Bakers mix and bake ingredients according to recipes to make a variety of breads, pastries, and other baked goods.
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Bakers produce various types and quantities of breads, pastries, and other baked goods sold by grocers, wholesalers, restaurants, and institutional food services. Bakers typically do the following:
The following are some types of bakers: Commercial bakers are commonly employed in manufacturing facilities that produce breads and pastries. In these manufacturing facilities, they use high-volume mixing machines, ovens, and other equipment to mass-produce standardized baked goods. They often operate large, automated machines, such as commercial mixers, ovens, and conveyors. They follow daily instructions for production schedules and recipes and also may develop new recipes.
Retail bakers work primarily in grocery stores and specialty shops, including bakeries. In these settings, they produce smaller quantities of baked goods for people to eat in the shop or for sale as specialty baked goods. They may take orders from customers, prepare baked goods to order, and serve customers. Although the quantities prepared and sold in these stores are often small, they often come in a wide variety of flavours and sizes. Some retail bakers own bakery shops or other types of businesses where they make and sell breads, pastries, pies, and other baked goods. In addition to preparing the baked goods and overseeing the entire baking process, these workers are also responsible for hiring, training, and supervising their staff. They must also budget for supplies, set prices, and know how much to produce each day.
Bakers often start as apprentices in craft bakeries or trainees in store bakeries and learn the basics of baking, icing, and decorating. Most apprentices and trainees study topics such as nutrition, safe food handling, and basic baking. Many apprentice bakers participate in correspondence study and may work toward a certificate in baking. Some bakers learn their skills through work experience related to baking. They may start as a baker’s assistant and progress into a full-fledged baker as they learn baking techniques.
In manufacturing facilities, commercial bakers must learn how to operate and maintain the industrial mixing and blending machines used to produce baked goods. Bakers need to learn how to combine ingredients and how ingredients are affected by heat. They also need to learn how to operate various types of equipment used in the production process. If running a small business, bakers need to know how to operate a business. All bakers must follow government sanitation and health regulations. The education and experience requirements vary by the level of certification desired. For example, a certified journey baker requires no formal education but must have at least one year of work experience. A certified baker must have four years of work experience, and a certified master baker must have eight years of work experience, 30 hours of sanitation coursework, and 30 hours of professional development training. All bakers should have basic knowledge of arithmetic, especially fractions, to precisely mix formulas, weigh ingredients, or make adjustments to the mixes. Bakers must often consult with other workers involved in the baking process, such as dough mixers, so they can adjust baking temperatures accordingly. Bakers must closely watch their products in the oven to keep from burning or over baking the goods. They also should have an eye for detail because many pastries and cakes require intricate decorations. Most bakers must be able to work on their feet for long periods while kneading dough and lifting heavy items.
Most bakers work in bakeries, grocery stores, and restaurants. Some, however, work in manufacturing facilities that distribute breads and pastries through established wholesale and retail outlets, mail order, or manufacturer’s outlets. In order for bread to be out fresh in the morning, many bakers start work in the middle of the night.
The median annual wage of bakers was $23,450 in May 2010. The lowest 10% earned less than $16,910, and the top 10% earned more than $37,320.