The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Training in Europe

StefBreck's picture

Training in Europe

I have started doing an apprenticeship/training as a bread baker and was asked by my now boss where I see myself in a year. Baking isn't what I went to school for, but I love it (even though I'm just starting out doing it on a commercial basis). 

Ideally I would love to be taken on as an apprentice in either France or Italy so I could learn the basics of the basics, but I have no idea how to go about finding the right bakery that would be willing to do that seeing is how I've never been to either country.  Does anyone have any suggestions about what I should do or know of a type of perhaps bread bakers association for either country?

rainwater's picture

I've worked as a professional cook/chef before.....I'm 57, and I would like to work in a bakery now though. 

If I were young and starting out, I would want to venture into Sonoma county to work at one of the artisanal bakeries apprentice, or minimum 'learning wage' employee. ...or take Peter Reinhart's university course, and network through Peter for apprenticeship training/job placement.  I suggest this because equipment, flour, ingredients are different and have different qualities than the ingredients used here in the U.S.  I would venture to say that American bakeries are just as good, and more creative....Europeon bakeries would have a tendency to be more traditional.  I would save Europe for a "eat and dine" my way around vacation/holiday.  I would think that you would be a bit more mobile and flexable for working in different bakeries here.  If you go to Europe and place yourself in a bakery with people you don't agree with, or learn very little as far as variety.....then where do you go then?  It's not so easy to just move from one establishment to another in Europe as an American.  I'm sure the European experience is different for everyone, but these are some things to think about.

I worked with mostly European professionals here in Texas in the hotels, resteraunts, and private club environment......generally,  I find working with  American cooks/chefs a bit more even tempered.  ...maybe even more fun!

Jw's picture


personally I always advice people to explore a different country at the beginning of their career. It helps to get a different perspective, on the career and life itself.

As a student you would be as flexible as European students. My son is currently in Sweden for one year, there are several Americans in the programma as well (not related to bread or baking).

I could find the associations for you, but it all comes down to a personal network. Start looking around you who you really know.

peut être tu parle un peu de francais? c'est ne pas impossible, en Canada..
bon chance.


StefBreck's picture

I agree with you completely.  The only people I know here in the industry don't know of anyone in Europe whereas those that I do know in Europe don't really have any connection to baking.  Then again, as you say it doesn't hurt to try asking around.

Et oui je parle francais (merci immersion!) alors la France serait un bon choix.

StefBreck's picture

Thank you for the advice.  Right now I'm learning variety whereas the reason why I want to go to Europe is to be taught the more traditional way of things (even with the not-so-fun teacher considered).  The States do offer quite a few different opportunities in the bread community though, so maybe I will come south of the border for more experience.

Soundman's picture

Hi StefBreck,

You might want to look at Daniel Leader's Local Breads and write a letter to some of the bakeries mentioned in the book. He writes about a number of French and Italian bakeries, including baker-names and where the bakeries are; if you speak some of either language, write your letter in their language by all means! ;-)

Good luck!


Janedo's picture

I live in France and have some good "baking" connections. I can ask around if you want. But write me at my e-mail

because by tomorrow morning, I'll have forgotten. I have a meeting on Thurday with a woman at the Chamber of Commerce who specializes in bakeries, so write me to remind me, OK?


turosdolci's picture

I live in Switzerland but am American.  I've attended many cooking courses in Italy.  There are many and you can easily find them on the internet.  It helps to know the language of the country.  However many of them now offer courses in English.  People come here to professional hotel and cooking programs from all over the world. There are many that are only for professionals but some offer specialized courses such as pizza's, breads or pastries for example. These are shorter programs and some will also put you in an aprenticeship for some period of time in the country.  I took an Italain language program in Bologna (at the same time took a cooking program) and many of the students were chefs from all over the world taking cooking programs there. Look up on the internet the decipline you want and then contact the schools. They all have people who speak English.