Bread from various countries, 1990s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A display of world bread including a French baguette and croisants, Greek pitta bread, German pumpernickel bread, Jewish cholla bread, and flat bread from the Near East. 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 central 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 historically has been the spark for riots and revolutions.