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How to become a baker: Guide to starting a baking career

24/11/2023

Are you thinking about becoming a baker but don’t know where to start? Maybe you’re not sure what skills you need or how long it will take. Don’t worry! Many people feel the same way when they start looking into a new career.

In this article, we will help you understand everything you need to know about becoming a baker. We’ll talk about different types of bakers, the qualifications and education you need, the skills that are important, and how long the process takes

Decide What Type of Baker You Want to Become

Many people assume that there is simply one kind of baker who knows how to do it all. While this may be the case with some experienced professionals who have been working in the culinary industry for many years, there are different paths you can take to become a baker. Some options include:

Decide What Type of Baker You Want to Become

When deciding to become a baker, it’s essential to understand the different specializations within the field. Here are four common types of bakers:

Bread baker at work

1. Bread Bakers

Bread bakers specialize in making various types of bread:

  • Loaves
  • Baguettes
  • Rolls

They work with different kinds of dough, like sourdough, whole wheat, and rye. So due to this, you will need to learn how fermentation works as the dough needs time to rise before it is baked. However, it’s not something difficult to master.

Bread bakers sometimes experiment (depends where they work and on which position) with different ingredients and techniques to create unique flavors and textures. They may add ingredients like seeds, nuts, or dried fruits to their doughs. In addition, bread bakers are skilled in shaping dough into various forms, from traditional loaves to intricate designs.

If you are thinking about starting a career of a bread baker, then take a look at some vacancies in your local bakeries, grocery stores, or specialized bread shops.

Pastry baker

2. Pastry Bakers

Pastry bakers focus on creating pastries such as croissants, Danish pastries, and éclairs. They use specific techniques for laminating dough, which involves folding butter into the dough multiple times to create layers. Pastry bakers often work in bakeries, cafes, and patisseries. They produce a variety of sweet and savory pastries, often using fillings like custard, fruit, or chocolate.

As pastry bakers gain experience and professionalism, they have the opportunity to grow into pastry chefs. Pastry chefs oversee the production of all pastries in a kitchen, create new recipes, and manage a team of pastry bakers. This career path allows for significant creative expression and leadership opportunities. Pastry bakers who aspire to become pastry chefs often pursue additional training and certification to hone their skills.

If this position is something that can interest you, then we recommend taking our 7 week pastry and bakery course. Every student is granted an internationally accredited Pastry and Bakery Professional Certificate after successfully completing the program.

Further reading:

Cake baker at work

3. Cake Bakers

Cake bakers specialize in baking and decorating cakes for various occasions, such as birthdays, weddings, and other celebrations. They work with different types of cake batters, such as sponge, chiffon, and butter cakes. Cake bakers must have a keen eye for detail and a steady hand for decorating, as they often use frosting, fondant, and edible decorations to create beautiful designs.

In addition to baking cakes, cake bakers are involved in the planning and design process. They may work closely with clients to create custom cakes that match specific themes or preferences. This type of baking can be very rewarding, as cake bakers play a significant role in making special occasions memorable. Many cake bakers also run their own businesses, offering personalized cake designs and services.

Confectionary baker at work

4. Confectionery Bakers

Confectionery bakers focus on making sweets and candies, such as chocolates, caramels, and gummies. They use techniques like tempering chocolate, cooking sugar to precise temperatures, and molding confections into various shapes. Confectionery bakers work in candy shops, chocolate boutiques, and large-scale confectionery manufacturing companies.

Creating confections requires a deep understanding of the properties of sugar and chocolate. Confectionery bakers often experiment with flavors, textures, and presentations to create unique and appealing products. They may also create seasonal or holiday-themed treats.

What Qualifications and Education Are Needed to Become a Baker

The actual type of education that you complete will depend on what kind of baking career you want to obtain once you’re out of school. Keep in mind that some positions may not require a formal education at all, but this isn’t necessarily the most effective way to be one of the top bakers.

Culinary and baking academies offer two-year, four-year and other certification programs that teach a variety of information about:

  • Baking
  • Decorating
  • Presentation
  • Maintaining a sanitary environment
  • Management
  • Etc.

The more experience you have working in different bakeries and restaurants, the more qualified you become. Most employers appreciate having a versatile resume that includes a lot of different types of experience mixed with education and continuing education of some sort. It helps to keep up with the developments in the culinary and baking industries. This can include renewing certain certifications and taking additional classes, regardless of having completed a degree program at one time or another.

Necessary Qualifications to Become a Professional Baker

Before you apply for culinary school, make sure that you meet the requirements for that specific program. It’s likely you’re going to need a high school education or the equivalent. You may also need experience in the culinary industry, regardless of whether you’ve worked in baking or not.

Some of the most notable culinary academies in the world may want you to submit letters of reference as part of your application process. Also, make sure that you determine whether or not you can afford a specific program. Many culinary schools offer financial assistance and scholarship opportunities to help you offset the cost.

Different Types of Baking Degrees and Certificates

Baking courses are available at different levels, including:

Diploma of Baking and Pastry Arts

This diploma generally takes about two years to complete if you are going to school as a full-time student. The curriculum can vary from one school to another but generally focuses on the basics of baking, the fundamentals of using yeast, pastry arts, decorating, etc. Some schools may also provide management information for this degree program.

Bachelor of Science in Baking and Pastry Arts

This four-year degree program is more involved than an associate’s program. You learn more about desserts from different time periods and cultures, how to bake for different events and settings, the decorating and design of baked goods and wedding cakes, and the different methods of planning a menu.

Associate / Bachelor of Applied Science in Baking and Pastry Arts

These two- and four-year baking programs offer baking theory information as well as hands-on learning. You learn about baking fundamentals, food preparation, food pairing, bread, food service, and management.

Female baker at work

What Skills Do I Need to Become a Baker?

There are a number of personality traits and skills that can help you on your journey to becoming a baker. Some of the most important skills include:

The three most important skills a baker should have are:

Attention to Detail:

Baking requires careful measurement and timing. A small error in measuring ingredients or setting the oven temperature can affect the final product’s texture and flavor. Bakers must pay close attention to every detail to ensure consistency and quality in their baked goods.

Creativity:

Creativity is crucial for developing new recipes and creating visually appealing baked goods. Whether it’s designing an intricate cake decoration, experimenting with unique flavor combinations, or crafting innovative pastry shapes, creativity allows bakers to stand out and attract customers with their unique offerings.

Time Management:

Bakers often work under tight schedules, especially if they need to prepare fresh products for early morning sales. Effective time management is essential to plan and execute multiple tasks simultaneously, such as mixing dough, baking, and decorating, all while ensuring that each product is made to perfection. This skill helps bakers meet deadlines and maintain productivity.

Further reading:

  • These were the three main skills every baker should have. However, you probably understand that there are other skills that would be great to develop. If this is something that interests you, then take a look at our overview — Top 5 Skills Every Baker Needs to Have.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Baker?

The time frame that it takes to become a baker really varies from one person to the next. For example, you can often get your foot in the door by completing a two-year degree and then finding an entry-level position at a bakery or restaurant of some sort. This allows you to work your way up the corporate ladder.

Some people choose to spend more time in school with the goal of finding a slightly higher position when it comes time to apply for a job. There is also the option of working as an apprentice to gain more valuable information and skills before branching out on your own.

How Can HRC Academy Help You Become a Professional Baker?

If you’re ready to get started with becoming a professional baker, HRC Academy is the perfect school to start your career. Check out our Pastry and Bakery program to find out more.

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