Does experience in a small bakery count?
Like many other posters, I'm exploring the possibility of professional baking, but I have some uncertainties about how to start. I'm about to end my current position as an americorps volunteer at a farm/ residential community for disabled adults, and I'm looking for my next step. The community has a small bakery where I have been one of the head bakers for over two years and the manager of the bakery and of work crews for about six months. We bake bread only three days a week, producing about 80-100 loaves a week. All of our loaves are sandwhich loaves, including whole wheat variations, sweet white breads, and sourdough, and we hand-mix all of our dough. I love everything about the process of baking, and I want to learn more- especially about sourdough and artisan breads- with the dream of being a professional baker and one day having my own bakery. My question, though, is whether my experience in this small bakery is enough to start looking for jobs in professional bakeries, or if it would be better to get more education first. The variety of bread I've baked has been somewhat small, and I know that there are a lot of differences in size and scale between this bakery and many other professional bakeries, and I don't want to overestimate my experience. I would love to hear from bakery owners and other professional bakers about how much and what kind of experience they look for in new employees.