- This article refers to the cooking profession. For other uses, see Baker (disambiguation)
A baker is someone who makes, bakes and sells breads, rolls, biscuits or cookies, and/or crackers using an oven or other concentrated heat source. Cakes and similar foods may also be produced, as the traditional boundaries between what is produced by a baker as opposed to a pastry chef have blurred in recent decades. The place where a baker works is called a bakery.
The first group of people to bake bread were ancient Egyptians, around 8000 BC. During the Middle Ages it was common for each landlord to have a bakery, which was actually a public oven; Housewives would bring dough that they had prepared to the baker, who would tend the oven and bake them into bread. As time went on, bakers would also sell their own goods, and in that some bakers acted dishonestly, tricks emerged: for example, a baker might have trap door(s) in the oven or other obscured areas, that would allow a hidden small boy or other apprentice to take off some of the dough brought in for baking. Then the dishonest baker would sell bread made with the stolen dough as their own. This practice and others eventually lead to the famous regulation known as Assize of Bread and Ale, which prescribed harsh penalties for bakers that were found cheating their clients or customers. As a safeguard against cheating, under-filled orders, or any appearance of impropriety, bakers commonly began to throw in one more loaf of bread; this tradition now exists in the phrase "baker's dozen", which is 13.
- Large factories. These produce bread and related products which are then transported to numerous sale or consumption points throughout a region. These normally include supermarkets, restaurants, various fast food outlets, convenience stores, and the like. Bakers in these environments are largely there for quality control as machines take care of much of the labour intensive aspect of the job.
- Small Independent bakeries. These are largely family-run businesses. They may specialise in particular types of products, such as rye bread, sourdough, Italian bread, French bread, pita bread or bagels. They may supply nearby restaurants, grocers, or delicatessens with particular style(s) of bread. Independent bakeries often sell directly to the public from a store or counter at the bakery.
- Chain stores. Recent years have seen the rise of chain stores selling the same range of products. Bakers in these stores bake according to a pre-determined recipe book. This can lead to frustration as some bakers do not agree with techniques used by the franchising model. However, the recipes used tend to be well-founded, and popular with the paying public.
- Restaurants in which bakers may work exclusively to produce fresh high quality baked goods to be served as part of a menu.
- Baker's percentage
- Baker's yeast, what bakers commonly use to make doughs rise
- Bread machine, a home appliance to make single, basic loaves of bread
- Cake shop
- Chorleywood Bread Process, a process developed to make bread dough from the lower protein wheats of England
- Coffee cake, simple cakes made for everyday use such as for breakfast or as snacks
- Dough, an unbaked form of bread
- Flour, a powdered form of grain or other staple foods
- Kneading, the process by which a dough is worked
- List of bakers
- Loaf, an article of bread
- Pastry chef, someone who specializes in the making and baking of pastries, desserts, and other elaborate sweets
- Pâtisserie, a bakery that specializes in pastries and sweets, in some countries this is a legal distinction
- Peel, a tool to remove baked goods from an oven
- Petit four, small confections originally created to use the excess heat of ovens fired by expensive coal
- Proofing (baking technique)
- Sliced bread, involves the industrial development of bread slicing machines
- Vienna bread, developed with processes that were early steps in the modernization of bread production
- White bread
- August Zang, Austrian soldier who started a bakery in Paris and introduced Viennese steam ovens and pastries there
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