In Summary - Baker / Confectioner
Baker / Confectioners typically work in the following Career Sectors:
Videos & Interviews
David Kehoe, Chef
David Kehoe is the Executive Head Chef in the Tower Hotel in Dublin. When he completed his Leaving Cert he went to study in Athlone IT on a 2 year fulltime professional cookery course. He also is qualified in HACCP (Food Safety Mgmt) up until management level. He was one of the chef presenters on "Corrigan Knows Food", which was on RTÉ1 television.
Videos on the Web
- Baker / Confectioner- from: Youtube Search
- Baker - from: N.C.S. [UK]
The Work - Baker / Confectioner
Bakers (confectioners) prepare and bake bread, pastry, cake and confectionery products. Plant bakers (large industrial bakers) use machines to produce goods on a large scale. Craft bakery work involves more 'hands on' activities and often a wider range of production in smaller quantities.
Bakers (confectioners) need to know how to make many types of bread and confectionery and have to keep up-to-date with any new varieties.
The work can be divided into two types: plant (large industrial) bakery and craft bakery (small and medium size business).
A Plant bakery is a mass production, automated factory that operates on a 24 hours a day shift basis. The main product of a plant bakery is bread; some also produce pre-packed cakes and pastries. In plant bakeries, operators and assistants control various types of machinery that prepare dough and then pass it through different processes. Processes include moulding, proving (rising the dough), baking, cooling, slicing and wrapping. Here, the baker has less opportunity to be creative and the work may overlap with that of a food technician.
Craft bakeries tend to be smaller companies and produce fewer but a greater variety of products. Many craft bakeries use automated machinery to some degree, but a lot of the processes, such as dipping éclairs in chocolate or filling cakes with jam and cream, must still be done by hand. There is also much more scope for creative work such as icing or decorating fancy and celebration cakes. Routine work, such as packing orders or putting them out on racks for delivery, also has to be done manually.
Supermarket bakeries are known as "In-store Bakeries" and are usually located within the shop. The bakers (confectioners) usually work behind the counter and in view of the customers. There are usually opportunities to meet and speak with the public.
Bakers must observe hygiene, health, and safety regulations when handling food and dealing with equipment. Bakers wear protective clothing - usually a white vest, pants, apron and a hat. Long hair must be completely covered and suitable shoes must be worn (special safety shoes are often supplied by the employer). Wearing jewellery of any kind is not permitted while working in the bakery.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Observe color of products being baked and adjust oven temperatures, humidity, or conveyor speeds accordingly.
- Set oven temperatures and place items into hot ovens for baking.
- Combine measured ingredients in bowls of mixing, blending, or cooking machinery.
- Measure or weigh flour or other ingredients to prepare batters, doughs, fillings, or icings, using scales or graduated containers.
- Roll, knead, cut, or shape dough to form sweet rolls, pie crusts, tarts, cookies, or other products.
- Place dough in pans, molds, or on sheets and bake in production ovens or on grills.
- Check the quality of raw materials to ensure that standards and specifications are met.
- Adapt the quantity of ingredients to match the amount of items to be baked.
- Apply glazes, icings, or other toppings to baked goods, using spatulas or brushes.
- Check equipment to ensure that it meets health and safety regulations and perform maintenance or cleaning, as necessary.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Interests - Baker / Confectioner
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.
Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
You will need to be quick and methodical, as you will often work to tight deadlines. You should be able to concentrate on tasks that are sometimes repetitive but that also need a good deal of accuracy, for example measuring and mixing ingredients. You need to pay attention to detail and be good with your hands. It is essential that you work in a clean and tidy manner. As a craft baker, especially, you should have an opportunity to be creative in the way in that you finish or decorate products.
Bakeries can be warm and the work involves a lot of standing and also some heavy lifting, so you need to be reasonably fit. The job may not be suitable for people who suffer from skin complaints, such as eczema, or breathing complaints, such as asthma.
Entry Requirements - Baker / Confectioner
The official entry route for a Baker / Confectioner is through undertaking an apprenticeship.
Pay & Salary - Baker / Confectioner
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 18k - 31k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Baker / Confectioner
Employment growth has been below the national average in this occupation. Attracting and retaining deboners for the meat processing sector continues to be an issue for employers.
National Skills Bulletin 2018