Nobody underestimates the importance of bread, but it turns out it could be older than previously thought.

At 14,400 years old, the Oldest bread was discovered by University of Copenhagen Archaeological Research Group in the Black Desert, Jordan, before its age was reviewed on 12 June.

Stone-made sunken structure where the bread was found

Archaeologists found evidence of crumbs dating back more than 14 millennia in a stone fireplace at a site in north-eastern Jordan.

The bread found is believed to have looked like a flatbread and after analysis was discovered to be made made from wild cereals like barley, einkorn and oats.

Ali Shakaiteer and Dr Amaia Arranz-Otaegui

Not only are the crumbs older than pieces previously thought to be oldest (around 9,000 years old), but were way before farming developed, leading researchers to believe cereals could have been cultivated and helped humans transition from just hunting.

Grinding of club rush for experimental production of flour

"The 24 remains analysed in this study show that wild ancestors of domesticated cereals such as barley, einkorn, and oat had been ground, sieved and kneaded prior to cooking," said Dr Amaia Arranz-Otaegui from the University of Copenhagen.

"The remains are very similar to unleavened flatbreads identified at several Neolithic and Roman sites in Europe and Turkey. So we now know that bread-like products were produced long before the development of farming."

Microscopic image of a bread-like product found at the site

Dr Arranz-Otaegui said the process to make the bread included "grinding cereals and club-rush tubers to obtain fine flour, mixing of flour with water to produce dough and baking the dough in the hot ashes of a fireplace or in a hot flat-stone".

For a really ancient meal, then the ideal companion to the Oldest bread is the Oldest cheese.

The oldest residue of solid cheese is 3,200 years old, dating back to the 13th century BC. It was found in the tomb for Ptahmes, the mayor of the ancient city of Memphis in Egypt.

A few milligrams of the sample were analysed after being found in a broken jar and described as a "solidified whitish mass", and helped chemists determine that it was a solid dairy product obtained by mixing the milk of cows with that of sheep or goats.