A baker is responsible for making a wide range of breads, pastries, and other baked goods. This job title requires one to rise very early and work during the hours that most people are asleep, so it is ideal for a true morning person. One of the great things about being a baker is that it offers the possibility to work in a variety of settings, from a small family-owned bakery to a corporate-owned industrial operation, and everything in between.
The role of a baker varies from job to job. For example, a baker that is employed by a small, local bakery typically performs most of his or her work independently or as part of a close-knit team. A baker is this setting would also produce baked goods primarily by hand. In a large, industrial-scale bakery, it would be more typical for many bakers to cooperatively work together in order to produce mass quantities of baked goods. In this scenario, a baker would do very little work by hand and would rely largely on machinery to produce baked products, especially during the preparation phase of production.
Bakers typically work according to a tight production schedule that sets quotas for how many of a particular item they must produce each day. This is true of bakers working in all types of settings.
Whether working in a small company or a large kitchen, a baker is required to master the use of a large number of tools in order to produce quality baked items. These tools range from simple kitchen implements such as a rolling pin, to complex industrial mixing machines. In any case, becoming a baker requires a great amount of training as this is highly skilled job title.
A baker’s production duties include measuring and mixing ingredients into dough according to a recipe. Once the dough is formed, the baker will then roll and cut or otherwise shape the dough according to the specifications of the recipe. The final tasks in the production process involve baking the shaped dough and, if applicable, decorating the final product.
As bakers normally work according to tight production schedules, it is important for them to constantly check that the correct quantities are being produced for each order they are in charge of. It is also important for them to be vigilant about using exact measurements and paying strict attention to timing. In light of these facts, it is essential for a baker to stay organized and on top of his or her work at all times.
It is also helpful for a baker be innately creative, as many bakers are expected to come up with original recipes for new baked goods. Bakers are also often required to work alone; for this reason, the ability to be self-motivated is a huge advantage for aspiring bakers.
Of all the skills, knowledge and traits it is important for a baker to posses, the most important ones of all are a sound knowledge of hygiene and safety standards in the kitchen, and the discipline to enforce those standards.
Hourly wages for a baker can range from $8.00 - $13.50 per hour. Average salaries for this position range from $15,500 to $19,500 per year. It is possible for a baker to command higher salary, however, depending on their experience, expertise, educational background, and the geographical location where they are seeking work.