Why the baker starts their day at 4am.

I’ve known a few people who were bakers. They all got up extremely early. Why is this so prevalent in the baker culture?

It’s the ratchet of innovation at work.

Once upon a time, it was enough to be the only baker in a small town. People would get up, come over and buy their bread. If it was slightly stale, or not baked fresh in the last hour, too bad there were no other choices.

Then competition came in.

It may have been another small town baker, or a baker starting in the next town over who makes great, fresh bread. This other baker woke up early, so he could get to the bakery and have the bread come out of the oven right as people start arriving, rather than baking the night before and strolling in to unlock the door.

The warm bread, the smell, it gave an entirely different feel to the new competitor. One that was impossible to ignore.

In order to stay in business, the other baker had to adapt to these methods too. Fast forward centuries, and it’s hard to find a baker who doesn’t start his day around 4am. It’s become expected, rather than a delight.