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Advice for a beginner

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have been trying to bake off and on for about almost 2 years. I went to a community college for a while, but never took any baking clases. I did it in hopes of going into hospitality management and then culinary school for pastry arts. I am slowly realizing that I dont think I can actually go to school because of costs. That is sort of the back story of my life and education. I have only baked with box mixes which I havent been too fond of. I know a lot of bakers use them but I would rather not.
I want to one day own a bakery of my own and make my own pastries (mainly cupcakes, cakes, and tarts). I want to start taking this baking thing seriously since I want to make a career out of it and all.
Any advice you have for a sort of new baker would be very helpful cause I really don't think I know what I am doing and have to do it on my own.
I have recently only been baking for my family but if there are any ideas of who else to bake for that would be helpful. Also, is it possible to be successful without going to professional culinary training?

sorry for the novel. I thought many of you could help me since a lot of you are educated.
post #2 of 10

quick guides

samira,

I know of a site with very good basic guides on prepairing food, maybe you want to have a look.

It is www(dot)bigedu.org under the section of "recipes".
post #3 of 10
Choose a bakery near your home whose products you like and go to work there.

Explain to the owner that you want to learn to bake and you would like to work at his or her bakery and do it; work there in your spare time for free if necessary. (It's a lot cheaper than college and you get a lot more real life experience.)

Do a good job and the first opening that comes available I'm sure you will be given the job. My first cousin is married to a successful chef in New York and because he had no money for school this is how he got started except he worked at a restaurant of course.
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell.

"What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most." - An Unknown Soldier
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"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell.

"What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most." - An Unknown Soldier
Reply
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Peter, thank you for the site but there is only 4 recipes on that website and they arent really pastries except for crossaints.

BettyR, Thank you for the advice. I will go check out local bakeries near by to see how they are.
post #5 of 10
i support culinary school. its not for everyone, but i encourage people to go because it gives such a great foundation, something you really need to understand pastry.
i would also suggest working in a bakery to feel it out and see if this is what you really want to do. good luck!
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
I would go to culinary school but the price to attend is ridiculously high for me. I would have to pay it off all by myself and even with loans it really isn't a option for me.
I have worked in 2 bakeries before and I loved it a lot, so I will take all of your advice and find a new bakery to work out.
post #7 of 10
If culinary school is definatly not an option, then you'll have to make do with working to get experience. While I do believe it provides a very good base to learn from, I don't think it's essential to success in the industry unless you want to work for some of the big hotels and chains where they look (sometimes only) for degrees. This is still, barely, one of the few industries where good solid experience counts for something. Most of the time, school just gets your foot in the door and if it's your own door you're looking to open, then it might not matter as much.

However, you'll still need the base knowledge. King Arthur Flour's Baking Companion book, and Reagan Daly's "In The Sweet Kitchen" are both very good books to explain what the various ingredients are for and why they're used in the ways they are. They'll help fill in some of the gaps in your knowledge that school would have done while you're working.

Also, if you're going to work for a bakery, find the highest quality one in the area. If you can find one that bakes from scratch instead of mixes and such, that's the one to go for. Ask tons of questions, and practice at home too!

Good luck
post #8 of 10
The only way to learn is by doing. A job is "earn while you learn," but school makes you pay for it. Working for a single commercial employer becomes very much like baking from boxes in that you work with a limited number of proven recipes.

School gives you the opportunity to make mistakes a k a fail miserably, in a supportive environment where inevitable beginner's errors are a positive part of the learning experience. There's also a great deal to be said for understanding how and why things work, and an appreciation for different products that may not yet be popular in your area.

So, do both!

Find a gig -- and good for you. In the meantime look for community college and adult education classes that fit your work schedule.

Advice is easy,
BDL
post #9 of 10
If you are really sure that this is what you want to do, don’t let the local bakeries be where you stop on your learning tour. My cousin met her husband in London while she was stationed there in the Air Force.

While he was working at the restaurants in the states he was living with his family and saving all his money. He then went on a 6 year working tour of Europe; the European work experience was a valuable pad for his resume. He said he would have stayed in Europe longer but he had fallen in love with my cousin and after the Air Force sent her back to the states he followed her home.
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell.

"What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most." - An Unknown Soldier
Reply
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf" - George Orwell.

"What we do, more than anything we say, reveals what we truly value the most." - An Unknown Soldier
Reply
post #10 of 10
No you do not need a degree to be successful. You just need passion,dedication,a good business plan, and great recipes.

my advice is take this seriously, do not just bake whenever you feel like it. Make yourself a schedule and think of popular recipes and make them your own by adding your own spin of unexpected or complementing ingredients.

Every 3 days have a "tasting" either take them to work and ask your co-workers,friends,family whoever it may be. Make a chart, record the results,and see which recipes are the favorites. After sometime you will get a good idea of what you are good at, and what you should steer clear of.

It is going to take hardwork and dedication but if you are truly going to do this it wont be easy.

Running a bakery or any food business is fast paced and hard work.
Another tip is that presentation counts.People eat with their eyes first and their mouths later.Make whatever you bake look beautiful, and people will like it.
For Gourmet Cupcake Recipes and How to Articles, Visit my blog at http://www.GourmetCupcakeRecipes.blogspot.com
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For Gourmet Cupcake Recipes and How to Articles, Visit my blog at http://www.GourmetCupcakeRecipes.blogspot.com
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