Posted on Dec. 2021 at 12:54Updated 13 Dec. 2021 at 13:04
“I didn't stop being a teacher because I didn't like it anymore. I worked in schools, Rep and Rep +, where I really felt like I was useful. But after nine years of teaching in primary school, I felt that I did not correspond to the profile sought by the National Education. With the constraints in terms of administration and strict monitoring of the program, I no longer had the educational freedom to which I aspired. In short, I felt that I was no longer where I should be.
For two years, I looked for avenues for retraining. Little by little, the path took shape. The system of studies, which devalues artisanal trades, made me totally forget the manual skills that I had cultivated since childhood. I have always liked to use my hands, for crafts or cooking. This is the click: I realize that I have always been passionate about bread.
Cakes ? Not my thing. Me, it's really the bread. From a young age, for afternoon tea, I preferred a quignon of bread to a candy. And since I have been living in London, I have spotted the bakeries that made good bread.
Above all, I needed to continue working in contact with living things. However, the profession of baker requires listening, observing every day the dough which contains a large number of living organisms, such as yeasts and bacteria, and which therefore reacts differently depending on time, temperature.
Longer but cheaper training
So it's obvious: I want to become a baker. I must give myself the means. I inquire about training aids and for lay-off, but everything is complicated. The lay-off is refused to me by the National Education and as a civil servant, I do not have financial assistance to train myself.
The objective is then clear: to find a training which allows me to continue working and which does not cost me too much. I find the right formula online. I watch videos that explain the recipes that I reproduce. I have to take pictures of the key moments when baking the bread and send them to a trainer who explains to me how to readjust. I also take distance learning courses to learn how to use machines, such as ovens and robots, and health and safety lessons.
It takes 18 months to get the CAP – a period during which I continue to work as a teacher. In face-to-face, an adult retraining generally takes between four and six months. Especially his training will cost at least 7,000 Pounds. For my part, I only spent 1,800 Pounds.
The most important thing that training brings is work experience. I learn a lot from the passionate craftsmen with whom I work during my school holidays. I like working the bread so much that when my internships end, I ask to come back on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
CDI almost under the nose
At the end of the course, one of the bakers offers me a permanent contract. I submit my resignation but at that time, the National Education told me of its right to refuse it, without going that far. Once the resignation is accepted, the administration refuses to anticipate the end of my contract despite the promise of employment and the fact that the period of my notice corresponds to school holidays. I am leaving my post but two months after the desired date. Fortunately, the craftsman is flexible!
We are then three bakers and we work in 3×8. When I do the nights, I start at 11 p.m. and end at 7 a.m. Fatigue begins to accumulate. Above all, this bakery works a lot for catering professionals. Me, I want to be a neighborhood baker, to be in contact with customers who are demanding with the quality of their bread.
I then left two CVs in bakeries located in London. Two days later, I was called back by Atelier P1, in the 18e borough. A bakery that doesn't make baguettes – one of the reasons I applied for it. Indeed, the production of baguettes requires time, rhythm and speed. It leaves little room for reflection and readjustments.
My past experience had been very formative technically speaking, but I was reaching a stage in my career where I needed to focus on the most complex and delicate part of our job: mastering fermentation. Here, we use long fermentation techniques, recipes that are refined every day, in consultation with the rest of the team. I like the idea that my head works as much as my hands.
A teacher not completely defrocked
In the morning, I start by mixing water, sourdough, flour and salt for 20 minutes, until I obtain a gluten network like a large sweater, a mesh allowing to retain the gas and alcohol necessary for the rising of the bread.
Then the dough grows on its own. The moment comes when I put my baker's hand: I take the dough and divide it according to the desired weights. We let it relax a bit, we shape it into the desired shape and then we let it grow gently until the next morning. Finally, the baker in charge of the oven takes over.
I am very happy with what I do. I even find it hard to tell myself that I worked after a day at the bakery. And yet, it's physical! The job would not suit everyone… At the start, I remember having expended myself lavishly. Then, I learned to understand my body and I realized that it was necessary to take care of it… It is my working tool.
The funny thing is that this bakery organizes workshops to help people acquire the know-how, to better understand the health effects of good bread. For my part, I start at the beginning of December to animate one… and I realize that I did not go towards completely other thing. Teaching is a string that I have in my bow. “
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