The baker’s dozen is a unit of measurement that everyone can get excited about.
Sure, a decaliter can be just dandy, but if it’s a decaliter of prune juice, you might not be exactly ecstatic. But if something is measured in a baker’s dozen, it’s always gonna be something delightful; a baker’s dozen of bear claws, a baker’s dozen of donuts, a baker’s dozen of danishes.
But why exactly is a baker’s dozen not a dozen at all? the excessive measuring technique dates back to the Middle Ages in England. Back then, there were stern penalties for bakers who skimped on how much bread was in any given bag of bread sold to a customer. Before the rules were put in place, a baker could overprice an undersized loaf of bread and cheat their patrons out of some good ol’ gluten.
So, the baker’s dozen was born out of overcompensation. The rules required the baked good prices to directly correlate with the amount of flour used. But many bakers didn’t own scales, so it was pure pan-demonium. A baker would throw in an extra roll, or even two, just to make sure that they weren’t shorting their wheat-noshing commoners.
Article credit: Sam Benson Smith
Photo credit: stevemart