Bakers make bread, cakes and pastries by hand and with machinery.Job Category:
What you will do:
As a baker, you could:
- weigh out quantities of ingredients
- mix ingredients by hand or with catering machinery
- prepare dough
- bake products in batches in industrial ovens
- make quality checks
- decorate and finish baked items ready for dispatch or shop display
- take customer orders if working in a shop
- keep production areas clean
- stocktake and order supplies
- develop new recipes and products
- knowledge of food production methods
- maths knowledge
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
As well as:
- the ability to work well with your hands
- practical skills – developing practical skills related to food preparation, handling, and cooking can be valuable for working in a bakery.
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
- the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
- excellent verbal communication skills
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure (leadership skills)
- the ability to use your initiative (ambition)
To become a baker, there are no specific GCSE subjects that are mandatory. However, certain subjects and skills developed during your GCSE years can be advantageous for pursuing a career in baking and pastry arts. Bakers are responsible for preparing and baking various types of bread, pastries, and other baked goods, so skills related to food preparation, math, and business can be valuable. Here are some GCSE subjects and skills that can be beneficial:
- Food Technology: GCSE Food Technology or a similar course can provide you with a basic understanding of food preparation techniques, hygiene, and safety in the kitchen.
- Mathematics: Basic math skills are essential for measuring ingredients, calculating recipe proportions, and managing inventory.
- English: Strong communication skills, both written and verbal, are valuable for understanding recipes, documenting baking processes, and interacting with colleagues or customers.
- Science: While not mandatory, knowledge of chemistry and biology can help you understand the science behind baking, such as yeast fermentation and the chemical reactions that occur during baking.
- Design and Technology (D&T): D&T courses can help you develop practical skills and creativity that can be applied to baking and cake decorating.
- Business Studies: If you plan to operate your own bakery or pastry shop in the future, business knowledge can be beneficial for managing finances, marketing, and business operations.
- Home Economics: If offered, home economics courses can provide hands-on experience in cooking and baking, which can be a good foundation for pursuing culinary careers.
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You can do a college course. In the UK, for example, courses include:
- Certificate in Hospitality and Catering
- Certificate in Bakery
- Diploma in Professional Bakery
You could start by doing an intermediate baker apprenticeship.
You may be able to start as a trainee or assistant in a bakery shop, supermarket or food production plant, and work your way up.
Working Hours and Environment:
A typical week consists of 41-45 hours of work. You could be required to work early mornings on shifts.
You could work at a store or in a factory. Your working environment may be dusty, physically demanding and noisy. You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career Path & Progression:
With experience, you could become a bakery supervisor or production manager in a factory, or move into commercial sales.
You could also become a technical adviser or development baker for a baked goods or catering equipment company.
Another option is to specialise, for example in patisserie, or become a craft baker and set up your own business.