Pastry and baking classes are offered through certificate and associate's degree programs in culinary arts, and some schools offer specializations in baking and pastry. Courses for potential bakers and pastry chefs include instruction in many techniques like baking cakes, making pastry, candy and other desserts and preparing breads.
Students gain hands-on experience creating a variety of baked goods and desserts. Some classes also cover the basics of the scientific and chemical processes involved when combining ingredients and preparing desserts or other baked goods.
Here are a few common concepts found in pastry and baking classes:
- Basic techniques
- Breads and pies
- Cheesecakes, chocolates and cakes
- Mixing and production
- Design and decorating
List of Courses
Baking and Pastry Fundamentals
Introductory pastry and baking classes provide students with an understanding of the ingredients and methods used in creating breads, pastries, cookies and other desserts. Students learn how dairy, fruits, flour and chocolate come into play with pastry and baking. The fundamentals of dough and basic decorating skills are covered, and this pastry and baking class also introduces students to baking equipment and baking costs. Some pastry and baking classes break pastry desserts into egg-based, sugar-based and cream-based desserts for introductory courses.
A pastry dough class teaches students about flakey, sweet and cookie doughs, which are the primary pastry dough types. Students learn the different mixing, rolling and turning techniques required with each dough type. Hands-on activities resulting in the creation of pastries and tarts are integral to this pastry and baking class, and may involve molding dough by hand or with commercial dough sheeters and slicers. Specialty pastries such as phyllo, doughnuts, pie crusts, strudel and galettes may also be demonstrated or attempted.
Working with Sugar
The hands-on course provides introductory concepts in candy making and working with sugar. Students practice pulling and blowing sugar, techniques necessary for the basics of making candies, including making flowers, fruit pieces and figurines. These skills are necessary for more advance pastry and baking courses in candy making.
Candy and Miniature Pastries
Students in a candy and miniature pastries class learn how to design and mold candies and bite-sized desserts. They receive hands-on experience making éclairs, tarts, cream puffs and cheesecakes. Candies covered in this pastry and baking class include truffles, raspberry and lemon squares, toffee and bonbons. Advanced pastry and baking classes teach drying, tempering and candying methods. A special focus on chocolate is often included, covering the science and theories of chocolate, along with an introduction to how chocolate is made and how it should be stored.
Students taking this course gain hands-on experience baking and designing wedding and other specialty cakes. The course involves learning how to ice cakes to create beautiful, aesthetic designs, complete with frosting. They create small, decorated cakes and more difficult cakes, such as wedding cakes, and learn the best ways to display completed items for potential customers. Usually, students need to design an original wedding cake to complete the course.