CAREER GUIDES

Here's how bakery technologist test products at various stages

Image: 123RF/Iakov Filimonov.

In small bakeries, more work is done by hand with fewer mechanical devices. This involves selecting the amount and type of flour, yeast and other ingredients and shaping the dough. If necessary, the product is left for a while to prove or rise in the case of bread dough. The product is put into pans and then into ovens to bake.

Confectionery allows for more specialisation and variation than does bread. Many different products, such as tarts, pies, pastries, biscuits, cakes and cookies, can be made, sometimes on a large scale.

There is a range of occupations in the baking industry, from the unskilled worker to graduates. Bakers work with recipes and formulae and flour, yeast, sugar and other ingredients used in manufacturing baked products.

There are many instruments used, such as those to measure weights and mass, as well as volume, humidity and time mixers, dividing machines, moulders, provers, ovens and other equipment used to produce baked products, besides pans, bowls and other bakery utensils.

Work environments are varied as kitchens differ according to the type of institution, such as bakeries, hospitals, restaurants, hotels or educational institutions.

Bakery technologists are responsible for controlling quality from raw-material stage to the end product. They test products at various stages of processing.

They conduct research on improving baking methods for mass consumption and develop more efficient ways of storing, packing and distributing products to eliminate or at least reduce spoilage.

They also train production staff in various aspects of bakery technology and supervise staff to ensure proper application of the techniques.

Personal requirements

  • Passionate about food
  • Enjoy working in kitchens
  • Willing to perform repetitive tasks
  • Artistic - confectioners do decorative work
  • Able to get along well with others
  • Neat, orderly and able to organise well
  • Good health and physical stamina
  • Finger and hand dexterity
  • Scientifically and technically inclined
  • A scientific and technical aptitude 
  • Baking knowledge and skills
  • Able to work in a team and supervise it
  • Make accurate observations
  • Execute experiments meticulously

How to enter

Schooling & school subjects

To become a Baker you will need a Grade 9. However to qualify as a Bakery Technologist you will need:

  • A National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements 
  • Note that each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to study

Major baking groups offer in-service training.

Diploma: UJ, CPUT, DUT, TUT

Employment

  • Large and small wholesale and retail bakeries
  • Such companies as BB Cereals, Bokomo, Premier Milling and Baking, Sasko, Sunbake, Tiger Milling and Baking
  • Establishments that serve food, such as hotels, hospitals, restaurants and educational institutions
  • Chain stores
  • Self-employment, setting up own bakery

Getting started

  • Try to obtain part time or holiday work as assistant or clerk in a local bakery
  • Take home economics or cookery classes at your school, or a community organisation
  • Arrange to visit a large bakery in your area  and speak to a baker or bakery technologist about this type of career
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