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elewis

Fresh Bread

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elewis

Using this weekends free acces to FMP and searching the local newspapers came across an item that had me rather puzzled.

On the 8th August 1918 PC Webb caught George Stanley, the village baker, selling new bread that was still warm.

Poor George was charged, found guilty and fined 7s 6d.

His defence was that due to the number of visitors he had run out of stale bread and had to sell the new.
The judge said if he had no stale bread the customers should go short, he should not sell fresh bread !!.

[The word stale was used a couple of times in the items, and must refer to cold bread made over a certain time previously, not what we would now consider stale].
Who reported this terrible crime ? Edward Horlick from a neighbouring village, who just happened to be a baker and hence a competitor of George Stanley - by the exchanges between the pair there was no love lost between them.

I do not know if it was related to some war time rationing rule (my suspicion) or a very strange law I have never heard of.

With no evidence to support my theory I wonder if it was illegal to sell fresh bread as due to smell and warmth making it much more tempting, therefore people would eat more of it when there was a limited supply of flour to make bread.

Has anybody come across anything like this previously or have any information?.

Evan

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Andrew Upton

I do not know if it was related to some war time rationing rule (my suspicion) or a very strange law I have never heard of.

With no evidence to support my theory I wonder if it was illegal to sell fresh bread as due to smell and warmth making it much more tempting, therefore people would eat more of it when there was a limited supply of flour to make bread.

There is something on the forum somewhere where this has been discussed before - essentially, fresh bread weighs more due to the presence of moisture, thus if sold as such on a weight basis you basically get less for your money.

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johnboy

Bread was not rationed, but steps were taken to decrease its consumption. The government issued an order saying bread could not be sold to a customer until at least twelve hours after it was baked. The thinking behind this rationale was that fresh bread was very difficult to cut thinly, and people would therefore consume more if the slices were thick. Furthermore, the more appetising taste of fresh-baked bread was more likely to encourage people to eat it 'immoderately'.

Another measure was to replace the ordinary white variety of loaf with a 'national loaf' made from wholemeal grain. We now look upon this as a healthier option, but at the time most people disliked the taste and found its colour unappetising, while many housewives blamed it for a variety of digestion problems.

from information supplied by the
Association of Master Bakers
During the war, bread had, by law, to be sold by weight, not by loaf. In order to be sure not to break the law, bakers weighed out or gave away extra little pieces of bread like tiny rolls with the loaves that they sold. According to my mother - see the Bakeries page - these were known as makeweights. Children - who used to go on errands to the bakers - were usually allowed to eat these makeweights on the way home.

From 1900.org .uk

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elewis

I have got to the stage where I half expect the forum to resolve military questions or find "missing" men, however obscure or vague the information is.

But to get 2 answers about "Fresh bread" at this time of night is amazing, while searching old items as suggested by Andrew Upton along comes Johnboy with an excellent fuller response. Many thanks both.

Previous posts had mentioned the weight of fresh bread being heavier (and 13 loaf "bakers dozens" to avoid the problem as it cooled and dried - but this originated in medieval times). Also a TV program discussing the 'National Loaf' of WW2, where it was mentioned that bakers were not permitted to sell bread until it was a day old ostensibly because bread fresh from the oven was likely to be scoffed too freely and quickly.

Some thing else learnt, cheers guys.

Evan

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Jamjar90

Just picking up this thread I gave been researching the story of wheat and bread in the Great War and a fascinating story it is turning out to be! The world needed to feed its people and for the vast majority of working people bread was a staple part of their diet. There was a general shortage of foodstuffs and wheat and flour in particular. In the UK it was a question of how to fairly feed as many people as possible. For various social and economic reasons rationing was to be avoided and so various other methods were employed. One of these was the Bread Order 1917 which stipulated that bread had to be more than 12 hours old before sale. It had far reaching consequences for the baking trade. The baker was required to ensure his loaf weighed a minimum weight after 12 hours and the price he could charge was set. This brought enormous challenges for the baker in judging moisture levels and consequently the weight of his loaf intended for sale. The intention was not for stale loaves to be sold but invariably this may have happened with the challenges for bakers and the fact that many skilled bakers had signed up. Housewives, indeed everyone, was called upon to save bread and cutting thinner slices was one way this could be achieved.

Saving wheat/flour had further knock on effects for feeding animals which impacted milk, butter and meat production. Saving wheat and putting resources into the continued supply of bread also impacted beer production!

With regard to one baker informing on another, it did happen, competition was fierce. Whilst there was an element of patriotism, some saw the opportunities to make money and for others it was a matter of survival.

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SiegeGunner

Saving wheat and putting resources into the continued supply of bread also impacted beer production!

Not sure how much wheat would be saved by interfering with beer production, given that most beer, then and now, was/is made with barley. Wheat beer is excellent stuff, but I doubt whether much of it was made in Britain around the time of the Great War. There's also no conflict between using barley for brewing and for feeding beef cattle, as one of the staple feeds for cattle is (or was) 'brewer's grains', a residue or by-product of brewing.

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geraint

See the Profiteering thread that I've just bumped up!

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Jamjar90

Ok,

Deep in the research at the present just going through the Bread Order 1918! Ok first the wheat was being mixed with other cereals including barley so shortage all round. The wheat and other cereals were being milled at a higher percentage which meant more of the grain was being retained in the flour which meant less offal (remaining part of the grain) which was used to feed animals. Studies had been carried out about the efficacy of feeding different live stocks and the nutritional value to be had from bread versus beef and pork! There was also a need to divert yeast to bread making rather than brewing. We were 6 weeks away from "starvation" , there were bread riots across Europe and the Russian Revolution had been so ignited, this was a much bigger issue than historians have do far shown. It went to the wire if it was a choice between feeding the people and making arms the Government said the people should be fed!

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Andy Wade

From the Herbert A France archive at Keighley Library:

post-9980-0-66790900-1421243944_thumb.jp

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elewis

All,

thanks for more goodies relating to my original "obscure" post!.

Jamjar90,

"I have been researching the story of wheat and bread in the Great War and a fascinating story it is turning out to be", with great respect on initial face value that sounds a boring subject but seeing how even this small thread has developed and what I have learnt I am sure it has very many twists and turns and will be fascinating. When you have finished your research if possible putting a summary on here would be much appreciated.

Siege Gunner, thanks for the item about beer (a subject that always interests me :thumbsup: )

Andy, thanks for putting up that poster.

Geraint, very many thanks for bumping the Profiteering thread and mentioning it here as the two tie in well together and it is a fascinating read.

I live out in the country and know some of the stories about rabbits from around the time of WWII so I am certain that exactly the same happened in WWI and that most would have made it into local cooking pots .

Evan

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elewis

The Farming and WWI thread

 

links to a NFU page http://www.nfuonline.com/the-few-that-fed-the-many-ww1-report/ which also ties in with the wheat and bread issue and looks a good read.

Two extracts relating to Wheat are -

"On August 4 1914, Britain had enough wheat to last for 125 days. Government was importing around 78 per cent

of wheat and flour along with 40 per cent of meat."

"1916 was a bleak year; severe weather resulted in a poor harvest leaving Britain with six weeks’ worth of wheat"

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michaeldr

There's more on bread and its price inflation etc here in this old thread: see

 

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elewis

Many thanks for that link.

The fact that Australia and Canada had lots of wheat but the problems was shipping it to the UK is yet another factor in the story. It gets more fascinating the more I read on this subject.

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ColinP

This is an amazing consequence ! I happened to be in Poole Museum and came across a ledger for the Weights and Measures prosecutions for 1918, I was actually drawn to the name Gulliver and sons as Isaac Gullver is a well known........business man of the sea.........

having come across this forum in asking the question why would someone be prosecuted for selling a loaf under 12 hours old I came across the poster for the ‘National Loaf’ and made the connection with my Paternal Step Grandfather, one HG Lee, of Lambeth Master Baker and President of the National Assoc of Bakers and Confectioners (1933). Family folklore has it that he left Britain with a note in his passport signed by the King to travel in ‘occupied Europe’ and research various recipes of bread and patisserie (I have his notebook) and further advised the Ministry of Food on ingredients for the National Loaf!!!!!!

so thankyou for this valuable information from an incident visit to the museum in a cold Monday lunch hour!!!!

2B444FE5-F8FF-4957-BCBD-742007E3C409.jpeg

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BullerTurner

One expects esoteric questions on weapons, formations, uniforms or medals to be batted out of the ground on here.  However this treatment of a bread related, "fast ball" leaves me humbled and very, very impressed.  I bloody love this forum.

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