The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

5 Minutes vs Baker's Percentage

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flournwater's picture

5 Minutes vs Baker's Percentage

I've been researching this 5 Minute Bread thing and got to wondering how the technique can be as successful as it is advertized to be when it's so dramatically distant from the standard "baker's percentage".

For example, one of the more widely touted recipes calls for 6 cups of flour, 1 Tbsp. yeast, 1 Tbsp. salt and 3 cups of water.

Using the baker's percentage rules, (100/70/2/2) 6 cups of flour would be combined with 2 Tbsp yeast, 2 Tbsp. salt, and 4 cups of water.

What am I missing?


What I was missing was:

1.  Baker's Percentage is based upon weight, not volume

2.  Trying to use pounds and ounces in calculating Baker's Precentages is mind boggling.  Grams and Kilograms makes more sense.

3.  Baker's Percentage is not the complete answer for successful bread making, but when you're having as much trouble as I was having, it's a solid foundation to build from and something i can always retreat to in trying to identify problems in with the basic dough.

bassopotamus's picture

But, since it is meant for a long slow ferment, you can get by with less yeast since it has more time to work, and more time to reproduce. Even if it is slowed by the fridge, it is meant to sit a long time.


As for the salt and water, compared to the bakers percentage, it is a less hydrated less salty bread, presumably a little denser and blander.

suave's picture

There isn't a rule that says it should be 70, personally I've gone as low as 45 and as high as 80%

bassopotamus's picture

I wish I had made that point at the end of my other post. Different bread are distinguished by different ratios of flour/water/salt/yeast. Not that any one would be wrong (so long as it rises, and produces something somebody wants to eat), just different from another.

LindyD's picture

The baker's percentage (a/k/a baker's math) is how you determine the percentage of each ingredient to the flour.  The flour weight is always expressed as 100.  The baker's percentage is always computed by weight, so all the ingredients must be weighed to come up with an accurate number.  There is no one-size-fits-all baker's percentage.

I'm not sure how you came up with your figures since you list the ingredients by volume.  The weight of a cup of flour scooped from the container can vary by an ounce or more, depending on who is doing the scooping.  Some baking books claim a pound of flour equals 4.5 cups.  Others state it equals 3.5 cups.  I checked my copy of the five-minute-a-day book and could find nothing stating how much their cup of flour weighs. 

 Whatever, here is Wild Yeast's excellent tutorial on the subject which I hope you will find helpful.

xaipete's picture

Apparently it can vary brand to brand! Doesn't seem like there is a standard here, which, I guess, is why I own a scale!


flournwater's picture

Thank you; and thanks to all who responded with all of this very helpful information.  As you discovered, my initial math was incorrect.  I found that the flour I'm using weights 4.6 ounces per cup.  That would mean the flour in the 5 minute recipe would be 27.6 ounces; the water (8.33 pounds per gallon) would be 25.99 ounces.  Getting back to the "baker's percentage" calculator the water is about 6 ounces too heavy but that's not a wide a variance as I had first calculated.

I'm not new to bread making; just never have been real successful at it and I'm trying to learn to do it well.  I get frustrated when I find so many variables that "work" for others but no matter how I try none of mine produce the bread I had hoped for.  Too dry, too tough, lack-luster flavor, too much or not enough rise, etc..  My only success has been with no knead breads.  Which is kind of what drew me to this 5 minute bread idea.  I'd hate to think that's those are all I'll ever be capable of making.

Thanks again to all ....

xaipete's picture

Bread making is part art and part science. It is experience (lots of loaves) that eventually yields success!


blaisepascal's picture

Where is water 8.33 pounds/gal?  I only know it as 8pounds (US) or 10 pounds (UK).

LeadDog's picture

The density of water is 8.3278 lbs per gallon, I use the figure a lot at work.

siegfried's picture


I use 130 gramd for each cup of flour

Hope it help you


Oldcampcook's picture

I keep this dough in my fridge most of the time for a "quick" loaf.

This dough is a very slack one.  You have to dust it with flour when you cut off enough for a loaf and when shaping it.

If you watch the video, you will note that she 'scoops and levels' when she gets her flour.  By doing it that way and then weighing the cupful, I found out that she uses about 13 more grams of flour for each cup.  My first two batches were way too wet until I figured that out.


janij's picture

I use this dough for pizza and pitas.  So I normally have some in the fridge.  I just weigh it out.  I found on their website somewhere that they base it on 2 lbs of flour for 3 c water.  I have added as much as 10 oz of whole wheat flour in any of their basic non enriched doughs and had good results.  You may need to add about 2 T more water if you use the WW.  I am not sure if this helps or is just way off for what you were looking for.

flournwater's picture

I read all of your comments, concluded that I needed to abandon the dip/level/pour approach in favor of weighing the ingredients, learned that you'll go nuts trying to use anything other than the metric system for determining how much of what is required (by weight)  in any bread baking recipe, and that the Baker's Percentage approach really does work very well.  I made my first loaf of bread yesterday, at least it's the first loaf of bread that I'd call a success; something that I could be proud of.  Thanks again for all your advice.  This is a great "club"  -  pleased to be herewith associated.

LindyD's picture

That's quite terrific, flournwater!   Congrats on that first loaf that made you happy and proud.  It's sure a great feeling and I know there are plenty more in your future,

Just keep on baking!

pattycakes's picture

Oldcampcook, what video is it that you refer to? Can you give the url?