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Culinary Central

The Art of Baking

September 17, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu Pittsburgh 0 Comments

Did you know that bakers are the chemists of the kitchen? That’s right; to be good at baking you must be good at chemistry. You must have an intimate understanding of thickening agents (flour/starches), emulsifiers (butter and fats), binding agents (eggs), leaveners (yeast, baking powder, baking soda), and hydrolysers (sugar). And while you don’t need to know exactly how each of these ingredients does its job, you absolutely must know what they do and how each will affect your recipes.

The acts of sifting, stirring, and kneading are preparations that are designed to get the most out of the chemical properties of your ingredients before applying the catalyst of heat. Understanding the basics of these chemical properties and reactions can help make you a better baker.

At its simplest, baking is the cooking of food in an oven with dry heat and thermal convection. It is used in the preparation of breads, cakes, pies, cookies, tarts, and quiches. At its most complex baking produces a wide variety of artisan breads, imaginative confections, and superbly flavored pastry delicacies.

History of Baking

Baking is a time-honored method of preparing foods with origins dating back thousands of years to ancient civilizations. The rise of the art of baking paralleled the rise of civilization as nomadic hunter/gatherers settled down and began to raise grain crops. Since then baking has transformed from basic food preparation to today’s highly sophisticated preparation and presentation styles.

Many cultures include specialty baked goods as part of their most cherished cultural and religious traditions. As a result, pastries and other baked goods have taken on a feeling of home and help us stay connected to who we are.

Pittsburgh Baking Jobs

One of the reasons people are interested in becoming a pastry chef is because of that feeling of connection created by the preparation and sharing of pastries and confections. They enjoy the art of baking and others enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Most top culinary schools can help prepare students pursue a career opportunities as aspiring pastry chefs. They provide baking instruction that help prepare students for entry-level positions in bakeries, restaurants, grocery stores, research kitchens, hotels, and resorts. From there pastry chefs can set course for the types of culinary careers that will best reward their passion for baking.

Pâtisserie & Baking programs are designed to provide the theoretical foundation and practical, hands-on skills needed to pursue positions in the baking and pastry industry. Classical French pastry techniques are blended with modern American technology to compliment well-rounded curriculums.

Entering a patisserie program can help you develop your talents and interests so that you can pursue a rewarding and fulfilling career as an aspiring pastry chef.

This article is presented by The Pennsylvania Culinary Institute. The Pennsylvania Culinary Institute offers Le Cordon Bleu culinary education classes and culinary training programs in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Pittsburgh for more information.

The jobs mentioned are examples of certain potential jobs, not a representation that these outcomes are more probable than others. The Pennsylvania Culinary Institute does not guarantee employment or salary.


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