Old-fashioned Graham Pop-overs

I recently made a hundred-year-old recipe for Graham Pop-overs. The pop-overs did not rise as much as anticipated, but nevertheless they were a delightful bread that seemed more like a muffin than a pop-over. The Graham Pop-overs had a slightly nutty flavor, and were wonderful when served warm with butter or honey.

Graham flour is a coarsely ground whole wheat flour that contains the endosperm, the bran, and the wheat germ. Modern graham flours sometimes have most of the wheat germ removed to prolong shelf life and to help keep it from going rancid.

Year ago graham flour was considered a health food, and I regularly see recipes that call for it in hundred-year-old cookbooks.

Graham flour is named after its inventor Sylvester Graham. He began making graham flour in the 1830s, and promoted it as part of a health movement which encouraged eating vegetarian meals and unseasoned foods.

It might take a little effort to find graham flour. I had to look for the flour at three stores before I finally found it.

Here’s the original recipe:

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks.

Source: Recipes for Everyday (1919)

Graham Pop-overs

  • Servings: approximately 12 Pop-overs
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

3 eggs

2 cups milk

2 cups graham flour

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons shortening, melted

Preheat oven to 450Β° F.Β  Beat eggs, then add milk. Beat in graham flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, and shortening. Beat until just combined. Put batter into well-greased custard cups (ramekins) – or a muffin tin may be used. Fill each cup 1/2 full. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Do not open oven to help ensure the pop-overs rise completely. Reduce heat to 350Β° F. (The oven may now be opened to test for doneness.) Bake another 5 – 10 minutes or until the pop-overs are lightly browned and spring back when lightly touched. Remove from oven and immediately remove from custard cups/muffin tin.

The pop-overs baked more quickly than indicated in the original recipe, so I reduced the baking time.

49 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Graham Pop-overs

  1. Do graham popovers taste anything like graham crackers? I’ve never baked with graham flour before, so I’m trying to imagine how it might compare to more modern foods. πŸ™‚

    1. Graham crackers and graham flour have a similar nutty flavor; however, graham crackers also contain honey so the crackers have sweeter taste than the flour.

    1. According to Wikipedia, “a popover is a light, hollow roll made from an egg batter similar to that of Yorkshire pudding, typically baked in muffin tins or dedicated popover pans, which have straight-walled sides rather than angled.”

      Muffins, as I was using the term, are a small domed quick breads made from batter or dough. This differs from a flat round muffin that in the U.S. is called an English muffin.

      I hope this makes sense. I hadn’t realized until I started to answer your question how much the terminology differs across countries.

      1. Thanks. Yes, we too now define muffins in the same way that you do, but when I was growing up, muffins were all of the ‘English’ variety. I never thought of looking in Wikipedia for popovers. Durrr. Two nations divided by a common language, eh πŸ˜‰ ?

  2. Graham flour is a coarse whole wheat flour. I know it used to be commonly used in New England, and it is the flour that was used in graham crackers. I seldom see it in the market any more, but you can often find it in the health food stores and on line. It is heavier than the all-purpose flour we usually use in making popovers, so I’m not surprised you didn’t get the rise. Is it possible you did not preheat the cups long enough? I know they usually need to be so hot they start to set the batter!

    1. I hadn’t thought about the weight of the flour. It makes sense that the heavier weight of the graham flour may have resulted in the pop-overs not rising as much as they would have if just all-purpose flour had been used. And, I didn’t preheat the cups at all since the recipe didn’t say anything about doing that. Perhaps that contributed to the reasons why my pop-overs didn’t rise as much as they should have.

      1. Of course, we are used to making popovers with white flour, and we’re used to the exaggerated puff they give. What you created was probably exactly what the popovers looked like when the recipe was written, at least according to the photo, and if they were yummy, that is all that really counts! I’m curious, was the center texture similar to what we’re used to?

        1. This makes sense. You’re right – the pop-overs that I made looked similar to the ones in the picture. The tops of the pop-overs were not as domed-shaped as modern muffins – and they collapsed inward a bit but still looked nice. The texture of the pop-overs was similar to a muffin.

    1. Until I read your comment I never would have guessed that graham crackers aren’t available in Australia. I find it fascinating that many foods are popular both in North America and Australia – but that some aren’t.

  3. Oh yum! It’s interesting that the wheat berry can give two different flours with one just taking the endosperm off to grind fine then course grinding the rest then remixing the two mixes together and the other just grinding the whole berry into fine flour.

    1. Thanks for explaining this to me. I finally understand the difference. I read information about graham flour on several websites, but didn’t really understand how the process for making graham flour differed from the process for making whole wheat flour. You explained it much more clearly than the websites.

    1. A hundred years ago there were many fewer types of flour available than what can be found in the typical supermarket today – yet, based on the number of century-old recipes that I’ve seen which call for graham flour, I think that graham flour was more popular back then than now.

  4. I think the nutty flavor of the graham flour would be nice. It was interesting reading Dorothy’s thoughts about why they might not have behaved like a regular popover.

    1. I’ve never quite figured out why foods ebb and wane in popularity over time. For some reason, graham flour was much more popular a hundred years ago than what it now. Which is a shame because it adds an excellent taste and texture to breads.

  5. Warm, nutty flavor, honey…how can you go wrong with that? Yummy! I have never used graham flour but did make a torte that called for crushed graham crackers instead of flour. It was tasty.

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