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The oven opening was closed with a large stone, sometimes sealed with clay.
Ovens which worked on this principle, but were constructed of bricks or small stones, may still be seen in the ruined city of Pompeii.
There is no question that fermentation takes place accidentally (as it must have done countless times before humans learned something about controlling the process), and most investigators believe that barley was first cultivated in the Fertile Crescent region of lower Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
Grain is heavy to transport relative to the beer made from it, so it is not surprising that there may be evidence of ale in these outposts and not unreasonable to suspect that accidental fermentation did occur at some point in the ancient Mesopotamian region, leading to beer making." ---Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F.
This was a beehive- or barrel-shaped container of baked clay, usually divided into two by a central horizontal partition.
The lower section formed the fire-box in which were burned pieces of dried wood, foten taken from the Nile, or even dried animal dung.
Instead of placing the dough pieces for baking on the bottom or sole of the baking chamber, the Jews put the pieces on the sides.
Although some of the early Roman ovens had chimnesy to improve the draught and carry away steam, it was many centuries before chimneys were commonly used or dampers incorporated so that the heat could be more effectively controlled." ---The Story of Bread, Ronald Sheppard & Edward Newton [Charles T. 107-109) ""When I break your staff ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and shall deliver your bread again by weight; and you shall eat, and not be satsified." ---Lev. This type of oven may have been a small earthenware cylindar called tannur in the Bible as it is by present-day rural north Africans who still use it.
When the heat was sufficient the embers were raked out and the pieces of dough placed in the hollows and covered over.
In Jerusalem there was a bakers' quarter where bread was baked in tiers of stone-built ovens, or furnaces as they were called in the Bible.
Sources generally agree the discovery of the powers of yeast was accidental.
"No one has yet managed to date the origins of beer with any precision, and it is probably an impossible task.