Baking is one of the key elements in the culinary world. No meal can be complete without bread or desert. It has been a part of human culture even before the sugar rush started in the sixteenth century. Although baking culture evolved independently across the world the last few decades have seen unimaginable fusion in the baking art. Baking has been a steady career and will continue to be one as long as people love breaking freshly baked items. If you’re looking for the answer to Is baking a good career? The answer is a big scrumptious YES!
Before we get into why baking is a great career choice let’s check out what baking actually means and what the prospects are.
Pastries are art, bakers are artists
Baking in its general definition is the process of producing food items using an oven. The oven part is a big deal because you can’t bake anything without one. There are other special features to baking such as preparing dough, measuring sugar and other condiments. However the basic process is preparing dough and putting it in the oven. Don’t be fooled, it’s a lot more complicated than it sounds. The person conducting this whole process is known as a baker. Depending on specialisation they can also be called pastry chefs. We’ve got a course on pastry chef training if you are interested. The average annual salary is £24000 according to Indeed.
Two types of bakers are seen across cities, and here’s what they do.
1. Commercial bakers
Also known as production bakers, these individuals work in industrial scale facilities that produce breads, pastries, and other baked products. These facilities function using high-volume mixing machines and industrial ovens. Other equipment may include conveyor belts and sugaring spraying machines which may be automated, to mass-produce standardized baked goods. The whole process of commercial baking is tightly controlled and follows strict procedures, so commercial bakers do not get to experiment like their retail counterparts.
Here’s a little peak into the workstation of a professional baker, in this video Bread and pastry baking on a professional deck and rack oven.
2. Retail bakers
More commonly known as local shop bakers, retail bakers work primarily in grocery stores or specialty shops known as bakeries. In these arrangements, they produce a smaller volume of baked goods for people to dine-in, for sale as specialty baked goods and as special orders. Retail bakers produce custom baked goods as per the customers requirement. Although the quantities prepared and sold in these stores can never match up to the industrial facilities, they usually offer a wide variety of flavors with unique shapes and sizes.
A day at the bakery
Baking is a complicated process, whether you’re doing for the first time or the hundredth. There are numerous things to do at a bakery. We’ve tried to summarise the duties of a baker as clearly as we could.
15 reasons to take up professional baking
Here’s 15 reasons to consider baking as a reliable career option, you decide is baking a good career.
1. You become an expert in all things bread
Being a good baker is no easy feat. It takes patience and practice. However, if you can learn it properly then people can earn respect alongside your pay cheque. Believe it or not baking skills are something flaunt. With increasing expertise you can not only make fabulous items yourself but help out your friends and relatives eager to try their hand at baking.
2. Working as a team
Working at a bakery is great fun, most of the time. Under a bakers roof people with various sorts of abilities come together to produce quality items that warm up the heart. Hence, teamwork is absolutely essential in such a place. Working in a team comes with it’s own benefits and setbacks but that’s part of every enterprise.
While some members cut and do oven work with finesse, others make the perfect dough each time. Once you get familiar with the team, it’s a great pleasure to work together.
3. The dough is in your control
Preparing the dough is one of the crucial steps in baking. There’s no way you can dish out perfect baked goods if your dough isn’t up to the mark. To get the best outcome, you need to be in complete control of the dough. For beginners this is perhaps the toughest part of the job. However once you get the hang of it, preparing dough will be your favorite part of the day. There is nothing more satisfying than making delicious dough everytime day in and day out.
4. There are a lot of variables
If you like a good challenge in the first hour shift baking has you covered in that regard. There is rarely a dull moment in baking. A new challenge is always around the corner. Things like a change in flour consistency, the temperature, demanding production targets, a new piece of equipment or even a new recipe can switch up all the rules.
While some of these arise through no fault of the baker, the pressure is still on them to create outstanding products each and every time. Your clients and customers rely on your bread quality. If you are up for making quick decisions and on the fly problem-solving then baking is just the right career to keep you on your toes.
5. The working hours are flexible
Baking times differ from city to city and even shop to shop. Every bakery has its own routine and bakers work accordingly. Baking shifts can be anything from early morning shifts to all night shifts. It all depends on the kind of products the bakery makes.
The plus side here is you can exploit your speed to save time. If you’re able to meet the production quota early, then you can just leave early and still make the same amount of money. The bottom line is baking is no 9 to 5 deal and that is a prime reason people choose to become bakers.
6. Formal education is not mandatory
Formal education although appreciated is hardly sought after in the baking industry. As long as you’ve graduated high school you can work as a baker almost anywhere. The important part is to not just attend a fancy school for baking, rather possess a genuine interest in baking. Many renowned bakeries train and employ individuals with no formal training whatsoever.
If you do have formal training it will definitely make a difference. Understanding the science behind the whole process reduces redundant actions and makes problem-solving a lot easier. So if you want to become a world class pastry chef at a Michelin Star restaurant then you should put in the time for formal education to boost your baking to the next level. You can try out online courses such as Baking and Cake decoration to expand on your skills.
7. Baking is a progressive career
There was a time when baking was considered a no brain job. Oh, how the times have changed. Baking is actually more popular among smart people nowadays as it’s considered an art form. Global connectivity and sophisticated baking techniques make it possible for you to become famous in this art form. Needless to say being a renowned baker not only gets your picture in the newspaper, it also gets you in the same room with influential people who will admire and endorse your work.
With the rise of the internet, people now wish for baked items from halfway across the globe and if you can deliver these items locally you are sure to become the town craze.
8. Own your bakery business
Bakeries are the best type of low-cost start-ups one can think of. With low running costs, and limited investments all you need is an oven to start baking. When you own the bakery you work at, the environment is much more permissive for experimenting. The plus side is you get to decide what to bake, create your own recipes and serve your local customers with a smile.
Check out our blog on A Complete List of Cake Baking Equipment that Every Baker Needs
9. Never ending search of self development in bread baking
You will often find yourself critiquing baked items in restaurants bakeries to sample and gain inspiration for your own products. IThe learning process is never-ending! There is always a way to improve, a new technique to learn, a different way of adding the ingredients, new equipment to try and even new flavours to explore. The options for switching things up are endless.
10. See the world whilst baking
Travelling the world as a professional baker is nothing unheard of. You get to experience different cultures and learn new tricks for baking. To become a renowned baker we believe this is important to be honest. To become a world class baker you’ll need experience with baking across the world. So if you’re up for it, don’t hesitate to look for job opportunities abroad. You’ll get to share your experiences and meet new people. Working in Paris, San Francisco, or Sicily is a dream for many, and it can become real through baking.
11. Great smells
There aren’t many people who don’t appreciate the smell of freshly baked bread. A bakery is always filled with smells of fresh flour, condiments and processed dough. But the most iconic smell comes from the oven filled with prepared dough.
Bakeries are perhaps one of the nicest smelling work places in the world only coming second to barbeque places.
12. Mental health
If you love what you do, there’s very little stress involved at the workplace. This contributes to better mental health. Furthermore bakeries are peaceful places where the only sound is that of dough being prepared and ovens being stoked. These are soothing sounds that infer clarity and calm.
Being a professional baker gives you autonomy and allows you to get creative, if your experiments pan out right. You can change the way you organise the bakeries layout or the order in which you prepare your ingredients as it suits your needs. These skills aren’t optional for any professional baker and definitely not for head bakers.
14. Baking bread is great exercise
Baking is physically demanding work no doubt about it. You have to stand for long hours and work your hands almost non stop. During a shift bakers rarely get the time to sit and relax. The batches are prepared to utilis every second the oven burns and that means you are constantly on the move. If you like working with your hands and love the touch of flour and baking powder, baking is where you belong.
15. You can eat your work
The most rewarding part of baking is perhaps the part where you get to taste your delicious creations. Not only that you can share these chunks of pleasure with loved ones and friends. Which is why most bakers bake at home as well. It’s a double reward all the way.
We hope you’ve already found more than one reason to pursue a career in baking. It’s a fulfilling line of work that involves little to no interactions with customers depending on your preference. You can greet your customers or just put a smile on their face from beyond the oven. Either way you’ll go home happy knowing you’ve made someone’s day a bit more special with sugary magic and a whole lot of love.
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