The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Scaling down ingredient quantities using baker's percentages

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Scaling down ingredient quantities using baker's percentages

Until now, I've used recipes from the good folk who post on this and other forums, or from books like Dan Lepard's The Handmade Loaf catering specifically for the home baker. I've always either followed the ingredient weight as per the recipe, or if it looks like too much bread for my purposes, I simply halve the quantities.

I recently bought Hamelman's Bread and would like to try his SD semolina bread (p. 171), but I have hit a mental brick wall trying to scale down his quantities. Those who have the book will know that he gives 3 sets of ingredient weights per recipe: U.S. imperial (lbs), Metric (kg) and Home (oz), as well as baker's %.

His 'Home' ingredient quantities produce "2 large loaves" - I probably only want to bake the weight equivalent of 1.5 loaves or so (don't ask!) - and are in ounces. I don't like using anything other than gms, and I'm thinking baker's % is most easily used to calculate ingredient weights for the total weight of bread required. I have an Excel sheet that theoretically makes these sorts of calculations easy, but even with that, I am currently struggling.

My problem is, Hamelman doesn't give weight or baker's % for the levain component in his "Overall Formula", although he does give the weight and baker's % of the levain components separately.  My brain is further addled by the fact that he makes 0.3kg more levain than the recipe needs (to keep for use in the next bread), so that presumably has to be subtracted from the levain total weight if I want to make only enough for the recipe. All this caluclating is starting to look like a pain, but I want to push through and get on top of this scaling down stuff because I am sure that Hamelman's recipes are as good as the raves suggest. And I've got the book now, so want to use it!

Would be most appreciative if a more experienced bread wiseperson could lead by example here, and calculate Hamelman's Semolina Bread ingredient weights and the levain weight required to make, say, 850gm of dough . Once I've seen it done once, I'll be fine.

Hope the above makes sense. Reading it to myself prior to posting, I have some doubts as to my intelligibility...

Cheers
Ross

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ

Hi Ross

I find using the metric column easier to work with myself and scale that to the amount of dough I want to prepare.

I'll do the maths for the semolina  and send you a private message, standby!

 Robyn

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ

Hi Ross

Sent the calculations, hope you understand. I'm off to bed 1am here now.

Night, Robyn

ericb's picture
ericb

Hi, Ross.

Hamelman actually addresses the issue of scaling on page 378. The calculations are a bit tedious, though.

Eric 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Thanks a lot, Robyn and Eric. Much appreciated.

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ

Hi Dan

I've got your book too and have been really enjoying learning from it. To be truthful I haven't tried any of your formula yet (SMBSLT), but have really appreciated the format and content of your text for study, really suits my approach to learning. Thank you.

I did hold Ross's hand a bit on this one but hopefully did so in a manner that next time he'll have no problem doing it himself and getting the link, so that using baker's percent for scaling will also become second nature to him. Hamelman's presentation is fantastic and easy to follow once you "get" that separate levain business.

Regards, Robyn