A career in baking 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 and 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.
Education and Training
- Completion of secondary school is usually required.
- Completion of a three- or four-year apprenticeship program for bakers or Completion of a college or other program for bakers is usually required.
- On-the-job training may be provided.
- Trade certification is available, but voluntary, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon.
- Interprovincial trade certification (Red Seal) is also available to qualified bakers
Bakers perform some or all of the following duties:
- Prepare dough for pies, bread and rolls and sweet goods, and prepare batters for muffins, cookies, cakes, icings and frostings according to recipes or special customer orders
- Operate machinery
- Bake mixed doughs and batters
- Frost and decorate cakes or other baked goods
- Ensure quality of products meets established standards
- Draw up production schedule to determine type and quantity of goods to produce
- Purchase baking supplies
- May oversee sales and merchandising of baked goods
- May hire, train and supervise baking personnel and kitchen staff.
Skills for Success
The key Skills for Success for this career path are:
- Creativity & Innovation
Sample Job Titles
- Oven operator
- Pastry Chef
Companies and Sectors
- Small retail bakeries
- Catering services
- Wholesale bakeries