What’s it all about then?
As an Artisan Baker you’ll be baking a wide variety of breads, cakes and other bakery products from scratch.
You will likely be working for a small independent bakery or within a restaurant kitchen and you might even specialise in the baking of a certain type of bread or product.
Recent years have seen a greater demand for artisan products and this has led to a resurgence of a sector that was in decline, so the opportunities are increasing all the time.
What might I be doing?
There are loads of different craft bakeries making lots of different products so the exact nature of what you’ll be doing could vary, but is likely to include some or all of the following:
- Accurately weighing out and preparing ingredients for mixing
- Ordering ingredients as required
- Mixing, dividing and shaping dough prior to proving – for the artisan this is a process carried out by hand from scratch
- Setting temperatures and cooking times for different products
- Baking various types of bread and other bakery products in small batches
- Wrapping, slicing, and packaging bread products for sale in shops and delicatessens
- Specialist decoration and patisserie production
- Cleaning of all implements and work surfaces and areas
- Serving customers and making deliveries
What will be expected of me?
The job of artisan baker requires someone who is dedicated to the actual craft of baking and understands all aspects of the process enabling products to be made from scratch.
Although you may be part of a small team you’ll likely be responsible for the baking of one or more products from start to finish. This means you’ll have to be able to concentrate for a long period of time and be someone who enjoys getting the details right.
You’ll have some lifting to do, with bags of flour and other ingredients, not to mention trays of prepared and finished products and you’ll need to be able to read and understand labels and instructions and also have a decent level of arithmetic so you can calculate weights and measures, cooking and cooling times etc.
As well as being someone who enjoys a practical job, you’ll likely have some creative skills especially for decorating purposes.
You will be expected to demonstrate compliance with safe working practices and in accordance with company hygiene rules at all times.
Finally you’ll be someone who is able to cope with pressure in order to meet delivery schedules without compromising on extremely high quality expectations.
What can I expect?
The job of artisan baker is one which requires dedication to learn and develop the skills you need to excel in the role.
You can expect to work a standard 39 hour week although you will have extremely early starts in order to ensure delivery of fresh baked products to stores for morning opening times.
You will also likely have to cover overtime at weekends and peak periods as required.
What about the pay?
The income you’ll get will depend on how much experience you have but you could expect to earn between £13,000 and £19,000 per year.
If you receive paid overtime then this will obviously rise further.
As you gain experience and skills or promotion to supervisor or manager this could rise to anywhere from £20,000 to £25,000 per year.
If you set up your own business then your income will be entirely based upon your levels of success.
Please remember these figures are for your guidance only and will vary from place to place.
What qualifications do I need to get in?
In order to get into a job in a craft bakery you will certainly find good GCSEs passes useful as a minimum but you should also consider level 2 and 3 diplomas in a variety of specialisms including cake decoration and patisserie.
Apprenticeships in bakery are also available and this means you’ll be earning and learning all at once.
You may also consider taking a qualification at college and these are widely available and cover a broad spectrum of specialities concerned with baking – taking one of these vocational courses will definitely enhance your prospects with employers.
You could also think about the prospect of studying bakery and baking to foundation or honours degree level.
In all cases make sure that the course is very practical in nature and offers work placements; this will ensure you gain vital experience whilst studying.
Where would I get these qualifications?
Post GCSE qualifications are available in many local FE Colleges and you should check out their online prospectuses for further information.
For instance you could consider the C&G level 2 Diploma in Proficiency in Baking Industry Skills and after completion, a level 3 Diploma.
What about further training?
There are lots of part time courses in cake decoration and patisserie which you could think about taking after you have entered employment.
Remember, if you want to specialise then it is particularly important that you familiarise yourself with the specific content of courses in which you are interested.
For higher level qualifications you might want to consider Foundation Degrees or Honours Degrees which are relevant to the bakery industry – check University prospectuses for availability.
If you have an interest in setting up your own business you could look at taking part time qualifications giving you the skills to do this.
Anything else I might need to know?
Yes, artisan bakeries are now starting to thrive once again as people see the benefits of food produced and sold freshly with minimum additives and maximum tastes and textures.
When you have gained enough skills and experience you could follow in the footsteps of many successful artisan bakery companies and set up your own business!