The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Question re Calculating Baker's Percentage When Using Rye Chops

subfuscpersona's picture

Question re Calculating Baker's Percentage When Using Rye Chops

Need help with a question about calculating the baker's percentage. Specifically, when rye chops are a component in a bread formula, is it included as part of the total flour? Or would it be seen as an ingredient similar to seeds or steel cut oats and therefore not part of the total flour weight?

Here's a sample formula for a one-pound (454 gram) loaf...

levain flour 52
levain water 52
bread flour 170
rye chops 39
water 136
salt 5

Thanks in advance to all who respond.

UnConundrum's picture

It absorbs water, so yes... IMHO

wally's picture

In all of Hamelman's recipes in Bread rye chops are treated as a component of total flour weight.


subfuscpersona's picture

To those who responded so far, thank you for attempting to address my question. Unfortunately, I have problems with the answers.

@UnConundrum - Sure, rye chops absorb water, but so does an ingredient such as steel cut oats and I wouldn't include steel cut oats as part of the total flour. Don't you think there should be additional criteria?

@wally - Unfortunately, your statement that "In all of Hamelman's recipes in Bread rye chops are treated as a component of total flour weight." isn't true. I easily found a number of recipes in Hamelman's book that include cracked rye; in each of them the cracked rye is treated as part of a soaker, not as part of the total flour weight. See, for example...

  • Whole-Wheat Bread with a Multigrain Soaker (pg 126)
  • Five-Grain Bread with Pate Fermentee (pg 129)
  • Five-Grain Levain on (pg 174)

I think my original question was unclear (and shouldn't have focused only on rye). Let me give a little background on what I'm trying to do.

I mill all my whole grain flour and this gives me control over the grind. I enjoy experimenting with with different flour textures. I start with a published recipe and then tweak it to accommodate variations in how coarsely I mill. Sometimes I may want to include cracked grain. I use the baker's percentage to adjust proportions. Wheat, rye and spelt are the grains I use most often. In their flour form, these grains are considered part of the total flour weight.

Now let me rephrase my question. At what point in terms of the coarseness of the grind should grains such as wheat, rye or spelt no longer be included as part of the total flour weight but be put in their own category (such as a soaker)?

I hope others will want to contribute their thoughts. Thanks in advance.

========= A Brief Postscript =============

For those who are interested, here is the Baker's Percentage for Hamelman's Five-Grain Bread with Pate Fermentee



bread flour 100%
rye chops 8%
flaxseeds 8%
sunflower seeds 7%
oats 7%
water 85%
salt 2.6%
fresh yeast 1.6%
wally's picture

Ok, so yes, technically you are right - in a couple of recipes Hamelman doesn't treat rye chops (not cracked rye, by the way, which is not the same thing) as part of the flour.  So let me emend my reply: In most of the recipes in Bread, he treats rye chops as part of TFW.

As for your rephrased question about degree of coarseness, I think you already have the answer in Hamelman's book.  He treats rye chops in most of his recipes as part of flour weight.  I'm not sure you can get anything coarser without simply using whole rye berries.

If this is causing so much heartburn, why not go to the horse's mouth and simply email Jeffrey?

Good luck.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I think of rye chops as chopped nuts and not flour although I think wheat or rye chops would bond better with the dough than nuts would simply because of the starches.  

When the inside of the chops is fine enough to mix with the finer flour to become part of the stretching and trapping structure of the crumb, then I count it as flour. 

When a dense seed is milled, it has more volume for its weight.  Small sized particles become lighter flour and contribute more to the dough's ability to stretch than large size particles.  As large sized particle amounts increase in relation to the flour, they also contribute to density of the finished loaf because large particles do not stretch and expand and they have more weight.  The amount used into a recipe would depend on the crumb result desired.

I think if you want to know when the whole grain berry becomes "flour" the size of the flour particle may vary with the type of grain involved.  Softer grains would become flour at larger particle sizes as compared to hard grains.