The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

% of acceptable loss

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tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

% of acceptable loss

What is generally considered an acceptable % of batch weight that doesn't make it into loaves? With preferments, levains, soakers, etc there is always some left behind. I imagine that there is a small bit of evaporation in play, too. Am I just a sloppy amateur? I try and calculate the batch total at about 2% over the loaf title. If the batch is eight 700g loaves, i usually shoot for 5.8kg total on paper to have enough dough for the loaves with maybe 25g left. Does this sound about right?

I don't think I've seen this addressed in the books I've read, but maybe it's in AB&P (I don't have a copy, yet.).

EvaB's picture
EvaB

Use a bowl scraper and get all you can out of all your dishes and don't worry about the loss, there is always a bit of loss, and if you look at professional videos from chefs they don't scrape bowls at all that I've seen, just go with it, and don't worry. I scrape my bowls really clean and never am short on anything.

My advice is relax, and enjoy the baking not get tied up in knots over things you can't control. Temperature and humidity are only controlable by large amounts of $'s being spent on fancy equipment, and you can't control everything! Just accept that there might be loss, due to circumstances beyond your control, do the best you can to minimize the losses, and accept what you can't change.

There is a reason for the serenity prayer, its to remind you that you can't control everything all the time, and to let you know its ok to accept the loss of control.

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

I'd rather change what I can't accept and control my circumstances. As it is now, I can make very good dough, but once it goes in the oven, it's a crap shoot. So I will build a new oven.

I really enjoy baking the most when it goes well. if i'm planning on getting 24 loaves from a batch and end with 22.5, serenity is nice, but it doesn't pay the bills ,or fill the wasted space in my oven.

I'm looking at ramping up from generally baking 8 to 12 loaves at a time to 20 to 30 per load.

@mini Not wondering about the weight loss from baking, wondering about how much of what goes in the buckets and eventually the mixer never makes it into the oven.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

weigh bowls and buckets clean and dirty.  Then you got it!  Don't forget to throw in the utensils.  It's really not much.  If you got yourself some nice scrapers, the loss is less.  It also becomes more important how to clean these to prevent clogging drains.  If a little bench flour is used to rub the bowls clean, then you might want to include that too or leave it in the bowls when weighing.  :)

 

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

So i dont have to sit down and figure out the exact amount for each recipe.

You aren't kidding about the drains. That's another good reason to get everything as clean as possible. Rather than wiping out with flour, I've taken to just letting the levain or whatever harden and then it comes right out, as long as there aren't any big chunks left.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Eva, I agree with you. Even with an accurate scale, there will be always a loss due to small amounts of dough sticking to tools, hands  and bowl. But, on the other hand, there will be add-ons by adjusting with water or flour for the right consistency, and by having some flour on the work surface to prevent sticking.

Karin

EvaB's picture
EvaB

it think its a small loss at best if you take care in the mixing and the shaping.

I watched a couple of videos that were on websites for Polish bakeries someone posted, and those are huge vats of dough, and they mixed them with a mixer and had a lift that lifted the finished dough up to go into a shaper, the dough peeled out of the vats beautifully, nothing left behind, not even as much as is left when I make biscuits. Which might equal a tablespoon with a base of 4 cups of flour.

I think if you are mixing up a large batch of dough for 20-25 loaves and are winding up 3 loaves short due to loss, then you are not cleaning your mixing bowls well enough. Waste not want not my mother always said. She scraped bowls clean, she had to, since she didn't have the funds to waste anything.

I watch some of those cooking shows and wonder at them, the cooks leave enough filling or batter in the bowl to make a good sized cake or fill a tart. I cringe!

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I cringe, too, but I think it's all about speed, they just want to show the procedure, and not the nitty gritty. I dislike waste, and always scrape my bowls clean - I remember having seen a post in TFL of an American baker visiting a famous French bakery, and the narrator even commented on how clean the bowls - and the hands - were scraped.

Karin

EvaB's picture
EvaB

but my younger cousin learned to cook watching Julia Child's show, and my aunt said she used every pot and bowl in the house and always had so much washing up to do. So it just goes to show that people take things literaly. My aunt grew up learning to cook in the dirty thirties on a homestead, there weren't a lot of pots and pans, or bowls so you learned to cook without putting everything out into a separate bowl and so forth,its not really that necessary! When I took cooking in school, we has what were called service plates, that we took to the central supplies, and put all the needed extra stuff onto, the flour and sugar were at the kitchen stations, but things like lard or butter (margerine of course) and other extras were measured out by the teacher and placed on your plate, and you had to remember which white stuff was baking powder or soda or whatever! We only had a short time period to work in, and everything had to be cleaned up before we left for the next class.

And the waste because they can't buy a $2 bowl scraper is atrocious.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven
jcking's picture
jcking

I believe DiMuzio uses a plus 5% factor as a guide for larger productions of dough.

Jim

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

if i'm usually covered with 2%. I havent looked at the DiMuzio book. Doesn't seem to be in the system for our library, might have to try it sight unseen.

Home Baker's picture
Home Baker

It's at pizzamaking.com, designed for calculating ingredients and quantities needed to make a given number of pizza balls using preferment, but it works well for loaf weights too. The calculator suggests allowing for up to 4% bowl residue.