Graham Flour HistoryGraham flour is a form of whole wheat flour. It is named for Sylvester Graham, a forerunner of the health food movement. Graham developed this form of flour in the 1830s in hopes of diverting people away from the less healthy refined white flour. His Graham hotels promoted vegetarian meals and unseasoned foods, being of the belief that condiments would encourage the imbibing of alcohol.
To make graham flour, the endosperm of winter wheat is finely ground. The bran and germ layers are returned and mixed in, resulting in a coarse, brown flour with a nutty and slightly sweet flavor. Today, some commercial granaries remove much of the wheat germ to prolong the shelf life of the flour. The germ contains oil that accelerates rancidity. Graham flour is unrefined and unbleached.
Although the terms graham flour and whole wheat flour are often used interchangeably, there is a difference. Graham flour is a slightly coarser grind than whole wheat flour.
Graham Cracker HistoryWell-known by 1882, graham crackers are a flat, crisp cookie made with graham flour and typically sweetened with honey. They were created in the 1830's by Sylvester Graham who promoted the crackers as a health food. Along with graham crackers and pie crusts, granola and Grape Nuts® cereal are also made with graham flour.
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Graham crackers, crumbs, and flour photo © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.