The Earliest Bread

In Neolithic times, the main wheat crop was Emmer (Triticum dicoccum).  This wheat was grown throughout the Fertile Crescent, the area where farming seems to have originated around what is now Iran, Iraq Egypt and Syria.  Wheat would have been harvested and threshed by hand, using flint sickles and wooden sticks. Winnowing would also have been done by hand, using wicker basket trays.


Storage of grain was often in deep pits in the ground, covered over with clay and straw to exclude air and pests.  Grinding was done using flat stone querns and rubbing stones.  The resulting grist (course ground) could be used to make porridge and the flour (fine ground) could be used to bake into unleavened bread.

Hot stone baked Einkorn flour flatbreads - 8cm diameter

In addition to wheat flour, barley, oats, wild grasses and dried peas could also be ground into flour for cooking and baking.  Neolithic recipes do not exist as there were no understandable written references to cooking.  Archaeological evidence suggests that many forms of bread were cooked by mixing the flour with milk or water into a stiff dough and baking it on a hot stone slab over an open fire.  Such bread needs cooking as soon as it is mixed and it requires eating within an hour or so, before it becomes too dry and rubbery to be palatable.

Download the following .pdf recipes

Neolithic Bread
Blaanda Bread




Modern Recipes

Historical Recipes

Bread Links

Useful Information

This part of the Bread Pages looks at the key recipes that were used in different periods of history.

The Earliest Bread
Egyptian Bread
Roman Bread
Saxon/Norse Bread
Medieval Bread
Monastic Bread
Tudor Bread
17th Century
18th Century
19th Century
The Great War
World War 2

Different Flours