Loaves of bread, 1990s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A selection showing the variety of different loaves of bread available from a modern supermarket. Bread first originated about 10,000 years ago when crude flat loaves were made by baking a mixture of flour and water. Around 3000 BC the Ancient Egyptians are believed to have been the first to make leavened (raised) bread by using wild yeast which was present in the air. They were also the first to build ovens in which several loaves could be baked at once. Bread has been a fundamental part of people's diet throughout history. Nutritionally it is an important source of carbohydrate and fibre. Bread has ritual significance in many religions, and has been the spark for riots and revolutions throughout history.