At some stage in the Neolithic era people had learned that if, instead of using ordinary grain, they used grain that had been sprouted and then dried, it made a bread that kept unusually well. The Egyptian process was to sprout the grain, dry it , crush it, mix it to a dough and partially bake it.

The loaves were then broken up and put to soak in water, where they were allowed to ferment for about a day before the liquor was strained off and considered ready for drinking." ---Food in History, Reay Tannahill [Three Rivers Press: New York] 1988 (p.48) "Leavening, according to one theory, was discovered when some yeast spores--the air is full of them, especially in a bakehouse that is also a brewery--drifted onto a dough that had been set aside for a while before baking; the dough would rise, not very much, perhaps, but enough to make the bread lighter and more appetizing than usual, and afterwards, as so often in the ancient world, inquiring minds set about the task of reproducing deliberately a process that had been discovered by accident.

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When the heat was sufficient the embers were raked out and the pieces of dough placed in the hollows and covered over.

In Jerusalem there was a bakers' quarter where bread was baked in tiers of stone-built ovens, or furnaces as they were called in the Bible.

The upper part, accessible from the top, was the baking chamber.

An oven of similar shape, but often constructed of hollowed stone instead of clay, was used by the early Jews.

Instead of placing the dough pieces for baking on the bottom or sole of the baking chamber, the Jews put the pieces on the sides.

Being damp and sticky they remained in place intil they had dried out, when they fell to the bottom of the oven.

A fire is kindled in the bottom and the dough is slapped against the hot interior walls, yielding curved disks of bread.

Many other sorts of oven have been discovered in Israeli excavations.

Kiple and Kriemhild Conee Ornelas, Volume 1 [Cambridge University Press: Cambridge] 2000 (p.

619-620) "It seems that the discovery of ale was stimulated by the process of bread-making.

The oven opening was closed with a large stone, sometimes sealed with clay.