The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

how to figure levain % for dough hydration % question

kimemerson's picture

how to figure levain % for dough hydration % question


What's the math or method for figuring out how to add a levain with a differnt hydration than the dough will be? So if I have a 130% hydrated levain and I want to make a dough of 70%, 75%, 80% - whatever it is - how do I figure out how to compensate? I'm just ignorant enough to not even know how to phrase the question so I sure hope someone can decipher this. The 130% and the 70%, 75% and 80% are just examples. It could also be a 50% levain to an 80% dough.



Dagaetch's picture

Funny that you should ask just now - I was wondering the same thing the other day. I actually created a spreadsheet that does everything for you, just type in the two hydration levels and the goal weight. Note that this will really only work for small differences - if you need a large amount of starter, you should build it to the appropriate amount.


Hope this helps!

timgutteridge's picture

Hi there,

I understood your question as follows: you have a starter at one percentage (say 60%) and want to make a final dough at a different percentage (say 70%). If you add flour and water at the 'target' percentage (70%) then your final dough percentage will actually be dragged down a bit by your drier starter.

The maths is a bit complicated, but I also have a spreadsheet. I've cut it down so it only contains the bits I think you need. Please get back to me if you want to see the full vesion!

In cell B4 enter the desired final weight of your dough (starter plus flour + water)

In cell B5 enter the desired hydration

In cell B6 enter the amount of starter

In cell B7 enter the hydration of your starter

Cells B8 and B9 automatically calculate how much flour and water this much starter contains

Cell B10 tells you how much flour to add to produce a dough of the final hydration

Cell B11 tells you how much water to add to produce a dough of the final hydration

Hope this is helpful!







kph1956's picture


Have looked at your cut down version and is just the thing I have been looking for, simple and straight forward. Would like to see your full version as well.



timgutteridge's picture

Hi Kevin,

Here it is. Should be reasonably self-explanatory. Enter data into the yellow cells (explanations on the right) and the output is shown in the blue cells.

If you're interested in the maths it's all in the formulae in the blue cells. It's not that complicated but involves a fair amount of subtraction, division and multiplication. Beyond what I can do in my head, and certainly not possible while also measuring and mixing! I spent a fun Saturday morning grappling with it - I think this was the point when friends and family became worried about me!



kaze319's picture

Hi! Im Kaze. I am idiot in bakery. i counted total Flour is 323, Total water  is 217. And then separate 3 process to feed.

May I know how to count the first round Starter, Flour and water? Thanks A lot.