Ancient Professions – Baker

Ancient Professions – Baker

The baking profession has been around since 8000BC and is still going strong today. From large factories to boutique bakeries, baking is a respected and much loved profession, by both business owners and customers alike!

What makes baked foods so good?

Bakers make fresh bread, rolls, pasties, pastries, biscuits, cookies, crackers and many other delicious foods- all of which smell amazing and taste phenomenal! The smell of freshly baked bread has actually been proven to trigger a positive mood in people, and (according to research published in the Daily Mail) people are more likely to do good deeds when the smell of freshly baked bread is near! Astonishingly, experiments have been carried out to test how kind individuals are when they are near a bakery: 77% of strangers stopped to pick up an item dropped by a passerby when stood by a bakery, compared to only 52% of individuals stood by a retail store (The Independent).

How baking has evolved

Baking originated from ancient Egypt, where ancient Egyptians were the first to bake bread. Evidence suggests that many years ago, landlords would have a public oven where women could bring dough to bake. Soon though, bakers realised there was money to be made in baking and began selling their own goods. It was not long before underhanded activity began with some landlords using trap doors in order to steal some of the dough brought in by the housewives, to bake as their own. 

Today, bakeries are businesses. The public cannot bake their own dough, and only those trained with the appropriate health and safety training can use the ovens. Bakeries can make a huge amount of profit, namely because the ingredients to make baked goods are very low, and the retail price they can be sold at (whilst still “cheap” in the eyes of the public) is very high. 

How to become a baker

Most bakeries will expect you to have high school level of education, with some favoring candidates who have studied food technology. Essentially, the qualifications you require will depend on the country you work in. This also means that the courses available for you to take up will vary considerable. Some popular courses are listed below:

  • Diploma in Professional Bakery
  • Diploma for Proficiency in Baking Industry Skills
  • National Certificate in Baking, Plant Baking or Craft Baking
  • Level 2 Certificate in General Patisserie and Confectionery.

Career progression

There is not much room for career progression, although salary raises are standard for apprentice workers through to qualified bakers. Generally, a 1st year apprentice will make approximately $20,000, with an increase to $23, 000 in their second year and $25,000 in their 3rd year. Qualified bakers can make in the region of $35,000 per year, although if you own the bakery yourself, you will reap the profits. 

What you need to be aware of…

A career as a baker is no easy ride. The hours are long and grueling, with most bakers having to put up with very early starts! Oftentimes, bakers will be up and baking by 3am, ready for the early morning rush for freshly baked bread.

Fun Fact

How did the term “Bakers Dozen” occur?

In olden times, if landlords were caught doing anything underhanded with their ovens, or if they cheated their clients in any way, they would tend to throw in an extra loaf of bread as a form of “apology”. This extra loaf soon became known as the bakers dozen, which of course, is 13.