Most career colleges that offer culinary arts degrees also
offer baking and pastry programs. Learning this subset of
culinary skills prepares students to be artisan bakers, dessert
makers for restaurants and hotels, and caterers. Gifted baking
and pastry culinary students may even go on to careers as
chocolatiers or wedding cake designers.
Different schools offer different types of baking and pastry
degrees. It’s possible for students to earn a baking
and pastry certificate, an associate degree, or even a bachelor’s
degree. Generally, a baking and pastry program will be composed
of several core elements as well as some electives. Here are
the core classes found in the majority of these programs:
Food Safety and Sanitation
Anyone who wants a culinary career needs to understand food
safety and sanitation. This will be one of the first classes
students should take in any culinary program to learn how
to safely handle food. In order to keep people who eat your
cooking from becoming ill, learning the ways in which food
becomes contaminated with bacteria like E. coli is absolutely
A lot of behind-the-scenes preparation must happen for any
kitchen to run smoothly. A culinary course in food preparation
teaches the fundamentals of knife work. Students also learn
how to quickly and expertly set up ingredients and how to
assemble basic meals like salads.
Baking and Pastry Principles
Core baking and pastry classes cover how to make all the
basic bread types and different kinds of pastries. Students
learn fundamental recipes as building blocks and then go on
to to create their own recipes from what they know about how
ingredients and quantities work together.
The goal of a desserts course is to teach baking and pastry
students how to make all the standard desserts we know and
love, from chocolate mousse to apple pie. More advanced dessert
courses may involve caramelizing fruit, flambé, and
a healthy amount of student experimentation.
Nutritional Baking and Pastry
The only drawback to a baking and pastry career is that many
of your sinfully delicious creations will bad for people’s
health. A nutritional baking class will help students learn
about the nutritional qualities of ingredients and how to
make appropriate and healthy substitutes. Since so many people
have dietary restrictions, students should also learn the
basics of low-fat desserts, sugar-free desserts, and gluten-free
Chocolate and Confection
In a good baking and pastry program, students will learn
how to make showpiece desserts like decadent chocolate fountains
and sugar sculptures. Often, basic candy-making is also covered.
Cake decorating requires both hand-eye coordination and design
skills. In a cake decorating class, students learn everything
from lettering and frosting flowers to sophisticated wedding
General Education Classes
Associate degree and bachelor’s degree programs require
students to take some general education courses to fulfill
accreditation requirements. The great thing about attending
a culinary school is that the educational focus will be hands-on
training, and general education classes like English and American
government will be kept to a minimum. In addition, general
education requirements like math are often tailored to suit
the needs of future bakers by focusing on topics like recipe
calculation and kitchen budgeting.
There are many career colleges that offer Culinary courses.
If you're working full-time and are would like to enroll in
an Culinary program visit the Culinary
Schools directory to get more information
from these schools.