A Treatise on Bread and Bread-Making

 Published in 1837 in Boston, this volume in the American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection by an early American dietary reformer who created Graham crackers presents detailed information about the chemistry and cooking of homemade breads.

Graham’s Treatise on Bread and Bread-Making includes a history of bread, discussion of various grains and which make the best breads, preparation of flour and other ingredients, the process of fermentation, how to prepare and bake bread dough, and discussion of bread varieties. The book describes Graham’s preference for unadulterated flour that is free of chemical additives (used even in those early times to make bread whiter in color). He believed that firm bread made of coarsely ground whole-wheat flour was more nutritious and healthy. The treatise enthusiastically supports making bread in the home instead of buying commercial products, and the recipes were so popular that after publication, Graham was attacked by a mob of angry bakers in Boston.

 

This edition of Treatise on Bread and Bread-Making was reproduced by permission from the volume in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Founded in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas, a Revolutionary War patriot and successful printer and publisher, the Society is a research library documenting the life of Americans from the colonial era through 1876. The Society collects, preserves, and makes available as complete a record as possible of the printed materials from the early American experience. The cookbook collection includes approximately 1,100 volumes. 

About the Author

Christian minister Sylvester Graham was an early health-food guru who is best known for the flatbread he created called "Graham bread", although his original recipe bears little resemblance to the kindergarten cookies that carry his name today. He wrote and spoke publicly about the benefit of temperance and vegetarianism, and was a co-founder of the American Vegetarian Society in 1850, the first American organization of its kind. The preferred "Grahamite" lifestyle as practiced by Graham and his followers included a diet with no meat or spices and plenty of unsifted, coarsely ground wheat, no white bread, nothing but cold water to drink, meals at exactly the same time every day, sleeping on hard mattresses, and sex only for procreation.

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