Great Depression Cooking: Graham Bread

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At the beginning of 1900, the United States experienced a massive flow of “smart” chemists who found many ways to add unhealthy ingredients, that sometimes were not even supposed to be in food.

Flour was that once ingredient that suffered many transformations before we realized that bleaching it was not a great idea. Food chemists used: Organic peroxides, Calcium peroxide, Nitrogen dioxide, Chlorine, Chlorine dioxide, Azodicarbonamide, Atmospheric oxygen to bleach it. Some of the ingredients above are not allowed to be used in food products un the EU. Now imagine how the stomach would feel like after a good portion of bread made with some of these components?

During Great Depression times people used graham flour: the combination of regular flour, wheat germ, and wheat bran. Most communities were aware of the flour bleaching process and thus used graham flour when possible since it had more fiber and healthy components.

Graham bread was inspired by Sylvester Graham, a 19th-century reformer who argued that a vegetarian diet, anchored by bread that was baked at home from flour that was coarsely milled at home, was part of a healthful lifestyle that could prevent disease.

Pro tip: if you couldn’t find graham flour in your local supermarket, mix together 84 g (~2/3 cup) white flour, 15 g (slightly less than 1/3 cup) wheat bran, and 2.5 g (1.5 teaspoons) wheat germ. This will make approx 1 cup.

Serving size:

4 servings or 1 loaf


  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 cup of kefir
  • 1 cup of graham flour
  • 1 cup of regular unbleached self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 85 ml molasses
  • 2 pinches of salt


  • 404 Calories
  • 0.8g Fat
  • 94.3 Carbs
  • 1.6g Fiber
  • 9.2g Protein



Mix dry ingredients.

Mix wet ingredients.

Mix all ingredients thoroughly, wrap with film and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F/180C

Pour the mixture into a well greased baking pan and bake for 45-55 min.

Check the readiness of the bread with a toothpick. If comes out clean – it’s ready.


Can be eaten with tea, coffee, any sweet spread or jam.





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