Professional bakers have been around at least as far back as 3000 B.C.E., when the ancient Egyptian empire was flourishing. Artwork on ancient tombs, statuettes and other Egyptian artifacts depict scenes of large numbers of people kneading dough or baking loaves.
An excavation of a Giza bakery, circa 3000 B.C.E., shows that at that time, bakers used heavy pottery molds to make their breads; the molds were then placed on embers to bake. By about 1500 B.C.E., bakers were preparing bread in clay ovens. The process involved slapping a doughy disk onto a heated oven wall, then peeling it off when it was fully baked (and before it fell into the embers below) [source: Howard].
During the Middle Ages, European bakers were governed by craft guilds, which determined the price of a loaf of bread, fines for cheating and quality standards. At this point in time, people were typically eating unleavened bread. Since it was hard to chew and digest, bakers crafted these breads in thin disks that people used as plates. As they ate, their bread "plates" absorbed the juices from their foods so that eventually the "plate" could be easily downed [source: Newman].
Today, bakers still flourish, whether it's at a small cupcake shop or as part of a large chain of supermarkets.