How Was Fermentation Done in Ancient Times?

Fermentation is a process that has been used for thousands of years to preserve food and drinks. In ancient times, the process was not fully understood, but it was used extensively to make bread, beer, wine, cheese and other fermented foods. Let’s explore how fermentation was done in ancient times.


Bread is one of the oldest fermented foods in human history. The ancient Egyptians were some of the first to discover the process of making bread.

They would mix flour with water and let it sit for days until it began to ferment. This process would create a sourdough starter that they would use to make their bread rise.

In ancient Greece and Rome, bakers would use a similar process to create their own unique sourdough starter. They would mix flour and water together in a clay pot and let it sit for several days until it began to bubble. Once the starter was ready, they would add more flour and water and knead the dough before baking it.


Beer has been around for thousands of years and was an important part of many ancient cultures. In fact, beer was considered a staple food in some societies because it provided valuable nutrients that were difficult to obtain from other sources.

The ancient Egyptians were also known for their beer-making skills. They would use barley as their primary ingredient and add spices like coriander or juniper berries to give the beer its distinct flavor. To ferment the beer, they would leave the mixture out in the open air where wild yeasts could work their magic.

In Europe, monks played an important role in developing new techniques for brewing beer. They discovered that adding hops could help preserve the beer by inhibiting bacteria growth during fermentation. This discovery led to the creation of modern beer as we know it today.

  • Wine
  • Cheese


Fermentation was a vital process in ancient times that helped to preserve food and drinks. While the ancients may not have fully understood the science behind fermentation, they were able to develop techniques that are still used today. Whether it was bread, beer, wine, or cheese, fermentation played an important role in shaping human history and continues to be a valuable tool for preserving food.