|Alternative names||Graham wafer|
|Place of origin||United States|
|Main ingredients||Graham flour|
The graham cracker is a sweet flavored cracker made with graham flour that originated in the early 1880s. It is eaten as a snack food, usually honey or cinnamon-flavored, and is used as an ingredient in some foods. The name can be pronounced as // or // in North America.
The graham cracker was inspired by the preaching of Sylvester Graham, who was part of, and strongly influenced by, the 19th-century temperance movement. Graham believed that a lifestyle that involved minimizing pleasure and stimulation of all kinds, and which included a vegetarian diet anchored by bread made from wheat coarsely ground at home, was how God intended people to live, and that following this natural law would keep people healthy. His preaching was taken up widely in the US in the midst of the 1829–51 cholera pandemic.:15–27 :29–35  His followers, Grahamites, formed one of the first vegetarian movements in the US, and graham flour, graham crackers, and graham bread were created for and marketed to them. Graham neither invented nor profited from these products.:29
The main ingredients in its earlier preparations were graham flour, oil, shortening or lard, molasses and salt. Graham crackers have been a mass-produced food product in the United States since 1898, with the National Biscuit Company being the first to mass-produce it at that time. The Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company also began mass-producing the product beginning sometime in the early 1910s. The product continues to be mass-produced in the U.S. today. In earlier times, mass-produced graham crackers were typically prepared using yeast-leavened dough, which added flavor to the food via the process of fermentation, whereas contemporary mass-production of the product typically omits this process. The dough is sometimes chilled before being rolled out, which prevents blistering and breakage from occurring when the product is baked.
Graham cracker crumbs are used to create graham cracker crusts for pies and moon pie, and as a base, layer or topping for cheesecake. Graham cracker pie crusts are also mass-produced in the United States, and consumer versions of the product typically consist of a graham cracker crumb mixture pressed into an aluminum pie pan. The graham cracker is a main ingredient in the preparation of the s'more.
A box of National Biscuit Company graham crackers, circa 1915, which was priced at ten cents
A homemade graham cracker crust
- "Homemade Graham Crackers". Retrieved March 21, 2019.
- Krapp, Kristine (1997). How Products are Made. Gale. pp. 181–182. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
Over time, it became known the graham cracker. Due to its popularity and innovation, other bakeries copied his recipe and eventually developed methods for its mass production. Since then, graham crackers have been a popular snack food. They have also become an important ingredient in pie crust recipes.
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