What's in a Name?: A Baker’s Dozen

  • Nov 09, 2015

If you’ve ever been to a bakery and gazed longingly at the gourmet cupcakes calling to you from behind the glass or the doughnut offerings all dressed up in delicious glazes, you know that sometimes a dozen just isn’t enough. In this case, it’s wise to order a baker’s dozen.

As part of our “What’s in a name?” series, we’re looking at the origin of the baker’s dozen, which is 13 items as opposed to 12. The concept came about because societies throughout history saw early bakers trying to cheat their patrons. As a result, these societies created strict laws with extreme penalties regarding baker’s wares. The practice of baking 13 items helped bakers stay on the right side of the law.

In medieval times, some penalties ranged from having a hand chopped off to having your ear nailed to the bakery door, though not all bakers were cheating on purpose. Without today’s modern measuring and baking tools, for instance, it was difficult to make a loaf of bread with the requisite amount of wheat. By giving customers a baker’s dozen, early bakers ensured that they never went under the requirements. (Fun fact: Some bakers did cheat the system by adding sand to the bread loaf in order to get the weight just right.)

Isn’t it nice that baking has evolved? (For one thing, you never have to worry about your ears!) Also, modern-day tools, such as Welcome Home Brands bakeware allow you to be more efficient and innovative than ever before. Plus, if you can’t decide on 12 doughnuts, you can just order one more.

Photo credit to www.wonderopolis.org

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