The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bakers percentages

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jmucklow's picture
jmucklow

Bakers percentages

Anyone have an easy conversion method for bakers percentages?  

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

Are you trying to take a recipe you have and turn it into a formula using baker's percentages? Or do you have a baker's percentage formula that you want to use but you're not sure how to get amounts/measurements from it?

 

Antilope's picture
Antilope

before figuring baker's percentages, here is an excellent conversion website:

OnlineConversion.com - Weight to Volume Cooking Converter

http://www.onlineconversion.com/weight_volume_cooking.htm

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

jmucklow,

Here is a site that, if you sit down and spend some effort with it, will really get your feet on the ground with the "Baker's Math" (Baker's Percentages).....

It is worth the effort...... Really!

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/professional/bakers-percentage.html

Have fun!!

hanseata's picture
hanseata

what Jarkko Lainen (author of Bread Magazine) wrote :

"As I already mentioned, to make great bread, all you need is four ingredients (three actually, but we'll get to that later): flour, water, leaven, and salt. Change the amount of salt too much and your bread is no longer edible, so most of the time we just play with the proportions between water and flour.

Let's start with an example: the most basic bread recipe of them all. To make the math as easy as possible, I am using 1000 grams of flour.
1000g bread flour
700g water
20g salt
20g fresh yeast
There you go. The most basic of bread formulas, a formula that already leads to a decent loaf of bread. Replace the yeast with some sourdough starter, or a pre-ferment, and you have great bread.

But now, the "magic": By replacing the weights by numbers known as bakers' percentage this formula becomes not just one formula, but the root for all formulas.

Here's the same formula from above, this time written using bakers' percentages instead of weights:
100% bread flour
70% water
2% fresh yeast
2% salt
See the logic yet?

Let me explain it to you: when using the bakers' percentage notation, every ingredient is presented as its proportion compared to the total amount of flour in the dough.

This is important so I'll repeat: a bakers' percentage is not your regular percentage. It's a number that tells how much of any ingredient is present in the dough, in relation to the amount of flour.

Now, the math.

Here's how I got from these percentages to the final formula: I first decided to use 1000g of flour. This means that 100% = 1000g. Had I used two different flours, they would together be 100% (for example 20% wholemeal flour and 80% bread flour).

Next, we can calculate the other ingredients:
70% of 1000g is 700g (in math speak: 1000 * 0.7 = 700)
2% of 1000g is 20g (1000 * 0.02 = 20)
And that's it!

We now have used the formula to create a basic bread recipe for a kilo of white flour. In the same way, if you wanted to use 500 grams of flour, you'd just use 350 grams of water (500 * 0.7) and 10 grams of salt and yeast (500 * 0.02).

This is how the bakers' percentage notation combines all these different recipes into one.

But this gets even more exciting!

So, let's look at one more term: the hydration level.

Hydration simply means the amount of water in a dough, and is presented in bakers' percentage.

In our example, the hydration is 70%, which — depending on the flour you use — can be just right or a little on the wet side.

I feel I should write more about this, but this really is it: Hydration means the amount of water in a dough.

Now, using these two tools (bakers' percentage and hydration level), we can describe the formula in just two numbers. Two numbers that you can store in your mind and use to bake bread without ever looking at another recipe again:

Formula for basic white loaf (simplified version):
70% hydration. 2% salt and yeast.

And as you bake more, the 2% for salt becomes second nature, and then you can just go with the one number: 70% hydration.

You will be saying things like: "Today, I made bread at 80% hydration. Using 20% wholemeal wheat."

And when another baker says his 100% hydration Ciabatta was a success, you'll know exactly what he means."

I use BreadStorm, they also have a free version that you can download. (No, I don't get commission from either Jarkko or the Chicago Bakers)

MIchael_O's picture
MIchael_O

One-stop shop for calculations 

Baker's Math Calculator

 

henryruczynski's picture
henryruczynski

Jmucklow

 I have an easy conversion method for bakers percentage.

You.

I was in a convenience store years ago and bought: eggs, a jug of milk and a chocolate bar.

Cashier rings it in and says: “that will be $32.60.

I’m not saying anything, only smiling because obviously, the total is incorrect.

She’s still looking at me demanding payment, so when I say to her:

“Ummm, you've obviously made a mistake – how can those three items cost so much?”

“Well, that’s what the register says” and then calls for a supervisor.

If you want an easy conversion method for bakers’ math, - punching in the numbers will give you an answer, but you’ll never understand it.

You being on this site, tells me that you’re keen on baking, so why not take a bit of time

to figure it out?

There’s enough help on this site – hanseata  already nails it with her explanation.

Once you “get it” you will be one very happy camper

H

 

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

I completely agree with 'henryruczyn' in that once you get comfortable with doing the simple math for the baker's percentages it becomes second nature.  And as a secondary benefit you gain a solid understanding of what it really means and how it beats "trial and error".

Saying that,, I don't discount the "programs" or "spreadsheets" that folks work long and hard to develop to help in recipes.  These are great and serve a purpose.  Shoot, some have color with lots of bells and whistles.  But each one takes more time to, first understand, second get intimate with, and third use then it does to just "run the numbers".

Baking bread is to "understand"…. I've been trying for quite a few years now and I am still trying to "understand"….. But Oh, what fun!!

 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Baker's Math: A tutorial 

And, at no extra charge ...

Converting starter hydrations: A Tutorial. Or through thick and thin and vice versa

Once you understand it, you will find it an invaluable tool.

David