Do you have what it takes to be a professional baker? More importantly, is it something you would enjoy doing day after day?
If you have always loved to bake it is possible that you could make a living at it in a number of different ways. Culinary school is always a good idea but if you are determined and talented you may be able to do well without any formal education at all. There are online degrees, degrees from culinary school, community college, and a variety of other ways to hone your craft.
A Baker’s Skill Set
Bakers, no matter what they plan to specialize in, need a basic set of skills that include:
- Following recipes
- Mixing ingredients
- Proportions of ingredients and their chemical reactions
- Basic use of baking equipment
- Icings, fillings, and cake decoration
- Health and sanitation, food safety, and permits
Knowing about these things ensures that a baker is successful, not only with dough and ingredients, but with the practicalities that are imperative to a baker’s success.
While a degree isn’t absolutely necessary there are several to choose from and they can help you achieve your goals more quickly that if you were self taught. For example, many bakers would not necessarily consider business and financial degrees and yet these give any business owner the knowledge that allows them to figure their cost and profit as well as other figures that are important to the business aspect of baking. After all, if you don’t know how to manage the business side of things it is unlikely that you’ll stay in business very long.
Production techniques help to keep your business running smoothly and help you to get consistent results in your product. This builds you reputation as a quality bakery and gives your customers confidence that they will get what they want every, single time. Keeping up with the newest techniques means that you’ll be able to produce your products faster, easier, and more inexpensively than ever before.
A degree also lets potential employers see that you are serious about your chosen field.
Careers in Baking
So with or without the degree what are the possible careers that you could follow in baking?
A bakery chef oversees the daily operations in a bakery or the bakery area of a restaurant. They manage and train employees, order supplies, and handle quality control. A bakery chef is the acting manager that handles all of the aspects of running a bakery.
Bread bakers specialize in all kinds of yeast doughs. They understand special techniques such as sour dough and laminated dough, creating various dishes with these skills. A bread baker might work at a restaurat, bakery, or even a commercial bakery. They will not only make the bread but they will also develop new recipes.
A pastry chef specializes in pastries such as pies and desserts. They may decorate beautiful cakes, create elaborate plated desserts or work on beautiful pastries. The pastry chef needs advanced skills and often goes back to school to learn the newest techniques and trends
One way to achieve your goals is to start small. In many states you can bake from your home. More than one bakery has started out in the kitchen of a suburban home and graduated to a storefront later on. Doing it this way allows you to develop a loyal customer base before you open a brick and mortar shop. You can sell to friends locally as well as set up your own website and take orders from the Internet.
In what ever way you decide to proceed learn everything you can. Talk to others who have grown their own bakery business and learn from their experience. With persistence, determination, attention to quality you’ll be able to turn your dreams into a reality.