Reinhart's formulas are just so wrong
After having had access to Hamelmans Bread book for 5+ years and having learned bakers math from it, Reinharts formulas make absolutely no sense to me. I recently acquired The Bread Bakers Apprentice and Crust and Crumb based in part from recomendations on this site and forno bravo. While I really like Reinharts enthusiasm compared to Hamelmans rather dry style, I do not understand why Reinhart even bothered to include formulas as his books are pitched at the more casual baker and the formulas themselves seem to be super complicated to use.
With Hamelmans overall formulas where total flour = 100% noting the hydration and flours involved I can immediately get a sense of the handling characteristics. I can also infer a fair amount from the percentage of preferment or levain and with very simple math adjust these formulas based on what I know about my flour, humidity, etc. But what I absolutely depend on is with slightly more complicated math I can make a batch of dough that makes exactly a given number of loaves of a given size. For example assuming I have a bread formula that overall comes to 177.5 percent. My oven is pretty small so my batch size is 12 loaves. I know from experience that if I scale my dough at 550g (I vastly prefer working in metric) a loaf it will bake to a final weight of between 1 pound and 1 pound 1 ounce. I also know that I need to add ~10g per loaf for scaling error so 560 * 12 = 6720g final dough weight. I divide that by 1.775 and I get 3786g for my total flour weight. Total flour weight is the magic number and once I have that all other weights including preferments are generated. How the **** do you do this with a Reinhart formula.
Ranting ever onward, I decided to compare Reinharts The Bread Bakers Apprentice Poilane style Miche (pg 242) with Hamelmans James MacGuire/Pointe-a-Calliere style Miche (pg 164) by working backwards from Reinharts formula to generate a Hamelman type formula. Here we go:
Assuming that the Barm included in the Firm Starter is 100% hydration which is implied on pg 232, the Firm Starter would be 138.9% flour and 82.9% water. Converting this to a ratio where flour equals 100% gives us a Firm Starter with a hydration of 60% (with rounding) exactly the same as Hamelman so far. OK, after splitting Firm Starter into the Final Dough I get 137.5% flour and 87.5% hydration which converts to 63.6% hydration at 100% flour with 27.3% of flour used in the starter, or:
100% Whole Wheat Flour
Pre-Fermented Flour 27.3% (Firm Starter):
100% Whole Wheat Flour
of the above preferment 28% is comprised of 100% hydration Barm (not calculating exact build because I'm lazy)
So now I have this in a readable format I don't have to even try this formula to have serious questions. 63% hydration for what should be a high hydration sourdough? Really? Hamelmans formula is at 82% hydration. Based on experience, a high extraction flour or whole wheat would be practically unworkable with this level low a level of hydration. The description of handling the dough in Reinharts text implies a much higher level of hydration than 63%. Alternately I've done something wrong in the math, please check my work if you can. Showing me I'm wrong about any of my above assumptions would help me learn.
Sure wish Hamelman would write more books.