Bakers produce various bread and confectionery products and usually work in one of three types of baking environments.
Baking in a craft bakery, a baker will bake products on a smaller scale to be sold in a small shop or chain of specialist baking shops. The baking is more varied and although some machinery is used, more of the baking is done by hand.
Baking in an in-store bakery - which is usually part of a supermarket - involves using some automated machinery to make fresh bread products to be sold in the store.
Baking in a plant bakery involves the use of machinery and production lines to manufacture large amounts of baked goods for shops, supermarkets and other major consumers.
Bakers work 39 hours a week over five days, with very early starts. Plant bakeries usually operate shifts on a rota system which will include nights and weekends. In- store or craft bakers usually work Saturdays.
The work involves a lot of standing, lifting and carrying trays and heavy sacks of flour, although lifting equipment is widely used.
Bakeries are noisy and dusty. Those with asthma, an allergy to dust, or some skin conditions may find this kind of work unsuitable. There are strict health, safety and hygiene requirements and employers usually supply protective clothing such as hats and overalls.
To be a baker, you should:
Qualified bakers can earn promotion to bakery supervisor, chargehand or production manager. Formal qualifications may not be required as senior positions are more dependent on demonstrating ability and commitment. It may be necessary to move around the country to gain experience for promotion. It is also possible to work abroad as a baker.
Experienced bakers might choose to work for a flour-mill or bakery equipment company as a sales representative, technical adviser or as a test baker, developing different baking techniques. Some move into teaching baking skills in a college or training centre.
Craft bakers with experience could set up and run their own bakery business.
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