The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I think maybe I'm studying the wrong thing

JuneHawk's picture

I think maybe I'm studying the wrong thing

Ugh.  Here I am, making bread to avoid writing an anthropology paper that is due this week.  Bread baking is just so much more fun!  My husband suggested that maybe I'm just studying the wrong thing.  If only I could afford baking and pastry school...



JuneHawk's picture

Hey H, funny you should mention photography.  I enjoyed photography as a hobby for some years and then decided to do it full time as a wedding photographer.  Man, did I not know what I was getting into!  Needless to say, I am no longer a wedding photographer.  Mind you, I did move countries and I haven't done anything to pick up some business here.  I decided I was going to go back to college full time and that's what I'm doing.  I still have no idea what I want to study though.  I guess I need really need to think about that cause I'm not getting any younger!


Glad to know I'm not the only one who can't make up her mind!



mkelly27's picture

I have known for some time this basic tenet;  "The minute it becomes work , it is no longer fun".  As much as I would like to fantasize about dropping everythig and opening a bread bakery, I realize that it would eventually become as onerous a task as my everyday job.  I have even looked into the business model end of it and without the right demographics, it will almost certainly fail. 


Redundancy is your friend, so is redundancy

JavaGuy's picture

My problem with baking or cooking for a living is that I couldn't stand to do it the same way every time. I've been working on my pizza crust recipe for three years. Last weekend, I made the best yet. I'll make it one more time that way, then I'll have to figure out how to make it better.

Baking is fun as a hobby because I get to make what I want, when I want to. If it comes out wrong, it's a learning experience, not lost time and sales.

I'll stick to writing computer code for a living. I think I used to love doing that. 

leemid's picture

You must study whatever it is that you think will earn you a good living. Do that for a few years before changing to something else. Continue either in the first course, or the second and third, etc. for a lifetime. Then, when you have spent your life at it, change to what you 'have always wanted to do', in this case, baking. Your 'retirement' years are spent in euphoric days believing that you should have done this all of your life, not knowing that had you tried to you would have burned yourself out at it.

It is a matter of perspective. As previously stated, without the proper demographics and more luck than anyone has a right to expect, most food enterprises fail early in the game. But when you do it as or in retirement, you have different perspectives that allow success to be defined differently. You no longer expect to make a 'good living' required by up and coming strivers. You no longer have to support a family, purchase new cars and houses. You only have to come close to breaking even. And all of your efforts are for self-gratification first, and then most likely you wouldn't even try this without a lifetime of chops from friends who have eaten your bread for all these years to prove you can make it well. So you expect that the general public will accept your efforts. Because you don't have to get rich, you only strive to make rent which is small because you have rented a hole-in-the-wall storefront just large enough for your brick oven in back and a glass display out front. Because it is so small, it is too cute for people not to fill it up and make it the new hotspot. Things mushroom until either a financier offers to pay for the expansion and run the Starbucks side, or you have to sell your wares in the local Safeway too. 

Then life goes south on you because the demand is greater than you can meet. But some kid comes in the door and offers to work for nothing if you will teach him how to make your bread. So you oversee the operation and engineer new breads, he helps you expand into lunch-only pizza and the whole thing eventually moves into a new equally charming larger location and the new kid pays you a fortune for the business. One of the clauses to the sales agreement is that you can come in any time to satisfy your desire to make bread. Out of respect for your 'contribution' the new owner keeps the bakery's original name and tells everyone what a genius you are/were. A legend is sustained for 40 years. The original story is eventually lost to antiquity, but the bread never wanes.

That should be my story,


staff of life's picture
staff of life

I do bake for a living, although I don't have a bakery bakery.  I raise my three school-age kids and bake out of my home for a local grocery and farmers' market (a legit business; everything's insured, inspected, TAXed) several days a week, dependent upon the season.  Although I do love it for the most part, and it's been very successful, I do sometimes daydream about a job that would require me to get out of the house, wear decent clothes, and not have to keep my day on such a strict schedule.  And college--oh how much I want to go back to study....anthropology!!  But when my thoughts veer in that direction, I remind myself that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.


TRK's picture

I still don't know what I want to do for a living.  At one point I thought about culinary school.  Luckily, Kitchen Confidential came out at just the right time and I thought about all the reasons I didn't want to do that for a living.  As so many have said, as long as it stays a hobby, you do it on your terms and your scale and continue to love it.  I briefly did a small bread subscription based on the CSA model at my work.  Subscribers paid monthly and picked up bread once a week.  I chose the recipe and made about 20 loaves each week.  I more than broke even (though I never wanted to calculate my hourly wage).  Still, I finally decided I wanted my Sundays back.  Even at that small scale I was spending most of Sunday preping, baking, and cleaning. 


I still dream of building a brick oven and selling bread at a Farmer's Market on a small scale someday, but I intend to keep my day job. 

Jude_Denz's picture

So I'm a Law graduate who is thinking of taking up a career in 'bread-making'.
How about that, eh?