Development Credit: Faith
The production of sweet and / or savoury edible goods. It is important to distinguish between the two skills Baking and Cooking. Fundamentally, Cooking refers to the preparation and production of edible items ranging from meals to preserves, whereas Baking refers to the cooking in an oven of flour-based items (sweet or savoury) and also encompasses the creation of desserts including confection work.
Bakers throughout Idalos work to produce edible items, from pies and cakes to delicate confections and sweet treats. In restaurants, shops and inns, a baker is a necessary addition. They will also often be found selling their wares on market stalls and, of course, home bakers use the skill every trial. Baking requires heat and an enclosed space. This might be a stove or a campfire and might be small or large scale.
A list of ingredients followed by instructions on how to prepare, cook and present a dish. Whilst random success is always possible, at Novice and Competent, the baker needs to follow recipes to create a consistently successful dish. When they reach Expert, they begin to be able to adjust those recipes to fit their own taste / need and then, at Master, the character is able to create new recipes and, fundamentally, craft new dishes. A recipe can be verbal or written down.
Any goods which use flour as the base ingredient in their creation are covered by the skill Baking. These include:
There are a number of types of pastry. These include: puff pastry, shortcrust, rough puff and the usual thick, crumbly pastry referred to as plain pastry. Sweets and pastry desserts tend to use sweet pastry, whereas savoury dishes rarely add sugar or sweetening to the mixture.
Confection work is split into two main categories: chocolate and sugar work.
Chocolate as an ingredient is made from cocoa beans. These grow across Idalos and range in quality and taste. Scaltoth chocolate (harvested from the Scaltoth Jungle area of Scalvoris) is very different in taste from Desnind chocolate, for example and true connoisseurs are able to tell the difference in taste and texture
A novice baker is learning the beginning of their craft. At this level of skill they will be learning the basic techniques, ingredients and recipes for flour-based goods and will be focusing on learning recipes and basic techniques for desserts. As a novice, one is unlikely to be doing any sugar or chocolate work, focusing instead on learning the basics of their trade. Basic foods created by the novice baker will be of a reasonable quality, but the character is not yet able to produce anything other than the most simple and basic items.
A competent baker is able to produce goods of a reasonable quality and these make up the majority of bakers up and down Idalos. They are able to produce tasty flour-based products and desserts. At competent, they may begin to work with chocolate and sugar, although this is still at a basic level. They are able to create basic products with ease and, with the aid of a detailed recipe, they are able to produce more complex items. At this level, though, the baker is not able to craft their own specialties but must still rely on the recipes of others.
As an expert baker, a character is able to start truly experimenting in their craft. No longer relying on recipes for anything other than the most complex items, an expert baker has the ability to combine flavours and proportions / ratios in order to fine-tune pre-existing recipes. They might add new ingredients or experiment with a different method of preparation, use of temperature or so on and are able to work all except the most complex sugar and chocolate work. An expert baker is a sought-after employee as they are able to tailor what they create in a restaurant, for example, to accompany the items on the menu.
Mastery of the art of baking means that the character can produce edible wonders which are perfectly balanced and utterly delicious. This character has no need of recipes, they are able to draw on their wealth of knowledge to understand what is required of any particular dish. Creations by this character are sought after and they can craft beautiful chocolate and sugar work, light desserts and fantastic pastry or bread. They are at the peak of their craft and skill.