Apr 13, 2013

Graham Cracker Facts

During the 1820s, Sylvester Graham created the eponymous cracker as part of his diet plan thought to increase physical wellness, sexual purity, and spiritual health. The Presbyterian minister's mission was to rid the world of sexual immorality. He believed a vegetarian diet, devoid of spices and sugars, combined with avoiding foods made with overly processed flours would do away with the greatest evils of his day, lustful thought and masturbation. Of course, neither Graham crackers nor his diet have ever been shown to cure sexual urges.

Graham flour is essentially a type of non-bleached, finely ground whole wheat flour. Among other things made with this flour, Graham made bland crackers. They were not the sweet treat we enjoy today.

Nabisco began making Graham crackers with bleached white flour and oils. The germ is rarely used today so the crackers have a longer shelf life.

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and his brother Will found the minister’s ideas useful at their Sanitarium in Battle Creek Michigan. Dr. Kellogg imposed the vegetarian diet on his patients with the belief that it could cure some of their troubles.

The brothers made their own Graham crackers on the premises. Once, Will left out some prepared wheat used to make Graham crackers. When he came back to finish the cooking, the dough had become hard and stale. Because he could not afford to waste a whole batch’s ingredients, he used it in the baking process anyway. Rather than get thin wafers after extruding the dough through rollers, he ended up with hard crispy flakes, similar to the corn flakes we eat today. Now you know how Graham crackers and Kellogg's corn flakes are related.