The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

baker's math and leaven percentages

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kristakoets's picture
kristakoets

baker's math and leaven percentages

Hi all,

Two questions for all you experts :-)

#1 Regarding baker's percentages....For my Desem-type loaf (not made per Laurel...my own bastardization, mostly from Alan Scott) if my flour weight ( in this case 100% whole wheat) is 375 g and my leaven weight is 225g (100% whole wheat, 100% hydro) and my water weight is 283g and my salt weight is 10g....is my overall hydro  81% (if I calculate in the weights of water and flour in my leaven) or is it 75% (if I do not calculate the weights of water and flour in my leaven)?

The math difference is more dramatic when figuring the % of leaven against the flour weight...without adding in the leaven ingredients, the formula above would represent 60% leaven and figuring with the leaven ingredients would represent only 46% leaven.

I am so confused.

#2 If I choose to retard my desem loaves 8-12 hours, should I reduce the leaven in the recipe and if so, by how much? Also, if I retard, should I allow the loaves to proof briefly at room temp after bulk fermentation and before retard? If so, for how long? I am worried I will over proof the loaves under retard with Scott's crazy percentage of leaven (2-3 times that of other recipes).

BTW, my loaves come out wonderfully at this leaven percentage when BF 4hrs at cool temps and proofed 1.5 hrs at warm room temps. I am looking to get a more sophisticated and slightly more sour flavor from the overnight retard.

Lastly, I do not knead the bread at all, simply autolyse 30 min, add salt and then turn in the bucket every 45 min during BF. I get lovely open crumb that rivals white flour loaves and awesome oven spring if I closely monitor proofing.

Thanks all for your input!

Cheers

~Krista

Ford's picture
Ford

#1 You are using 46% starter (leavin).   Add the weight of flour in leavin to the weight of the rest of the flour (487.5 g total)   Use the total water (and other watery liquids, e. g. milk) in calculating percentage hydration.  Also add the flour weight in the starter to the total flour.

#2 If the loaves have proofed as much as you wish after removing them from the refrigerator, then slash and bake.  If not, let them proof at room temperature until ready.

Finally, if it works for you -- don't worry!

Ford

kristakoets's picture
kristakoets

Thanks Ford!

~Krista

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Since Ford did such a nice job with the answers I'm going change the subject and throw out a question:  what kind of flour do you use?  I am forever tinkering with my own Desem-type bread and the numbers have been drifting very much in the direction of your numbers, so now that I'm feeling pretty good about the formula I can't help but wonder... what kind of flour do you use?

Marcus

kristakoets's picture
kristakoets

Hi!

I have been using KA traditional whole wheat...however, today I am using Hodgson Mill stone ground whole wheat and boy what a difference in grind! The HM is VERY coarse as compared to the KA...we shall see how today's loaves come out :-)

I am also always tinkering...and today making a regular Desem as well as a riff on a Tartine type desem with an overnight retard.

~Krista

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Thanks, Krista.  I've come to like a coarser grind for WW sourdoughs.  Seems counter-intuitive, but I think it actually makes them lighter... could be my imagination, though.  Hope the bread turns out great!

Marcus

Cachi's picture
Cachi

Baker's percentages are different than real percentage points of each ingredient relative to the sum of the weights of all ingredients in the strict mathematical sense. So what bakers look at is the ratio by weight of all ingredients against the dry flour weight. In other words, flour will always be 100% and the flour and water in the leaven are not taken into account.

In your case, the baker's percentages are as follows:

flour    375g   100%

water   283g   60%

leaven  225g   60%

salt       10g     2.67%

Because your leaven ratio to the dry flour is so large, people may disagree with these calculations but this is what I see in a couple of books I have ("Le Gout du Pain" by Raymond Calvel and Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson). I didn't check all my books.

kristakoets's picture
kristakoets

Cachi,

Thanks for the input...there seems to be a bit of a difference in opinion on this subject :-)...but how is 283 divided by 375 60%? I get 75%....

~Krista

Cachi's picture
Cachi

Sorry, that was a typo, 75.5% is what I meant to say.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi

This is what I want to know from the formula.

1. Ratio of flour to water [total ], as % hydration: 81.1%

2. Amount of pre-fermented flour in the formula: 23.1%

3. Salt to total flour: 2.1%

Never mind convention, what information do you want to have in front of you Krista?

That's the most important thing.   I can see from the above that you have a well-balanced formula, at one glance.

Additionally, I like to know the factor, or the amount I multiply up by to go from the formula to the recipe amounts needed for the given dough quantity I need to make.

All good wishes

Andy