baker’s dozen

baker’s dozen [bey-kers duhzuhn] noun

Thirteen items, not the typical 12, makes up a baker’s dozen. It is believed the phrase harkens back to medieval England where bakers would be penalized if they sold a dozen loaves of bread that did not weigh the recommended amount. The practice of giving an extra loaf may have originated even further back. In 1266, Henry III revived an older rule that regulated the price of bread according to the price of wheat. Bakers or brewers who shorted their customers could be fined or even flogged.


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The term Baker’s Dozen also refers to a group of San Francisco area bakers founded in 1989 by cookbook author and teacher Marion Cunningham and then-bakery-owner Amy Pressman. In 2001, The Baker’s Dozen Cookbook was published, produced by some of the most respected bakers in the Bay Area: Flo Braker, John Phillip Carroll, Julia B. Cookenboo, Marion Cunningham, Carol Field, Fran Gage, David Lebovitz, Alice Medrich, Robert Morocco, Peter Reinhart, Lindsey Remolif Shere, Kathleen Stewart and Carolyn Beth Weil.

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