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A batch is a loaf baked with several others in one large tin, so that as they cook their sides partially merge together, and the finished loaves when separated have a crustless side or sides. Batch originated, probably in Anglo-Saxon times, as an abstract noun derived from the verb bake, and to begin with it meant simply ‘baking’. By the fifteenth century it had become specialized to ‘quantity of bread made at one baking’, and in the seventeenth century it was even used for ‘bread’ itself (‘Those blest with the true batch of life may ever rest so satisfied,’ Earl of Westmorland, Otia Sacra, 1648), but the term batch bread, the forerunner of the present-day batch loaf, is not recorded before the 1860s. (The extension of batch from ‘amount of baked goods produced at one time’ to ‘amount of anything produced at one time’ probably took place in the late seventeenth century.)

Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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