baking as profession?
I have been told by family and friends on several occasions that I should open a "little bakery" and "bake bread" for a living. While grateful for the compliment, I'm always slightly amused by this. First, nothing I bake comes even close to the beautiful loaves I see regularly on this website. Second, I have a suspicion that the term "little bakery" actually translates into "Chapter 11 Bankruptcy," and that "bake bread" really means "manage a struggling business." Third, while it is almost impossible to bake bad bread (everyone loves homemade loaves), it is equally difficult to bake truly excellent bread that people will pay for. Finally, I would much prefer to just give bread away to family and friends. It's a nice confidence boost for me, because regardless of how badly I manged the scoring, they seem to love it anyway.
Despite my misgivings, I often wonder what it's like to bake bread professionally. I have naive visions of wood fired ovens, neat stacks of whole wheat boules, rows of perfectly scored batard, a line of retail customers and a delivery truck full of bread ready to hit local restaurants. Of course, there's also the business end of things... licenses and permits, bills, employees, and the sheer exhaustion that must come from running a business that involves throwing around hundreds of pounds of dough.
I know that many of you here are, in fact, professional in the baking industry. So... what's it like? How much of your day-to-day work actually involves baking? Do you have time to experiment? Do you get any "down time" to spend with friends and family? Do you see yourself more as a business owner, a manager, or a baker? What do you love most about your job? What are the things that make you consider getting into another line of business?
Well, it's time for me to get back to my job (sitting on my bum looking at a computer screen). I'm looking forward to hearing what yours is like!