History: I am currently a 37 year-old, (pretty much) stay-at-home mom. I went to college out of highschool, got to my junior year, got married, went into the work force with computer companies, had kids, stayed home with them and currently volunteer as the administrator at my children's parent-run school.
Right after my son was born seven years ago, I discovered my love of baking bread after reading one of the first of the now many artisan style bread baking books. It became an obsession for me for the next three years. I bought and worked my way thru every book on the subject. I made countless loaves of bread from whole wheat to sourdough---you name it!! I wore out my Kitchenaid. At the time I dreamed of going to a baking school to go into the field. I then had my second child and that plan was put on the back burner. And life went on and my children entered school and etc, etc, etc.
Now I am going to be leaving my children's school and possible finding something for myself. I am going to start working at a local, very small artisan bakery in the small town I live in. I am going to work with the woman who recently opened it who had a very successful restaurant beforehand. She will train me for a month and I will then work as the relief baker. From what I have seen, her breads are not the European style I prefer, more gourmet & enriched, but I'll take what I get.
I still think about going to culinary school. Western Culinary Institute is about 1 1/2 hours away. It would be both a huge commitment in time and money for me. I am wondering if it's worth it. I love baking bread and would love to one day have my own bakery but I do not have a lot of experience with pastry beyond home baking nor do I with confections, etc, not to mention professional skills at being a chef. I am wondering if it is wise to focus on one subject such as bread baking or be a more well rounded chef in the long run from going to school. I also found a course in NY that is a few months long in International Baking.
I am at a quandry and I am also just in the preliminary stages of deciding what to do. Any opinions and firsthand experience would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks--