Beginning a new job/career--- need advice!

Joined Aug 1, 2015

I'm new to the world of professional baking but have already become familiar with some of the rudiments of baking at home. I've recently been hired at two bakery locations who understand the breadth and depth of my experience (read: very little) so I'm learning as I go. These positions involve some order fulfillment for our wholesale side, and one of my jobs also involves everything in the kitchen, from ordering and maintaining stock of items to bake, planning the bake list for the day, and accounting for the retail shop's needs for when I'm not there. I'm only working 3 days of the week, and plan out accordingly.

Can somebody please help me with how I would do this? I'm being trained only one more day before our current pastry chef leaves and I run the ship. FYI I have no prior professional experience other than a kitchen internship involving repetitive work making stocks and prepping garnishes. Any and all help with understanding how to gauge the bakery's needs and especially how not to become so exhausted (or how to prevent burnout after ~6 ish hours) would be amazing. I believe the chef will be able to help a little next time I see her, but I want to come in with a sense of it already. 

I am a little overwhelmed but I'm determined. Thank you!

Joined Feb 18, 2007
I'm not surprised you're feeling a little overwhelmed; that's a lot to ask of a new hire with no prior experience.  How many other people are at this place?

You need to know what the prior sales have been in order to stock accordingly.  There should be some way that the retail side communicates what they sold or what they need so you know what to replenish.

Find out what is supposed to be in the retail cases on specific days (for example, if it's cupcakes, what flavors are sold on what days?  Monday Wed Fri are chocolate, vanilla, carrot, Tue/Thurs/Sat are red velvet, oreo, lemon and what quantities are typical?  Fewer on Mondays, more on Fri/Sat are most likely.)  This will tell you what needs to be baked for when.

What pastry staples are supposed to be in the kitchen at all times?  For example, lemon curd, buttercream, pastry cream, ganache, cake layers, mousse, etc. Maintaining specific quantities is called "par" - you always have some quantity of this in the kitchen at all times.  When you run low, you make more so it is always on hand and you don't run out at a critical time.

Look at past production lists/schedules to see what format has been used and whether or not you understand it.  The others in the shop most likely know how to read the lists but if you change it, you need to communicate that to them.

Is there a white board somewhere that people write on it what is running low and needs to be re-ordered?  Are there quantities of your par items (e.g., how many flourless chocolate cakes are in the freezer) listed there so you know where the threshold is (there's only 35 flourless cakes left, you're supposed to maintain 50 at all times so you know  you need to run a batch of them to get to 50).

The physical stamina will come, you need to get used to standing on your feet for an extended day.  GET GOOD SHOES - at least two or three pairs and wear a different pair every day.  Check out or any of the local shoe stores for kitchen/work shoes.  I can't stress this enough.  You need to take care of your feet or you will feel this pain every day and it will wear you down over time.

Who do you go to when you have questions or issues that need to be resolved?  This person needs to understand that you are new and they need to be patient.  By the end of two weeks, it should get easier, by the end of the first month you may feel as if you've been through the wringer but you will know more than you do now and the job will continue to get easier.

Good luck. Let us know how you're doing.
Joined Jun 27, 2012
This thread followed me to bed last nite....

Is there a policy and procedure manual you could study?

If not maybe after you have been there awhile you can get with the owner and EC and put one together...SO helpful to have an owner approved document to fall back on when a question pops up (and  the company decision maker is out of pocket).


You may be required by law to keep an updated MSDS book

IDK if this falls under your job description but you might want to ask "just in case".

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Joined May 30, 2015
At my bakery, we bake the entire weekend's stock on Thursdays. It makes it a lot easier.
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Kitchen Dork
Joined Jun 15, 2006
 At my bakery, we bake the entire weekend's stock on Thursdays. It makes it a lot easier.
So it's two days old by Saturday? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/surprised.gif
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