My first days working in a French Bakery!

by Jasmin

And my very first experiences working in a professional environment

Okay, great! I just scheduled my first blog post to be published next Sunday (See here!). That is extremely exciting and I want to use that good energy to keep on writing. First I wanted to use it to go running but then I realised that it’s raining outside. So instead I am sitting on my bed, writing these words, breathing in the smell of spring rain, sometimes looking out of the window and staring at the Eiffel Tower in the distance. … Ok I admit that the last part was a lie, but I truly am in Paris right now and if I look outside the window I can see a tower. It’s just a regular church though.

So, I guess I will not write down my experiences from home baker to French Pastry professional chronologically but rather go with the flow. Or write a post according to what you want to know more about.
As you figured, I am currently in Paris (more the outskirts than next to the Louvre, but Paris is Paris!) doing an internship. It’s my first time ever working in an actual pâtisserie and I can tell you it is VERY different from baking at home! Today was my third day and honestly I am torn between „I’m slowly getting the hang of it“ and „What am I doing here?!“. This is not at all meant in a bad way, rather just an observation.

To give you some more context, I am currently doing a French pastry diploma that is supposed to prepare me to bake delicious French pastries autonomously after eight months of studying and learning. Six of these eight months are spent at school and during two months I’m doing two different internships. I am now doing my first one, which is in a beautiful pâtisserie just outside of Paris.

How is it different from baking at home?

Well, where to start. Already, you’re not the only one in your kitchen baking, but you’re surrounded by a lot more people. The amount of people around you can vary though. Some pastry shops are run by not even a handful people in total. In my case, we’re maybe four or five in the morning and when the second shift arrives at around noon, we’re twice as many. I heard friends say, that sometimes they’re around 20 at the same time or even more. This is something that might seem obvious but it influences me just as it probably influences everybody. I was so used to just being by myself in my kitchen, having all the time I need, the space I need, doing the recipes I want to do. All of this is different working in a professional environment. In my case, I can ask my colleagues any questions whenever I’m stuck and I never saw anyone roll an eye. After all, they do prefer asking questions over making a mistake and maybe having a cake ruined 😉

And how is baking at pastry school?

I’m glad I got to go to school for a while before having this first „real world“ experience. Not only did I learn about hygiene (yep, no finger licking or dough eating) but also how to handle having less space, trying a lot of French recipes that I didn’t know before (some really good ones included!!) and especially: Having and using professional equipment! That is something I really love, like big fridges and freezers, a chamber just to proof your viennoiserie dough (I’m talking croissants!) or a machine that provides you with perfectly tempered chocolate. A dream!
Well, that dream is a bit different in an actual pastry shop. Seeing the really fancy equipment like the tempered-chocolate-thingy or a system that cuts slices perfectly using a jet of water (called watercut) is rather rare. You always find the basics though, but it might be hard to find a spot in the fridge or freezer since space is limited.

My experiences in a French bakery

But then again, school is also really different from my internship experience. Obviously, you need to keep the boat afloat, so there are some times where things get hectic and you need to rush and be fast. And well, on day three I did not entirely know the processes so I made a couple of small mistakes. Part of me wishes I had not made them. But then again, let’s not forget that was day THREE. Like literally day three of me baking in a professional environment, abroad and working with people I have never met before. So another part of me is perfectly fine with having made these mistakes, since now I feel like I will remember them plus I’m here to learn. Also luckily it was not big of an issue, I guess these things happen from time to time (whenever a new intern arrives ha!).

Looks like this is the main thing I remembered about that day. Let’s switch to something more positive! Generally my internship is going fine, I’m really glad to finally be working in a real French Bakery. I’m sure that I’m learning loads without even realising it and I am just grateful that I get to be here. I’m definitely living one of my dreams right now, though I would change a thing or two if I could.

I will keep you posted on my adventure of working in a French Bakery! Gotta head to bed now, alarm’s ringing at 5am! 

Talk to you soon!



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