Baking History

A Taste For The Past

Graham Bread

Posted by bakinghistory on July 5, 2008

Made with Graham flour, this bread has fiber and a wonderful taste and texture

Graham flour was created by Sylvester Graham, who preached the importance of a wholesome, healthy diet at a time when flour and baked goods were usually tainted by additives.

Today is actually Reverend Graham’s birthday: my friend Louise from Months of Edible Celebrations and I are marking this together. Head over to her wonderful blog to read about the interesting life and times of Sylvester Graham.

Most recipes in the old cookbooks call for molasses among the ingredients for this bread, but I used one that called for sugar instead, and the final result is a wonderful bread—slightly sweet, moist, with a nice soft crust and crumb, and the nutty flavor of whole grain. It also stays fresh a long time, and makes some of the best PB&J sandwiches.

From the original recipe by Maria Parloa

In: “Miss Parloa’s New Cookbook: A Guide to Marketing and Cooking”, 1882—USA


2 cups water or milk, warm (I used one cup of each)

2 cups of bread four (I used King Arthur brand)

2 generous cups Graham flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand)

1/2 cup sugar (I used organic granulated sugar)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp dry active yeast

If using milk, scald it then set aside to cool to lukewarm. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, milk, or a mixture of both, and set aside for about 5 minutes.

Mix in the bread flour (the mixture will be soupy), and set aside, covered, to ferment overnight in a cool place (about 60°F).

In the morning add the Graham flour, salt and sugar and beat at medium high speed until gluten forms. The dough is very soft, and cannot be kneaded by hand, unless you use a dough scraper.

Depending on the weather and other factors, more or less Graham flour will be necessary. This time it took almost 2-1/2 cups to have a rather slack dough. It is important to beat it in the mixer with a paddle attachment long enough to develop the gluten (about 10 minutes). Adding too much flour will make the bread heavy and crumbly.

Line with heavy duty aluminum foil one 9.1 x 5.4 inch (13.6 x 23.2 cm) loaf pan and grease very generously.

This bread has a tendency to stick firmly to the pan, and using the aluminum foil will make unmolding the bread so much easier.

As soon as the dough is ready and starts to clean the sides of the mixer bowl pour it into the prepared pan and let rise, covered, until it reaches about 1 inch above the pan sides. Spray with water and bake in a preheated oven at 400°F (200°C) for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F (180°C) and bake an additional 20-25 minutes.

Take out of the pan and let the bread cool on  a rack. Do not cut the bread until perfectly cold. It can be kept wrapped in aluminum foil for 4-5 days.

See other great baked goods on Susan’s roundup of this week Yeast Spotting

7 Responses to “Graham Bread”

  1. Louise said

    We did it!!!

    Oh Manuela, the Graham bread looks simply “divine.” You make it seem so effortless, if only I could bake such a masterpiece. I’m sure Graham would approve.

  2. Simona said

    A great-looking bread. The photo really shows the nice texture.

  3. bakinghistory said

    @ Louise: Yes, we did! 😉 Thanks, it is an easy recipe to make with a stand mixer, since the dough contains a relatively high amount of liquid. What we liked about it is that the texture is really light rather than dense and dry.

    @ Simona: Thanks! I was lucky to catch the very early morning sunlight to take a picture 🙂

  4. Louise said

    Hi Manuela,

    Everything seems to have worked out perfectly. We’ll have to do this again some time. Perhaps, others will join and we can have a virtual Traveling dinner or a Potluck.

    I’m not much of a baker but I am going to forward this recipe to my daughter who is always looking for bread recipes to try, especially, healthy ones.

  5. bakinghistory said

    @ Louise: This was so much fun! I agree we should repeat and perhaps involve others: a a traveling dinner or potluck both sound great, a tea party might also be a good idea 😉

  6. bakinghistory said

    @ Louise: By the way, there is also a recipe for Graham muffins here , perhaps your daughter would be interested in trying these as well.

  7. […] Graham Bread ~ Baking History […]

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