I think they use 'il pane' to insure clarification that it is not plural breads. Because 'pane' can be used to mean breads. Perhaps Italians use the definite article 'il' a bit differently than we would use 'the' in english. For instance 'the table' must be described with 'the' in this sentence, we couldn't say 'they put the bread on table,' it has to be 'the' table. Maybe saying 'il pane' matters for some reason. An example I thought of: they would say 'i pesci' to indicate plural fish. The same is true for hair, they would say 'i capelli' wherein we would simply say 'hair'.