The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Yeast percentages?

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tananaBrian's picture

Yeast percentages?


  In Hamelman's book, Bread..., I've always weighed all ingredients except for yeast and salt.  For those, I would just use the volume (tablespoons, teaspoons) measurement and call it good.  But tonight, I was scaling the Oatmeal Bread with Cinnamon and Raisins recipe (p236) and for the first time, used a spreadsheet and baker's percentages on all items ...including yeast and salt.  In that recipe, the total wheat weight for his 'Home' category is 907 grams (2 lbs) and includes the high-gluten flour and whole-wheat flour.  The yeast weight is 10 grams (0.37 ounces).  I calculate a yeast percentage of 1.1% ...right?  Hamelman lists the yeast as being 3.5% in the Baker's % column.  I didn't check any other recipes, but visually noted that the same situation occurs with the oatmeal bread recipe without cinnamon and raisins.

  Am I doing something wrong in my calculation of the baker's percentage for the yeast?  Or is this something for the book's errata... He mentions the 3.5% value in the text alongside the recipe as well.  Hmmm.... Is yeast treated differently for some reason?

  I weight 1-1/4 tablespoons of instant dry yeast on my gram scale and it came to about 10 grams I think the weight values are all correct and agree with what the recipe calls for.  The only thing wrong is the percentage... all the other percentages came out fine BTW.






RobynNZ's picture

See his note on 'blue' pages 90/91. Commercial quantities incorporate fresh yeast. Home column is for dry yeast. You and he are both right!

Chuck's picture

Yes yeast values as bakers percentages between 0.5% and 2% (generally around 1%-1.4%) are typical of non-sourdough doughs baked the same day (in some cases with overnight development, the amount of yeast is much smaller:-). So your 1.1% seems quite reasonable, and 3.5% seems like some kind of misunderstanding.

I found I could measure the "little" ingredients like yeast and salt on an inexpensive "pocket digital scale" (a "digital spoon" works well too) with a resolution of a tenth of a gram. Ever since then I've used exclusively bakers percentages and weighed everything; it makes scaling a recipe up or down (even by "funny" fractions such as 4/5 to reduce loaf size slightly) much simpler than it used to be. (Scales with this fine a resolution almost always have a "max capacity" that's too small for bread. So you'll probably need two scales, a big one and a small one.)

I don't have a copy of Hamelman's book handy, so I can't figure out what his 3.5% was supposed to be (presumably something sensible). Sorry.  ..see the post above this one

tananaBrian's picture

Ahh ...the baker's percentage for yeast applies to all the other columns, not the 'Home' column, and that's because they use the heavier fresh yeast while the baker's column used the lighter weight instant dry yeast.  I knew something was funky... in my brain!




wildeny's picture

I also noticed this yesterday when I looked at one of his recipes. It's somehow confusing.

ananda's picture

Hi Brian,

I alawys work off Hamelman's commercial column and scale it down to my home needs myself.

The recipes would have been written for commercial use in the first place anyway.

If I use yeast at home, then it will be fresh.   And just prefer to use his original recipe and make the scaled down adjustments for myself. 

The post about the Bakers% yeast relating to use of fresh in the commercial recipe is quite correct.

Best wishes


ps I use the metric column as a base, because I work in metric anyway, and because it makes most sense when relating to the Bakers%.