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The history of bread (and beer) making is the history of civilization. Over 10,000 years ago, bakers in Mesopotamia and Egypt were skilled in the production of “the staff of life.” Their knowledge spread to ancient Greece and Italy and then to the rest of Europe.

Breads can be made with no leavening, such as matzo and tortillas, which result in a very flat bread. Quick breads use baking soda, baking powder or eggs for leavening and usually require no kneading. Yeast breads in modern times are made with cultured yeasts, although originally wild strains of yeast accomplished the magic of bread rising (and fermentation).

A fairly recent development in bread making is the automatic bread machine. Although, the machines do not provide quite the panache of hand made artisan loaves, they can still turn out excellent, delicious breads with a minimum of effort.