Bread was first “leavened” by Egyptians approximately 6000 years ago. Leavened bread begins with a “starter” of combined flour and water which is slowly fermented over many hours. It wasn’t until the 1950s that commercialisation of bread started to revolutionise the bread making process.
Driven by mass production (and profit), large bread manufacturers started fast tracking the production process by adding the likes of commercial yeast, extra gluten, fats to improve crumb softness, reducing agents to help stretch the dough, emulsifiers to produce bigger, softer loaves and preservatives to extend the shelf life.
Many have argued that processed (or fast made) bread has had an adverse effect on the modern diet and may have contributed to ailments such as gluten intolerance, obesity, diabetes and other allergenic conditions.