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Did You Know?

The Bread Visual Dictionary 
The history of the humble loaf of bread is a long and interesting one dating back around 10,000 years to the ancient civilisations.

c 8000 BC
At first grain was crushed by hand with pestle and mortar. In Egypt a simple grinding stone first was developed.

c 5000 - 3700 BC
Egypt developed grain production along the fertile banks of the Nile. Grain became a staple food and spread to the Balkans and throughout Europe, eventually being cultivated in Britain.

c 3000 BC
Different wheat varieties were developed and the baking of bread became a skill in Egypt along with brewing beer. The Egyptians invented the closed oven. Homage was paid to Osiris, the god of grain, and bread was used instead of money; the workers who built the pyramids were paid in bread.

c 2300 BC
In India grain cultivation began along the Indus valley.

c 1050 BC
The south of England became a centre of agriculture - barley and oats were grown freely; by 500 BC wheat in Britain started to become important.

The 21st century
Gas ovens replaced the wood and coal burning brick ovens. Large automated baking units significantly increased productivity.
1912
Otto Rohwedder started work on a bread slicing machine and after many setbacks produced a machine that sliced bread and wrapped it to keep the moisture in. It took many years for his machine to become accepted.
1928
Otto Rohwedder's bread slicing machine was first exhibited at a bakery trade fair in America.

By 1933 around 80% of bread sold in the US was pre-sliced and wrapped. Americans loved it so much that the expression "the best thing since sliced bread" was coined.

1950
Reintroduction of slicing and wrapping loaves which was prohibited during World War II as an economy measure.