The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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localfruitandveg's picture
localfruitandveg

Jobs

I was wondering what the best way is to go about finding a job at a bread bakery?  Not some donut shack, but a truly down-to-earth bakery that makes everything from scratch.  I've been wanting to get into making breads at a bakery for so long, as I'm a baker at home and have a great amount of passion for it.  I could see myself falling more and more in love with the process.  I've looked all around Nebraska, where I'm from and currently live, but nothing is to be found - at least nothing that's looking for any help.  Any ideas as to where to go for a job?  Really anywhere in the country would be great!  Looking to move in a year or so, so if any of you are owners of bakeries or know of a network of people I could talk to, I would greatly appreciate it.  Also, just general advice would be helpful for me.  For all of you out there who do this for a living, and really love to create beautiful rich breads that make peoples day; I would love to hear your thoughts and advice for someone like me wanting to, in so many words, join the international family of bread bakers.

 

Thanks so much everyone

 

Andrew 

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

I'd check the Modern Baking web site, they often have job postings.  I'd join th Bread Baker's Guild of America and join their mailing list, look on their web site.

 

It's hard to find that sort of job when you're in an area where there aren't that kind of bakeries.....

 

Mike

 

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

If you can afford it, I'd suggest taking some classes at the San Francisco Baking Institute and then using their services and networking with their students to see what you can scare up.

 

Mike

 

JIP's picture
JIP

I would definately agree with getting some education but I think you need to figure out what part of the country you want to move to and go from there.

localfruitandveg's picture
localfruitandveg

Thanks so much guys for your advice.  Like I said, I really appreciate any wisdom you might have to pass down to me.  San Fran sounds GREAT!  Unfortunately it's the second most expensive place in the country to live! AHHHHHGGG....but I guess that never stopped anyone from following their dream right?

 

Thanks again everyone! 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

San Francisco Baking Institute offers 5 day workshops, so you don't have to live there to take them, just be able to visit for a week at a time.

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

And the SFBI has a deal with an area hotel that is near the school, so the rate per night is quite reasonable.

 

I wouldn't call call SFBI "academia" it is a very hands on baking trade school.  If I were hiring and had a choice between someone who had a few classes from SFBI or was a graduate from a cooking program, the SFBI student would be higher on my list.  Most of the cooking school grads I've met have had unreasonably high estimations of their worth and skills.  SFBI and the King Arthur school are both focused on what is needed in a bakery.

Taking classes won't get you a job.  Not even college will get you a job.  It will give you skills that an employer is looking for.  And it will help you network.  SFBI gets a fair number of requests from bakeries that are looking for people.  Many of the better bakeries in the US were started by SFBI students, and they have a definite preference for SFBI students.

Mike

 

JIP's picture
JIP

So where do you want to live?.

localfruitandveg's picture
localfruitandveg

If i was able to be picky, i would love for it to be close to an ocean; considering i've been in the mid-west most my life.  Anywhere really that will have the friendly environment where people take pride in making GREAT Bread...

Henry's picture
Henry

 

A

I think an employer would be far more impressed

by you having experience working in a doughnut shop

as opposed to being a  graduate of a baking program

without any work experience.

Unless you’re being hired as the head baker, what s/he is looking for

are qualities such as:  work commitment , organizational skills, and an ability

to multi task, to mention just a few.

If the only baking job available to you right now is a lousy one,

and you’re reluctant to take it, maybe baking isn’t for you

H

mcs's picture
mcs

I would have to agree with Henry on this one.  For my first baking job, I approached the owner of my favorite bread bakery and asked him for a job.  When he told me they didn't have any openings, I offered to work for the first 2 weeks for free.  He found me a job and paid me in the process.   Of course in the beginning you'll be more of a burden than a help, (try having someone new 'help' you in your own kitchen) but the experience you'll gain doing the grunt work (like weighing out dough) will create a much more efficient baker in the process.
-Mark 

http://thebackhomebakery.com

localfruitandveg's picture
localfruitandveg

See, now I feel as though I was misunderstood.  To clarify, I DID find a job at a donut shack, and to be honest, I was so unimpressed at the quality and organization and process by which they were made, that I had to quit.  Everything was "instant." there was no process, no fermentation, no sponges or poolish or starter for ANYTHING!  And they made "bread" too.  I felt like a fraud being there, because that's not what I'm about.  And I wanted to be apart of something real. Not saying all donut shops are like that, but my experience was ridiculous.  Thanks for the advice though!!  I'm sure I would of been saying the same things to me.  And to say baking might not be for me, is a bit premature considering how very little you actually know me or what I have been doing..

mcs's picture
mcs

This was exactly my point.  Since you have a clear picture of what you are looking for in a bakery (I did), choose the location you desire, find a bakery with breads you think are excellent, and ask them for a position opening.  If they don't have any, you might need to bargain.  Living in Vermont a while back I had many to choose from, one about an hour south of my residence that J. Hamelman was running.  I didn't choose that one, but instead one that was one mile from my house.  As they say, the rest is history and now my wife and I are opening our own bakery. 
As was suggested above by Mike, Floyd, et. al, there are other approaches too, some favoring academia, others favoring 'the school of hard knocks'.  Each bakery owner has their own preferences for hiring, probably depending on the course they personally took.
Good luck and keep us posted about your decision.

-Mark 

http://thebackhomebakery.com

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I think you may have misconstrued the advice given by those who have already paid their dues. No one said baking was not for you. The statement was: If the only baking job available to you right now is a lousy one, and you're reluctant to take it, maybe baking isn't for you.

Experience is important to a potential employer. So is attitude.

You could always Google Nebraska (or any state that interests you) bread bakeries, print the list, and start writing letters of application to those bakeries that interest you. Taking risks sometimes produces great rewards.

Good luck on your quest.