Five Skills To Learn Before Pastry School

Now on my second year of my Baking and Pastry Arts degree at Johnson and Wales, I have a lot of experience about what its like to be in labs at school.What you need to be able to be successful and truly further your career, along with what skills and tools will help you to be prepared for school.

To me, there are five very important skills that you should learn or master before attending any culinary school.

Multi-Tasking
When you are cooking, being able to multi-task is extremely important.You will have to be mixing one thing, keeping an eye on the other product in the oven, and scaling out the next product all at the same time.Without messing anything up! There are plenty of people whom this comes naturally to, but if that is not you; maybe try perfecting your multi-tasking abilities.

Mixing
Alright, I know what your thinking.How hard can it be to master mixing?Just put the spoon in the bowl and stir!But, its a little more complicated than that.Mixing is a very important part of baking, if you do not mix something properly the first time than your product will not turn out correct.If your mixing by hand, make sure that you are mixing the entire thing, scrape along the side and get all the way to the bottom.I see most people just stirring in the very middle of the bowl and are very timid about it.If you are using a mixer, make sure you stop and scrape down the side of the bowl.The last important thing about mixing is to know your timing.Every recipe and formula you make will need a specific time and speed that you need to mix it for.Obviously, each formula will be different but keeping to what the formula states is very important.

Kneading
How can you be a baker or pastry chef if you cant knead properly?To knead a ball of dough, fondant, or anything else that might need to be kneaded, pardon the pun, start on the proper surface.Make sure your clean and dry surface is well floured, than place the dough in the middle of your work place.Using the heel of you hand push down and away from you, in the center of the dough ball.Fold the dough back towards you in half, rotate 90 degrees, and repeat.The more you properly knead dough, the faster you will be, and will be able to do all the steps in one easy swoop.

Whisking
Unfortunately there isn’t always a mixer at your fingertips to whisk something up.So, you need to know how to do this by hand.Whisking is not an easy task, and involves a lot of different variables.What type of thing you are whisking up and the amount can make a huge difference.But, for now, lets use making a small batch of whipped cream as our example.First, you need to use a large enough bowl and make sure that said bowl is clean.You need to use a traditional whisk that matches the bowl size, for example you want a whisk that the metal tines reach at least the top rim of the bowl.

Now you need to get the motion right, quickly snap your wrist back and fourth.That’s it!Do not go in a stirring motion, but purely back and fourth very quickly.This incorporates air into the cream, creating the rise that ultimately results in whipped cream.Now, that way a very simple and quick way to explain it, but the important things to remember are to keep the whisk all the way to the bottom of the bowl.To keep the speed up very high and make sure you are actually whisking all of the cream.

Creativity
The last and most important thing on my list is creativity.While creativity is not really a skill, it is a very necessary tool to have in the kitchen.You can teach anyone to make a good chocolate chip cookie, but to make an amazing dessert out of a chocolate chip cookies that is unique and beautiful takes a lot of creativity.My suggestion for everyone who is aspiring to be a chef of any kind is to take some art classes at a local community college.Having some knowledge of colors and design will really help in designing a dish.

Well, there are the the five skills I feel that are extremely helpful when starting at a culinary school.Even if you are not going to a college, and are just starting out working at a restaurant, these are skills that you cannot pass on learning.

Browse Baking and Pastry Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]
            1 Program(s) Found

            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

            1 Program(s) Found
            • Dedicated to providing a hands-on, personal approach to education since 1946.
            • Provides associate degrees and short-term certificate programs in business, design, healthcare, and more.
            • Offers alumni free “brush up” classes, allowing graduates to exercise certain skills or software that they may not have used in a while.
            • Gives students many options for campus activities, including intramural sports, drama club, and campus parties.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            4 Program(s) Found
            Virginia College , Birmingham
            • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
            • Ranked #3 in Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2014 by Military Times.
            • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
            • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
            • Has 27 campus locations across the southern United States, plus offers online degree programs.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            5 Program(s) Found

            Sullivan University is a private institution of higher learning dedicated to providing educational enrichment opportunities for the intellectual, social and professional development of its students. The institution offers career-focused curricula with increasing rigor from the certificate through diploma, associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree levels. Throughout those curricula, the university seeks to promote the development of critical thinking, effective verbal and written communication, computer literacy, and teamwork as well as an appreciation for life-long learning, cultural diversity and the expression of professionalism in all activities. At the graduate level, the university also seeks to promote a culture of research.