The preparation of bread as an article of food dates from a very early period. (Genesis 18:6) The corn or grain employed was of various sorts. The best bread was made of wheat, but "barley" and spelt were also used. (John 6:9,13; Isaiah 28:25) The process of making bread was as follows: the flour was first mixed with water or milk; it was then kneaded with the hands (in Egypt with the feet also) in a small wooden bowl or "kneading-trough" until it became dough. (Exodus 12:34,39; 2 Samuel 13:3; Jeremiah 7:18) When the kneading was completed, leaven was generally added [Leaven]; but when the time for preparation was short, it was omitted, and unleavened cakes, hastily baked, were eaten as is still the prevalent custom among the Bedouins. ((Genesis 18:6; 19:3; Exodus 12:39; Judges 6:19; 1 Samuel 28:24) The leavened mass was allowed to stand for some time, (Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:21) the dough was then divided into round cakes, (Exodus 29:23; Judges 7:13; 8:5; 1 Samuel 10:3; Proverbs 6:26) not unlike flat stones in shape and appearance, (Matthew 7:9) comp. Matt 4:8 About a span in diameter and a finger's breadth in thickness. In the towns where professional bakers resided, there were no doubt fixed ovens, in shape and size resembling those in use among ourselves; but more usually each household poured a portable oven, consisting of a stone or metal jar, about three feet high which was heated inwardly with wood, (1 Kings 17:12; Isaiah 44:15; Jeremiah 7:18) or dried grass and flower-stalks. (Matthew 6:30)
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