Graham Bread From Long Ago

Copied as written in newspaper Jan. 15,1920. This was in my mother-in-law's "save" box.

To Western Farmer: Some 25 years ago in Cheyenne, WY. My sister bought a most delicious graham bread. Since I have been grown, I have tried every recipe I could find for graham bread in an endeavor to have that kind of bread. None of them proved satisfactory, so I started to experimenting and made my own recipe.


I have just perfected it to my satisfaction, so following the suggestion of "a subscriber's wife", in a recent issue of Western Farmer, I will send you my recipe.


  • 1 qt. liquid yeast
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. shortening
  • 3 Tbsp. sorghum molasses
  • 2 level Tbsp. salt
  • 3 cups white flour
  • 3 cups graham flour


A good strong starter makes the best yeast.

Use the very best grade of sorghum, ordinary cooking molasses doesn't give the right flavor.

Dough should be just as stiff as can possibly be mixed with a big meat fork or cooking spoon.

Let rise once and make into loaves with very little kneading.

Mrs J.M. Boyles, from Myrtle Creek, OR

Source: There was no other information. No baking time or temperature. Maybe bread bakers could add that information. I just thought this was a piece of farm history that would be of interest to Thrifty Fun Readers.


By Vi Johnson from Moorpark, CA

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September 21, 20110 found this helpful

I know nothing about breadmaking, but wanted to comment anyway. I think this is super neat post. I love the story behind it, and the "old fashioned" way of writing is interesting to see. There's a book set in England around WWII that is written in that way, titled Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, if anyone enjoys 40's and older time periods.

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September 21, 20110 found this helpful

I love the old-fashioned recipes too. Just the way they're written brings a smile as I've seen a few recipes that both my grandmothers kept in boxes or tablets, all hand-written of course. If either of them ever owned a cookbook, I never saw or heard about it. I know for sure that my Mother never owned one, but she was probably the best cook I've ever met.


Their notes would be written with measures like a "spoonful" of something, or a pinch of that, and that's how I learned to cook. There are recipes which require more exact measurements, but I've not run across too many that can't be figured out by a person who does a lot of cooking.

I have a White House Cookbook, printed in 1926 when Calvin Coolidge was our president. It is described as "A comprehensive cyclopedia of information for the home", and contains cooking, toilet and household recipes, menus, table etiquette, care of the sick, health suggestions, and facts worth knowing.

It even has a recipe for roasting "snipe", and here I thought "snipe" were just something children were teased into hunting :-), but never caught.


Being a 5th generation native Floridian, I was used to hearing our northern family members who'd come from cold country every winter to our sunny Florida... "Snow Birds". Can you imagine my surprise when I read how to stuff and bake (under a crust) Snow Birds which were actually a variety of small birds like snipe or quail?

I doubt very seriously any first lady we've had in the past 30 years or more would have been able to use the book with any success at all. It is a joy to read though, and I find I learn something new every time I pick it up.

Thank you for sharing your Graham Bread (from long ago) recipe with us.

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January 26, 20140 found this helpful

This bread would not work with 4 cups of yeast water but would work with 2 cups. Yeast water is just made with dried fruit or fresh fruit skins and non chlorinated water. Drop a good had full of them in a clean quart jar and fill with water and loosely cover.


The wild yeast on the fruit will grow, sort of like making wine. I would recommend using organic fresh fruit today so you don't have to wash the yeast away. I have a cookbook from the early 1800's that tells you how to make it and sour dough bread.

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