Can’t stop baking and thinking about baking? Maybe it’s time to think deeply about if you want to start your own small bakery or maybe you want to work at a bakery.
But, do you now need to go to a pastry school and get some qualifications before you go on a journey to become a professional baker? If I had a penny for each time someone asked this question to me, I’d probably be blasting my Instagram and google ads like there’s no tomorrow.
Here’s how you go about it:
1. Decide what you want to pursue
Do you want to become self-employed and open a small home bakery? Do you want to invest your funds and open a proper commercial bakery? Do you want to work at another bakery as a baker? All of these will need a different route.
For example, you might need a degree from a professional pastry school to get a job in the field, as they demand work experience and wouldn’t hire a layman.
If you want to open your own small bakery, legally in India, you are not required to have a degree or professional experience in the given field. You still do need techniques and knowledge about business and now it depends on you where you want to get them from.
2. Decide your budget
Now decide if you want to spend a few lakhs, a few thousand, or nothing at all. Professional baking courses from pastry schools demand a hefty investment of a few lakhs while individual, hobby, or professional classes on a topic would demand much lesser, maybe a few thousand. Technically, it’s impossible to learn any new skill without investing anything. If you do decide to become a self-taught baker, you would still need to invest in books, ingredients and a lot of time in trials and experimentation. All of this takes a lot of money and time (and remember, time is money).
3. Decide the time you want to invest
Pastry school can last from 9 months to 2-3 years ( including an internship experience). Self-learning is essentially a lifelong experience. Hobby or short-term professional classes are usually a couple of days long where you can learn the basics and a proper recipe for selected items. Depending upon the amount of time you can invest, as you might be doing this alongside studies or a job, you can choose a mode of learning that suits you best.
4. Decide what you want to learn
Do you want to learn EVERYTHING? Do you want to learn just bread and cookies? Do you want to learn alternative baking like egg-free or gluten-free baking? Remember, a regular pastry school will teach you everything in the period you are enrolled in, also, everything you learn to bake there will probably be the generic, traditional version and not specialized as per your needs. Hobby classes, on the other hand, might offer individual classes on specialized baking eg- gluten-free/sugar-free/ wholewheat/ eggless baking.
It really depends on your end goal. How did I do it? Well, I am self-taught baker, so I maybe biased but I’ll be honest with you-
Experimentation is tough, time consuming and honestly, expensive, maybe even more than attending classes.
Normally, hobby classes either teach you too many recipes in a short span of time (and thus you end up learning only bits and pieces) or never focus on the science and the basics behind it.
Pastry school teaches you everything to make you a good commercial baker but it’s expensive, long term and inflexible.
So what should you do? If you are someone like my students who want to:
Learn the techniques and theory behind recipes
Have Anytime- Anywhere access to the study materials not for one day, but for a lifetime.
After class support and personal attention from a professional baker
100% eggless recipes which are failproof and scientifically tested
Use affordable, easily available ingredients
Certificate at the end to appreciate your hardwork.
Like all skills, having a mentor is a better investment compared to just bookish knowledge.
I teach the science, arts and commerce of baking, something I am sharing after years of successfully running my bakery.
Sign up for my baking classes and let’s get baking! I promise you won’t regret your investment.