A career in pastry and confectionery offers a variety of areas in which to specialize. Bakers are responsible for making breads, bagels, pretzels, cakes, muffins, cookies and pastries as well as chocolate and candy, sugar sculptures and icing. They can prepare many different baked goods or specialize in just one. Depending on their experience and training, they may hire, train and supervise other baking personnel, order and control supplies and stock, and price the various products as well.
Bakers are not only required to follow recipes, but in many instances to also create them. They first prepare the dough or batter by using tools and equipment such as cake rounds, pastry papers, and an assortment of cooking and mixing utensils, and then cook them at precise temperatures for a specific amount of time. They also make icing or frosting for the many desserts that need it, and then apply it with a piping bag in intricate designs.
Traits & Talents
Reliability, sensible time-management skills, and the ability to work under pressure are all desirable traits in a baker. You also need basic analytical and organizational capabilities, and to be able to read recipes, follow directions and schedule production. Interpersonal communication skills are necessary in order to deal effectively and politely with staff and customers. Since you handle food for a large portion of the day, personal hygiene must always be taken seriously.
This is an ideal profession if you want to work with your hands and express your inventiveness and creativity through your work. As a baker, it is important to have an artistic eye, especially when you are icing cakes or producing desserts and pastries. By creating products that taste as good as they look, you will gain a sense of pride and accomplishment in your achievements.
Although bakers are most often employed by small retail bakeries, a significant number of them are also found working for restaurants, supermarkets, catering services and large wholesale bakeries. A baker's day generally starts early, the hours are sometimes long, and they are often on their feet in a noisy and hectic atmosphere for their entire shift. A bakery is a relatively safe environment, but sound judgment and caution must be exercised when working in the hot, steam-filled work areas found in all bakeries.
- Oven Operator
- Pastry Chef