Bakeries are establishments that produce and sell flour-based food baked in an oven, especially bread. The burden of making bread in a single-family home encourages the purchase of bread from a baker. Time saved is used by goodfolk to better improve their homes and lives in other ways. This is especially important in backcountry hexes, such as hamlets, where additional time allows residents to better forage or give more time to farm animals and crops. This increases the general food supply, and the variety of food, so that bakeries increase a region's collective health.
In rural settings, farmers pay for their bread with grain provided at harvest time, that allows an account of so many loaves per week throughout the year. Others, except the miller, who pays for bread with flour, must have coin. This makes the bakery in a hamlet or small village a most important facility, a reliable commercial concern and a matter of attention for the whole community. In towns and cities, the baker's guild brings bread to every home within the urban unit.
A bakery operation consists of two journeyfolk — qualified workers at the craft – and their families, with three apprentices younger than 16. The apprentices live in spaces above the bakery, with other stores, while the journeyfolk reside in nearby timbered houses. The total compliment, including extended family, is 4d4+3 persons (7-19).
Good construction desires the bakery to be nearly square rather than long and narrow; the latter makes for long runs from one end of the bakery to the other. The most common space is 25 ft. square, but 30 ft. on a side is better. The building is usually sunken five feet below street level to better contain the heat while enabling a faster cooling when the ovens are shut down.
A large clear space is left around the oven, or ovens, to allow the free play of the peel rod when anyone is working. Troughs are placed against the walls and away from the ovens. The bakery table is placed so that workers are able to work on all sides of it. Shelves for the bread are set against one wall, from floor to ceiling, so that customers can observe the product.
Hard wood is used throughout for the furnishings. The interior walls are made of glazed brick placed against a timber exterior. The floor is left of earth, which though less than desire, will stand up better to the constant heat than wood or brick. The latter has a tendency to crack, the pieces having a knack of getting loose. The earthen floor is regularly limed to put rats and mice off from burrowing.
The upper floor is living quarters for the apprentices and acts as a sales shop for the bread, which is kept in drawers to maintain it's freshness and protect it from pests. Patrons climb a low set of stairs to attain the shop.
A bakery makes use of some 280 lbs. of flour per day, including that which the bakery itself grinds. This is baked into 80 loaves that, with water included, weigh 320 lbs., at ½ to 2 lbs. per loaf. Adults in the 17th century ate between 1 and 1½ lbs. of bread per day., so that this amount is sufficient for 256 persons. Members of the baker's family carry bread to others in the hex, with more sold to travellers and the excess is broken and used as feed.
Bakers work from midnight until 11 a.m. or noon, ensuring that bread is ready for the start of people's day and that the hot work is not done in the middle of the day. The heat adjacent to the bakery as it's working would be noticable. The upper bakery remains open through the afternoon until the sun sets.
Bakeries, wherever they might be, are meeting places that provide some amenities for dining. At the base of the shop's entrance stairs, half-barrels for tables, with crates and benches for seating, are located under awnings. Patrons can sit to break small loaves of bread while drinking full steins of small beer. Either of these victuals can be purchased for 2 c.p. each. Patrons often bring small lumps of cheese or onions to cut while eating bread and discussing matters of the day.