The first bread was probably baked on flat stones placed over an open fire. There is evidence to show that this method of cooking is very ancient, but grinding grain to make flour is one of the indicators of a Neolithic culture. Baking bread started about 4500 BC.
Eventually, it was discovered that if a pot was placed over the stone, then the bread would cook quicker and more evenly. This was the introduction of the Kettle oven.
It was not long before custom made clay ovens were in use. These had a bell shape, with an opening in the top through which to place the dough. A fire under the oven or embers stacked around the oven provided heat.
The early Egyptians were probably the first people to make brick or clay ovens with a side opening. These oven were filled with fuel which was burned for a couple of hours. The embers were scraped out, the oven floor dusted clean and the bread dough placed in. A door was used to retain heat during baking.
Around the late medieval to Tudor period, this method of baking was refined to place the fire below the oven, allowing heat to be maintained for several baking cycles. This change was a significant improvement in oven technology.
By the 1830's, Cooking ranges and kitcheners where being produced in large quantities from cast iron. A fire in the middle heated the oven, a warming box and often a water tank. This gave a great deal of scope for small households to cook a wider range of foods more efficiently, including bread and pies.