Why a baker’s dozen is 13

BAKER’S DOZEN: Always serving extra to avoid punishment

MANY societies throughout history had extremely strict laws concerning baker’s wares. For example in Ancient Egypt should a baker be found cheating someone their ear would be nailed to the door of their bakery.  In Babylon if a baker was found to have sold a ‘light loaf’ the baker’s hand would be chopped off.

Similarly, harsh measures could be historically found throughout Europe.  As it wasn’t that hard to accidentally cheat a customer, given the exacting standards required, bakers began giving more than outlined to make sure they went over and never under. In England it became common practice that if a customer ordered a dozen loaves of bread they would be given 13.  Likewise, when selling any quantity, 13 measures were given when only 12 were purchased.  This made sure the baker would never accidentally break the law and be subject to the severe punishments.

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