Food, Food science

Why is baker’s dozen 13?

All of us know that a dozen means twelve. But did you know that the phrase ‘baker’s dozen’ means thirteen?

According to the most widely accepted theory, the origin of this phrase can be traced back to England during the 13th century. Assize of Bread and Ale was a medieval law which regulated the price, weight and quality of the bread. The price of bread was determined by the price of wheat.

Bakers would sometimes cheat by selling an undersized loaf of bread at a higher price. King Henry III brought about a law to punish such offenders. They would be either fined or even be subjected to flogging (beaten with a whip or stick).

Being wary of the punishment, bakers started to put in an extra loaf of bread so that the total weight of bread wouldn’t fall short. An order of 12 loaves of bread would essentially fetch 13 loaves of bread, counting the one extra.    

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References
  1. https://www.britannica.com/demystified/why-is-a-bakers-dozen-13
  2. http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/Bakers-dozen.html
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assize_of_Bread_and_Ale