Barm is the English term for starter. It is derived from the term 'barmy' which means tipsy, or ditzy. This is because of the alcohol!
The liquid alcohol layer referred to as 'hooch' comes from an Native American tribe called Hoochinoo. The Hoochinoo used to trade supplies with Alaskan gold miners for the 'hooch' off the top of their sourdough starters.
San Francisco sourdough bread owes its distinct flavor to a bacterium unique to the area which has its very own name: Lactobacillus sanfrancisco.
Egyptians were one of the first civilizations to capture and use wild yeast and bacteria for bread leavening. The Egyptains were known by their neighbors as "The Bread Eaters". Bread was their primary food and was even used as a form of currency. They also made beer with it. Many hieroglyphics even depict production of beer and bread!
The ancient Greeks were already producing more than 80 types of bread in 2500 B.C.
The Romans kneaded their dough with horse-driven mixers.
The word 'supper' comes from the Frankish word 'suppa' and later the English word 'sop'. This came about from the use of bread to 'sop-up' the last of a soup or meal during the Roman Empire.
Bakers were powerful credit brokers during the middle ages in France. They often loaned out bread as currency and as a form of credit. King Louis IV said, "He who controls a nation's bread is a greater ruler than he who controls their souls."
By 1850 there were already 2,017 bakeries in the U.S.A.
During the California Goldrush (1849, near San Francisco), gold prospectors were nicknamed 'sourdoughs'. This is because miners and settlers closely guarded their sourdough starter in a pouch around their neck or belt (to keep it warm and alive). This term is still used when referring to an Alaskan old-timer!