Bakers

by Kate Williams

What Bakers Do

Bakers mix ingredients according to recipes in order to make breads, pastries, and other baked goods.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62-onA1gzjQ

Work Environment

Most bakers work in retail or commercial bakeries (manufacturing facilities), grocery stores or wholesale club stores, and restaurants. Work shifts often include early mornings, late evenings, weekends, and holidays.

How to Become a Baker

Bakers typically learn their skills through long-term on-the-job training. Although no formal education is required, some learn through an apprenticeship program or by attending a technical or culinary school.

Pay

The median annual wage for bakers was $27,700 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of bakers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Bakers with years of experience should have the best job opportunities, with employment driven by the growing demand for specialty baked products.

Bakers mix ingredients according to recipes in order to make breads, pastries, and other baked goods.

Duties

Bakers typically do the following:

  • Check the quality of baking ingredients
  • Prepare equipment for baking
  • Measure and weigh flour and other ingredients
  • Combine measured ingredients in mixers or blenders
  • Knead, roll, cut, and shape dough
  • Place dough into pans, into molds, or onto baking sheets
  • Set oven temperatures and place items into ovens or onto grills

Bakers produce various types and quantities of breads, pastries, and other baked goods sold by grocers, wholesalers, restaurants, and institutional food services.

The following are examples of types of bakers:

Commercial bakers, also called production bakers, work in manufacturing facilities that produce breads, pastries, and other baked products. In these facilities, bakers use high-volume mixing machines, ovens, and other equipment, which may be automated, to mass-produce standardized baked goods. They carefully follow instructions for production schedules and recipes.

Retail bakers work primarily in grocery stores and specialty shops, including bakeries. In these settings, they produce smaller quantities of baked goods for people to eat in the shop or for sale as specialty baked goods. Retail bakers may take orders from customers, prepare baked products to order, and occasionally serve customers. Although the quantities prepared and sold in these stores are often small, they usually come in a wide variety of flavors and sizes. Most retail bakers are also responsible for cleaning their work area and equipment and unloading supplies.

Some retail bakers own bakery shops where they make and sell breads, pastries, pies, and other baked goods. In addition to preparing the baked goods and overseeing the entire baking process, they are also responsible for hiring, training, and supervising their staff. They must budget for and order supplies, set prices, and decide how much to produce each day.

Bakers held about 199,300 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of bakers were as follows:

Bakeries and tortilla manufacturing 30%
Food and beverage stores 26
Restaurants and other eating places 20
Self-employed workers 6

The work can be stressful because bakers follow time-sensitive baking procedures and often work under strict deadlines. For example, bakers must follow daily production schedules to bake products in sufficient quantities while maintaining consistent quality. In manufacturing facilities, they often work with other production workers, such as helpers and maintenance staff, so that equipment is cleaned and ready.

Bakers are exposed to high temperatures when working around hot ovens. They stand for hours at a time while observing the baking process, making the dough, or cleaning the baking equipment.

Injuries and Illnesses

Bakeries, especially large manufacturing facilities, are filled with potential dangers such as hot ovens, mixing machines, and dough cutters. Bakers must take precautions to avoid injury.

Although their work is generally safe, bakers may endure back strains caused by lifting or moving heavy bags of flour or other products. Other common risks include cuts, scrapes, and burns. To reduce these risks, bakers often wear back supports, aprons, and gloves.

Work Schedules

Some bakers work part time.

Grocery stores and restaurants sell freshly baked goods throughout the day. As a result, bakers are often scheduled to work shifts during early mornings, late evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Bakers who work in commercial bakeries that bake continuously may have to work late evenings and weekends.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of bakers.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Chefs and head cooks

Chefs and Head Cooks

Chefs and head cooks oversee the daily food preparation at restaurants and other places where food is served.

High school diploma or equivalent $51,530

Cooks

Cooks

Cooks prepare, season, and cook a wide range of foods.

See How to Become One $26,360

Food and Tobacco Processing Workers

Food and tobacco processing workers operate equipment that mixes, cooks, or processes ingredients used in the manufacture of food and tobacco products.

See How to Become One $30,200

Food preparation workers

Food Preparation Workers

Food preparation workers perform many routine tasks under the direction of cooks, chefs, or food service managers.

No formal educational credential $24,800

For information about job opportunities, contact local employers and local offices of the state employment service.

For more information about certification or training programs, visit

AIB International

Retail Bakers of America

O*NET

Bakers


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bakers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/bakers.htm (visited ).


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