

Nut check!

Pour the buttermilk and half of the melted butter into the well you’ve created. Stir until it all comes together into a soft dough.

Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface (or try an oiled surface if you’re that way inclined).

Check your nuts again, they should be done by now!

This is the best part – knead that soft dough for just 1 minute! (Helpful tip – I put a bowl of water in the sink before I start this step, so I can wash my fingers off without getting dough all over my taps. I know, right? Super clever!)

Push and shape the dough into a rough rectangle, about 30 x 40 cms. I didn’t bother measuring, and I’m sure my dough didn’t stretch that far!

Add the garlic to your remaining melted butter, mix around a bit and then pour carefully, and evenly over your dough. Grab those golden nuts, sprinkle them over the dough and butter. Doesn’t that look good?! Mmmm. (This is a major deviation from the original recipe, as they wanted the butter and garlic poured over the loaf once it was in the pan. I think perhaps only really impacted the colour of the loaf, and having the extra butter and garlic through the loaf was super tasty.)

Pine nut scattering
Pine nut scattering

Shake your basil or other herbage over the dough, tear your spinach leaves and dot them around the dough artfully, and begin salivating.

Now, the fun part – cut your dough into even strips (vertically) and then stack those strips on top of each other, toppings and all. It’s a good idea to take into account the measurements of your loaf tin at this point. My dough got cut into four strips, just use your best judgement on this.

The dough needed a little help coming off my not-quite-floured enough surface, so it got an extra twisty element as I gently lowered it into the loaf tin.

Ready for the oven
Ready for the oven

Bake (at 200) for 45 minutes, then cover the loaf loosely with foil and bake for a further 25 minutes.

Et voila, delicious damper that’s got a golden crust and pulls apart easily to be shared. So good right! And pretty easy. The prep shouldn’t take more than 15 – 20 minutes.

Serve with a good smear of butter, or you could use smashed avocado or those dips you’ve got hanging about in the fridge. In fact, this pull-apart could be the star of a Sunday platter, with some lovely cheeses, ham and olives. The possibilities are endless.

Escapng pine nut, lovely crust
Escapng pine nut, lovely crust

This loaf is definitely in the spirit of Sunday Baking Sunday – which you’re most welcome to join in with on social media using #sundaybakingsunday – it’s all about easy, delicious recipes that you don’t have to follow slavishly. Use the basic ratios, then go crazy. This way when you just forget stuff, it becomes CULINARY ART darling!

Happy baking, enjoy the rest of this sunny Sunday, and let me know if you’re going to try this pull-apart.

What’s your best variation on a recipe? Chat away in the comments here and on social media, I love it when you do!