Humans had processed and consumed wild cereal grains about 23,000 years ago. In 9500 BC, simple stone mechanisms were used for crushing a variety of cereals to remove the outer husks and make the grain edible. Later on, these ground grains were mixed with water to create an assortment of food that ranged from a thin gruel to a thick porridge. A bread-like crust would form when the paste was left to dry in the sun. The earliest bread took shape when wild yeast was combined with the powdered grains and water, where the fermentation process slightly raised the crust. Ancient bread evolved when man discovered use of wheat and barley, along with acquiring new skills of turning flour and water into palatable bread.

At present day, bread is a food staple in many cultures all over the world. Bread is typically made from wheat flour dough and yeast, left to rise and then baked in an oven. It can also be made from the flour of other wheat species such as spelt, emmer, einkorn and kamut and non-wheat cereals including rye, barley, maize (corn), oats, sorghum, millet and rice. Breads come in various shapes and sizes: bagels, rolls, buns, flatbreads and the like. While bread is the most common baked item, other types of bake goods include biscuits, brownies, cakes, cookies, crackers and pastries.

In 2020, fresh bread and rolls were the leading bakery products in the United States, generating around 13.95 billion U.S. dollars in sales. Cookies came in second place, with around 9.28 billion U.S. dollars worth of sales in 2020.. Grupo Bimbo was the leading vendor of fresh bread in the country in 2019. That year, 325 million Americans consumed bread nationwide.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 38 most important statistics relating to "Bread and bakery products".


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