The Jews also had fixed ovens in some of their houses, frequently in the main rooms.These ovens or hearths took the form of clay-covered hollows in the floor which were heated with burning wood.But there is an alternative and even more likely theory-that on some occasion ale instead of water was used to mix the dough.The rise would be more spectacular than from a few errant spores and the effect would be easy to explain and equally easy to reproduce." ---Food in History, Tannahill (p.Sources generally agree the discovery of the powers of yeast was accidental."No one has yet managed to date the origins of beer with any precision, and it is probably an impossible task.For six thousand years and more it is the oven, however crude or complex, which has transformed the sticky wet dough into bread.
These ovens were heated by the familiar method of burning wood in the baking chamber, raking out the ashes and putting in the dough to bake.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.51-52) "The brewing of beer may well have occurred soon after the production of cereal crops, and no doubt for a long time beer was home-produced and in the hands of housewives responsible for preparing the gruel or bread..first production of beer may be reasonably considered as an accidental discovery resulting for the malting of grain for other purposes." ---Food in Antiquity: A Survey of the Diet of Early Peoples, Don Brothwell and Patricia Brothwell, expanded edition [Johns Hopkins: Maryland] 1998 (p.166) On the Web Recommended reading: English Bread and Yeast Cookery, Elizabeth David Six Thousand Years of Bread, H. Jacob The Story of Bread, Ronald Sheppard and Edward Newton Ancient ovens & baking "The most important part of the baker's equipment is, and always has been, his oven.
A Hebrew signifying a "young woman ", unmarried as well as married, and thus distinct from bethulah , "a virgin" (see Hebrew Lexicons ).