A baker prepares, cooks and decorates bread, rolls, pastries, cakes and other yeast goods.
Tasks and Duties:
- follow recipes
- adapt the quantity of ingredients to match the amount of items to be baked
- measure and mix the ingredients
- knead, roll and shape the dough for baking
- check the baking time and progress, remove items from the oven
- prepare items for sale
- inspect and clean the equipment
- may use machines to shape or roll dough and pastry
- may prepare customer orders
- may serve customers
- may deliver goods
- may run their own business
Bakers need to be skilled in baking, icing, cake decorating and making calculations. They also need to be able to follow instructions, organise others, have an eye for detail and communicate well with others.
A knowledge of bakery products and ingredients is important, as is a knowledge of mechanical mixing and baking equipment. Bakers need to know about the mixing and baking processes, how to prepare the food of various cultures, Health and safety regulations is also important.
Bakers need to be accurate, practical and creative. They should also be careful, quick, efficient and able to work well under pressure. It is important that they can work as part of a team.
Bakers need to be reasonably fit and healthy, with a high standard of personal cleanliness. They should also have good hand-eye co-ordination, and they should not have any skin or breathing problems. They may also need to be able to handle early morning shifts.
Bakers need to have three years’ secondary school education. School Certificate or Sixth Form Certificate maths, English and science are useful.
Tertiary courses in baking and patisserie are useful. Bakers often start off as apprentices or trainees. All apprentice bakers attend block courses at Christchurch polytechnic. Both trainees and apprentices are required to undertake correspondence study and may work towards the National Certificate in Bakery (gained through Competenz).
Work as a baker’s assistant or anything involving handling food is useful. Courses in first aid and hygiene are also useful.
Training on the job
Skills are gained on the job, and apprentices must attend three block courses in either craft or plant baking, over a three-year period. The National Certificate in Bakery involves on-site work assessment.
Bakers work in bakeries, cake shops, hot bread shops, bread shops, hotels, restaurants, cafeterias and factories. They may also work in the bakery department of supermarkets and on cruise ships. Bakers usually work in shifts and may work early mornings, evenings and weekends.
Salary varies, but bakers usually earn between $20,000 and $45,000 per year. Apprentice and trainee bakers earn less until they are fully qualified.
Bakers usually start work as apprentices or trainees. Apprentice bakers usually start in craft bakeries, while trainees are often employed by in-store bakeries such as supermarkets. Both learn skills on the job.