Bread is a powerful connection to our Italian roots; rarely is there an Italian meal served that does not include bread. Bread is one of the oldest foods that has stayed on modern menus. Food historians believe that humans have been making bread for more than 10,000 years! The first bread was unleavened, much like a tortilla shell or flatbread. Accidentally, that bread sometimes would contain wild yeast, which fermented the batch. This fermented bread became the ancestor of almost all the modern bread you see today.
The ancient Egyptians mastered the process of producing leavened breads and controlling the addition of yeast nearly 7000 years ago, leading to the introduction of bread bakeries that offered sourdough bread as well (made by saving sections of the best doughs to the next day’s batch).
In Italy, the huge popularity of brick ovens throughout time has contributed a great deal to the abundance of bread making. Round ovens built from brick or local stone have been around in Italy for centuries. Unlike most other nations, where individuals infrequently owned full rights to use an oven, ovens in Italy were often owned by families and were smaller than typical ovens worldwide.