Baking and Pastry Arts

Aspiring bakers have many paths to take for higher education. The term "pastry arts" refers to the sweet side of cooking just like the term "culinary arts" refers to more savory dishes. A professional career in the baking and pastry

arts can be started with a  cooking degree from a four-year college or university. Also, community colleges provide associate's degrees in cooking.

An independent culimary school with its own reputation, such as Le Cordon Bleu, works for some aspiring pastry chefs. Vocational schools are best for others, while some students earn online pastry arts degrees. There is no cookie cutter (no pun intended) path for bakers. It all depends on the student, his goals, and what fits into his lifestyle. 

Students learn a variety of things in all culinary arts institutions of higher education, including: 

  • Creating a variety of chocolates from scratch.
  • Old-fashioned and modern baking techniques.
  • Kitchen budgets and inventory control. 
  • Making rich caramels.
  • Creating ice creams of different flavors and types.
  • Using professional, restaurant grade equipment. 
  • Planning and cultivating an original menu.
  • Proper techniques for a small, medium, or large kitchen.
  • Preparing a wide variety of sweet and savory foods.
  • Taking special care in food presentation. 
  • Crafting delicious breads of many varieties.
  • Creating fudge and other speciality confections. 
  • Making all of a baker's delights, such as brownies, cakes, and pies.

Pastry Arts Degree Admission Requirements

Like all other fields of study, the admission requirements to a program in the baking and pastry arts varies depending on the institution. Most require that you do have a high school diploma or the equivalent. It helps to have experience working in bakeries to prove that you have dedication and a deep level of understanding of the career. When applying to programs, it's important to indicate your future career plans.

Career Opportunities After Earning a Baking Degree

The sky is the limit after acquiring an education in the baking and pastry arts. One may start his own catering business to take his skills on the road and potentially earn hefty profits. A caterer who specializes in baked good will often serve at business functions, conventions, and other events where donuts and croissants will be especially popular.

A baker with an entrepreneurial spirit may choose to open her own pastry shop, bakery, or even a coffee shop after acquiring her baking degree. It can be as formal or casual as the owner desires, and that gives a lot of freedom although it involves the most risk. One may even opt to become a food critic, as extensive knowledge of the baking arts is necessary for reviewing several types of restaurants.

Some bakers also choose to combine their studies in the pastry arts with other studies, including restaurant management, international culinary options, and hospitality management. If that is done, the options for a career continue to grow.

Sources:

Culinary Schools: Patisserie and Baking Majors

http://www.culinaryschools.org/culinary-majors/baking-pastry/

Oregon.gov: Bakeries

http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/FSD/Pages/program_food.aspx

The Times-Picayune: Delgado Will Offer Pastry Arts Degree in the Fall

http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2010/04/delgado_will_offer_pastry_arts.html

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