Baker and Pastry Chef Jobs

When was the last time you had a baked good? Do you enjoy a fresh slice of bread? A multi-tiered wedding cake? A tempting pastry? An office doughnut snack? A tasty holiday pie? All of these delicious treats are created by a baker.

Bakers, sometimes called pastry chefs, mix, bake, and sell baked goods. The Egyptians learned to bake bread in 8000 BC and now, thousands of years later and all over the world, bakers are still baking and creating baked goods for people to consume.

Bakers bake all sorts of tasty treats that people enjoy on a daily basis. It’s big business.

Starting very early in the morning, bakers work in kitchens and bakeries mixing, kneading, baking, and creating. This way they can have everything freshly baked and ready to go when people are ready for a pastry and coffee on the way to work. Bakers work long, rewarding hours to ensure that people can enjoy their products.

A baker’s kitchen is filled with ovens, counters, mixing devices, rolling pins, bowls, flour, icing, decorations, pans, molds, sheets, measuring devices, and of course recipes. These are all things a baker needs to bake. First the baker decides what he is going to make – loaves of yummy sourdough bread, fluffy biscuits, or blueberry muffins.

After gathering the ingredients, the baker gets started. He measures out flour to create moldable dough or runny batter. He uses his hands to knead the dough and powerful mixers to blend all of the yummy ingredients and flavors together. He cuts cookies, scatters flour, forms pie shells, rolls pizza crusts, kneads bread, and pours fillings. It’s a messy job, with a tasty outcome. Next the batter or dough is put into greased pans or tins, the oven temperatures are set, and the baking begins.

The baker monitors the baking temperatures and times. It’s different for every baked good and elevation. When the baker determines the baking is done, the baked goods are removed from the oven to be cooled and decorated if necessary. Finally the baked goods are tagged and bagged. In some bakeries and restaurants the scrumptious treats are put on display for sale.

Many bakers get their start in big industrial kitchens where they mass-produce baked goods. These bakers are often apprentices and assistants to a head chef or baker and perform jobs like dough molding, oven tending, or mixing. These big industrial kitchens produce most of the baked goods you buy at grocery stores.

The ultimate goal of baking is that the baked goods taste delicious and sell quickly. Often bakers will specialize in what they make. They may only make high quality cupcakes, fancy fresh breads, or trendy wedding cakes. Some bakers only do custom baking orders. Whatever baking niche a baker chooses, baking is truly a tasty art.

Most bakers begin baking as a hobby. If you want to take your baking career to a professional level apply for jobs at bakeries or grocery stores, but be ready for very early mornings. Culinary school is a good option if you want to end up creating baking masterpieces. Professional bakers with steady employment at restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, caterers, or corporations make $9 to $17 per hour or $15,000 to $35,000 per year. Most average $22,000 per year.

Baking is a blast. It’s more than just following recipes and using ovens. It’s a creative cooking career. If you enjoy baking, then bake every chance you get. That’s how you’ll become an expert. Plus it’s fun and the end result is rewarding and delicious.

Quick Facts About Baker Work

Job Title: Baker, Pastry Chefs
Office: In kitchens at restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, and industrial locations
Description: Mix, bake, and sell baked goods
Certifications/Education: No formal education required, Culinary School recommended
Necessary Skills: Love of baking, Knowledge of baking ingredients, Good sense of taste
Potential Employers: Bakeries, Restaurants
Pay: $9 to $17 per hour or $15,000 to $35,000 per year, Average is $22,000 per year

Helpful Links:
American Bakers Association
American Culinary Federation
Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union
American Institute of Baking
Retail Bakers of America

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