The baking and pastry arts curriculum is meant to teach students the fundamentals of baking methods, pastry design and sanitation practices. Below are some common concepts taught in this field of study:
- Selecting equipment and ingredients
- Restaurant management skills
- Contemporary baking techniques
- European pastries
- Cake decorating
- Food safety
Baking and pastry arts programs also provide a great deal of hands-on experience for students through class time in the kitchen and through externships.
List of Common Courses
Many baking and pastry arts programs cover how to safely prepare food in a professional kitchen. This course is considered vital because of the health and legal ramifications involved with improper sanitation methods. One of the goals of the course is to prepare students to take the Conference for Food Protection's national certification exam. Causes and prevention of food-borne illnesses are common topics discussed during this class.
Basic Pastry Arts and Baking Techniques Course
During this introductory course, students learn the foundations of baking and pastry creation. The course focuses on how to measure and mix food ingredients. The various uses for kitchen tools and equipment are also discussed. Students practice techniques, like blending, creaming, lamination and foaming. They can also learn how to prepare tarts, cookies, cakes, muffins, custards, meringues, chocolates, straight dough and more.
Artisan Breads and Rolls Course
When students begin crafting artisan breads and rolls, they learn how to work with yeast by hand. They learn how yeast functions, how to develop recipes and how timing is essential for optimal results. The mixing, shaping, baking, storing and distribution of various breads and rolls are the central focus in this course. Students also learn techniques to improve flavor, texture, appearance and shelf life. This course is normally taken mid-way through the program.
Cakes and Decorations Course
Students learn cake baking and decorating basics with this course. Common skills include learning to use several types of icing, as well as tempering chocolate and piping script. As students progress through the course, they learn how to create intricate decorations and may tackle more complex projects, such as wedding cakes. This course is frequently offered toward the end of a program.
Advanced Pastry and Baking Techniques Course
Students' previous coursework leads to the advanced pastry and baking techniques course. Students can learn about the nutritional and chemical aspects involved with baking. They may discover how to make pastries and baked goods for people with special dietary needs, such as gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan and low-sugar options. International pastry creation is sometimes also taught during this course.