I am in the first year of a bakery course in Castle College. The course is very hands-on, which is great, as we get to test theories learned in class and transfer these skills in a practical way.
I like making and baking breads and cakes on a large scale, as well as croissants, brioches, Danish pastries, doughnuts, pastries and pies. We also learn how to make confectionery items, such as chocolate truffles, toffee apples and so on.
Just a few months into the course, I have found the experience really worthwhile. I always had an interest in the food industry, but did not have the confidence to explore it further. The most I catered for is family and friends on a social basis. These days, however, I have become much more ambitious and would like the course to lead me into setting up my own bakery business. The tutors help in explaining what it would require to run, or manage, a small-sized business. Because my parents are Lebanese, I may make and sell Arabic bread in the future.
Studying bakery and confectionery is a good grounding and a skill that you can take anywhere, which is what appeals to me most. On the practical side of things, we explore the whole background to baking, which is not just about following a recipe on paper but understanding why different types of ingredients react with one another. We need to know what makes a good product and how to present it well.
It took me a long time to decide whether I wanted to do the course, but after talking with the tutors and seeing for myself what it would take, I knew it was the right choice. I feel that it is an investment for the future, well worth paying for. The course takes about three to four years to complete, depending on what NVQ level you want to take it to. I hope to commit to at least two years and see where it takes me after that.
As a first-year student, I thought that the course was going to be mostly classroom-based, learning about the food industry, before we would be allowed to do any baking. But from the beginning, we have had a hands-on approach to learning and getting a feel for the equipment and materials we would be using. We have also been given the opportunity to make and sell the breads and confectionery to the public through our bakery, which is run by the school and encourages me to push myself further.
a good decision
I love baking and interacting with the other students. The tutors are great and you can ask them anything. Taking up the course was a good decision. It has opened up lots of possibilities for me and, no doubt, it will to anyone who is thinking of applying for it. n