Elmira, NY. Henry Ulshred, once a baker to European royalty but who gave it up to pursue a dream, died yesterday in his adopted homeland at age 92. The cause of death was not announced.
Ulshred, who changed his name from Shrdlu when he became a royal baker, was obsessed early in his career with the possibility of baking a loaf of bread composed only of heels. Annoyed by a big brother who always took the heel when a loaf was opened, thereby leaving the normal slices to dry out one by one, Ulshred initially spent several unsuccessful hours each night after the baking was done trying to concoct that all-heel loaf.
After he became chief baker for the King of his native Western Rumelia, he discovered the monarch was disturbed if someone removed the heel while a loaf still had normal slices. When told of Ulshred's experiments, the king generously funded the research and field trips so Ulshred could meet with other experimenters, and even established a prize to be awarded upon the successful baking of an all-heel loaf.
Ulshred claimed on one occasion to have baked an all-heel loaf, but at only two inches thick and a foot long, judges rejected it as not a genuine loaf.
Close associates reported that on his deathbed, mumbling in a deep delirium, he seemed to be dreaming that he had finally baked that impossible loaf, and expired with a smile on his face.
The prize the king established remains unclaimed, and backyard bakers still try to produce what has come to be called the Ulshred Loaf.