Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Graham Bread: Healthy and Delicious


Graham flour is popping up more and more now, moving beyond just graham crackers (although these days you may want to check the list of graham cracker ingredients to see if real graham flour is actually used). Graham flour is coarsely ground whole wheat. It retains the bran and germ from the kernel and is less processed than regular whole wheat flour.


The flour is named for a 19th century nutrition reformer, Sylvester Graham. He was a Presbyterian minister who was controversial at the time for his views on healthy eating which included a vegetarian diet with whole grains but no caffeine, white flour, meat, tobacco or alcohol. Funny to think that a diet rich in vegetables and whole grains could cause such a stir, but the bakers, bartenders, butchers and tobacco farmers were not happy with the number of followers Rev. Graham attracted at the time.


Bread made from graham flour is incredibly delicious. In fact, Graham Bread tops my husband’s list of favorite breads. There is a natural sweetness to the graham flour and when molasses is added you have a loaf of robust, wholesome flavor.


My mom first introduced me to Graham Bread (she has a delectable Graham Nut Pudding, too, that I’ll share with you soon). The recipe she gave me was torn from a newspaper. Its edges have yellowed over the years and it is safely tucked into my recipe journal. I’ve modified the original recipe to include buttermilk, yogurt and some spelt flour, and switched from white to brown sugar to enhance the earthy sweetness.


Since there is no yeast involved, this is a quick bread to stir up and lovely to have in your repertoire to make on a moment’s notice. It is marvelous toasted and spread with butter for breakfast (we just inhaled a loaf this way) or slathered with cream cheese for an afternoon tea break. You could add currants or dried cranberries for some variation, but I prefer to keep it plain and simple. I think Sylvester Graham would approve!


Graham Bread
Makes 1 loaf (9x5 inch loaf pan)

2 cups graham flour
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup plain, thick yogurt
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a loaf pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the graham flour, spelt flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt and stir together. Pour the molasses in and mix. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and buttermilk and stir until mixed. Pour into the flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth. Bake for about 1 hour, until a tester comes out clean.

Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Slice and slather with butter.

16 comments:

  1. That bread looks so delicious! I made some savory bread last night, all gone by now (I though it would last for a few days).

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    1. Thank you, Marina! Sounds like you made some yummy bread - I'm not surprised it disappeared quickly. You can't beat a loaf of home baked bread. :)

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  2. I love how simple the recipe is. Do you think regular whole wheat flour can work here? Bread looks lovely!

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    1. Thank you, Chinmayie! I think regular whole wheat flour could definitely work - if you try it please let me know how it turns out. I hope you enjoy the bread!

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  3. Reverend Graham doesn't sound like he was much fun, but the bread looks yummy! I'm envious that you've got Brer Rabbit molasses. I didn't think it was available north of the Mason-Dixon. I haven't been able to find it anywhere here. :-(

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    1. Rev. Graham was not a party guy! I love Brer Rabbit molasses, too - I had no idea it wasn't readily available. Another of my favorites is Steens (I order it online and their golden syrup is marvelous, too).

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  4. I didn't know graham flour was actually different from regular whole wheat flour. I'll have to be on the look out! Bob's is the best! =)

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    1. I love all of Bob's products, too, and his is the only brand of graham flour I've discovered so far.

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  5. Love that you are a Bob's fan, and love your retro mixing bowl! Graham flour is probably the only flour I DON'T currently have on hand, but that will be remedied soon.

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    1. Thank you, Sara - my mom found the bowl in a vintage shop for me (she also discovered a set of 4 at another shop that I use everyday). Enjoy the graham flour - your flour supply sounds terrific!

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  6. Here's an idea: marshmallow spread and nutella - its like a s'more!

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    1. I love it, Patrick! That's inspired. :)

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  7. Home baked bread, nothing like it. It never does last long :)

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    1. So true, Mairi! It's great to have some quick breads to rely on when the craving for a fresh loaf hits.

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  8. Could I use bread flour or white flour in place of the spelt?

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    1. Hi Renae! Yes, you can definitely substitute bread or white flour for the spelt flour. I hope you enjoy the bread! I'm happy you stopped by.

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