|Alternative names||Graham wafer|
|Place of origin||United States|
|Main ingredients||Graham flour|
The graham cracker is a type of cracker that originated circa the early 1880s, and is a mass-produced product in contemporary times. It is eaten as a snack food, sometimes with honey, and is used as an ingredient in some foods. The name can be pronounced as // or //.
The graham cracker was inspired by the preaching of Sylvester Graham, who was a part of and strongly influenced by the 19th-century temperance movement; Graham believed that a vegetarian diet anchored by home-made whole grain bread, made from wheat coarsely ground at home, as part of a lifestyle that involved minimizing pleasure and stimulation of all kinds, 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 them 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
- 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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- "Recipe: New York-Style Cheesecake". The Mercury News. March 26, 2018. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
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- Savoie, Lauren (April 10, 2017). "Tasting Ready-Made Graham Cracker Crusts". Cook's Illustrated. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
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- Miller, Jeffrey (July 25, 2018). "S'mores: How this American campfire snack came from the Industrial Revolution". The Independent. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
- Panati, Charles (1989). Panati's extraordinary origins of everyday things. San Francisco: Perennial Library. p. 413. ISBN 0-06-096419-7. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
The graham cracker originated as a health food, and in Britain it is still known as a "digestive biscuit."
- Media related to Graham cracker at Wikimedia Commons
- The Origin of Graham Crackers. Snopes.com.
- 7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Graham Crackers. Food Republic.