The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello, Bonjour, Guten-Tag from England ..from a potentional baker

PastryManJosh's picture

Hello, Bonjour, Guten-Tag from England ..from a potentional baker

Hi! I'm Josh. I'm 17 and a potentional baker.

Potentional? Yes that isn't a typo, I am a culinary student (doing NVQ Level 1 soon to do Level 2 Food Preparation and Cooking) and currently feel as though I want to have a career as a baker.

So, i'll answer a few questions you may wonder to clear a few things up..

Do I currently have a job? No, although I am going to apply to see if I can work in this independent bakery for free (seeing how the credit crisis is happening) and because it's not a chain shop I know various stuff will get made in store.

Why a baker? I just love baking, I know it sounds cliche but I love the smell and idea of making fresh bread and not that 'mass produced' bread you get in supermarkets (horrible stuff). Also although I enjoy culinary, I don't think I have the fact to work 15+ hours a day 6/7 days a week whereas as a bakery you work 39 hours a week at night.. and there is something alluring I find about working in the night while others sleep for the next working day. Plus, pay isn't that big a deal to me ("money is the root of all evil" - i'd of become an accountant if I wanted to be rich) and the idea of being creative and as an artist knowing the bread is your canvas, the hands are the bristles of the brush and the buyer is the purchaser of your art.

What's your dream? I don't know honestly said. I like to think PERHAPS owning a small independent coffee shop serving baked products to customers. That or working in a place where I enjoy and have a good life. And ofcourse wife + kids etc.

Where in the world would you work if you could? Good question, I love travel so anywhere really, it's just a language barrier i'll struggle with, but I do well as learning languages and always try to make an effect learning basic words of the language. Back to the question I wouldn't mind:

UK, USA (some areas), Canada - (Montreal,Toronto,Ottawa) , France (Paris, anywhere in France really), Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Russia, Sweden. As said I love to travel.

Ok I think i'll stop there and let you ask some questions and replies.


PS - anyone got any professional baking books you can recommend? I can only think of Wayne Giesslen's Professional Baking and The Bread Baker's Apprentice. 

PastryManJosh's picture

Not sure what i put here.

proth5's picture

If you are professionally oriented, let me suggest "Advanced Bread and Pastry" by Michel Suas.

I would also recommend "Bread, a Bakers Book of Techniques and Recipes" by Jeffrey Hamelman.  This will overlap a great deal with the Suas book, but Mr. Hamelman's passion for baking comes through quite clearly on the pages which makes it a very special book.

As for career choices, Mr. Hamelman's story is an interesting one.  He decided to become a baker - since he loved not only bread, but wanted to do a "humble" job that involved physical labor.  Now he is quite famous in baking circles (not the least of which for his best baguettes and speciality breads at La Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie, which opened so many other doors.)  If you bring your heart and your hands to your work, no matter how humble the work seems to be - the sky is the limit.

Good luck with your education and your future!

Happy Baking!

nbicomputers's picture

as a retired pro i never worked 39 hours a week in my life 10 to 12 hours a day was the norm and that started at 11 pm maybe 2 am and went a full 10 to 12 working 6 days a week that means 60 to 70 hours a week and that was not during the holidays

during thanksgiving here in the states and christmas time i would more hours each day as the holliday got closser and with the last 3 days my day would start at 12 midnight finish at 8 pm tha same day (20 Hours) go home for a quick shower some food a change of clothes and back to work.  infact i remember one year where i took a shower at the job and had some take out food changed  clothes and back to work for a full 36 hours  befor going home.

8 hours a day is a vacation to me.

if i could get a bakers job and work 39 hours a week i would come out of retirment. if that is the way it is where you are you are the luckiest baker i know

PastryManJosh's picture

Oh. Thank you for the insight nbi. I only was aware of the 39 hours via a site called and go into the careers advice section. Saying that, I do live in the UK so we don't have as many 'mainstream' holidays as you do in the USA but thank you for the input and for taking the time to reply.

eimear rose henry's picture
eimear rose henry

Learndirect have pretty standard info on their site- I think it would be good for you to speak to a baker, or even shadow a baker during a working "day". I'd also advise you, if you don't already, to bake lots and lots of bread and get a real feel for it. I'm 22 and live in Northern Ireland- I'd also love a career in a more 'artisan' area of food- like bread, preserves or cheese. But it requires serious commitment- not least of all a financial one.