A baking and pastry arts education may be required for entry-level positions as a baker, pastry chef or related culinary arts professional in restaurants, commercial bakeries, hotels and resorts, and specialty bakeries. Baking courses may be part of certificate, 2-year associate or 4-year bachelor's degree programs, either under the umbrella of a culinary arts or baking and pastry arts major. Course offerings may be held on one or multiple days, evenings, weekdays or weekends.
Here is an outline of common concepts taught in baking courses:
- Specialty and alternative baking
- Measurements and conversions
- Cake decorating
- Pastry arts
- Sanitation and food safety
List of Baking Courses
Principles of Baking Course
This is typically the first baking course a student enrolls in any baking-related degree program and is a required class. The combination of classroom and kitchen lab learning in this course gives students an overview of standard kitchen practices, culinary vocabulary and baking techniques. Students are introduced to both everyday and specialized kitchen tools and equipment, commonly used ingredients and their properties. They also learn professional standards of personal hygiene, work station sanitation and general kitchen safety.
Sanitation and Safety Course
This class, mandatory in most programs, is completed early in a baking course of study. Instructors teach the fundamentals of maintaining a clean and safe work environment. Minimum standards of personal hygiene are covered in this class. Students also learn how to prepare and store ingredients and finished baked goods safely. Students will learn how to avoid cross-contamination of different ingredients as well as some of the possible resulting dangers of poor sanitation and safety.
Cake Decoration and Design Course
This baking course focuses on how to bake, fill, ice and decorate cakes. Coursework includes overviews of special occasion and wedding cakes. Students are introduced to a variety of decorating methods using royal icing, marzipan, gum paste and fondant, using air brushing, piping and more. The principles and techniques needed to create tiered cakes are covered in both classroom study and hands-on kitchen learning.
European Cakes and Tortes Course
Most baking programs require a course in classical European cakes and tortes. Through lectures and kitchen lab work, students practice baking traditional and modern classics like Linzer and Sacher tortes and Black Forest cake. Students learn how to assemble these specialty baked goods. A unit on filling, icing, glazing and decorating skills appropriate to specific baked goods rounds out student skills in this area.
Specialty Breads Course
In this required class, students receive an overview of specialty and artisan bread-making, from preparation methods to finishing techniques. Coursework introduces students to working with various flours, like whole wheat and rye. Students learn to prepare sourdough starters and bake loaves of sourdough bread. Students study the recipes used to make common artisan breads like focaccia and also learn how to modify established recipes to make them their own.
An internship or co-op is usually a requirement in baking programs. Some programs require students to complete more than one. This hands-on work experience is usually completed either on-campus, in a school-run bakery or restaurant, or off-campus in a working kitchen that's part of a bakery, resort or related hospitality setting. Students typically practice purchasing, baking, decorating and other essential professional skills.