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Seeking feedback on bread formula calculator

HappyBreadHouse's picture
HappyBreadHouse

Seeking feedback on bread formula calculator

Hello All,

I've created a bread formula calculator -- just for the fun of it.  Here's a link: http://happybreadhouse.com/post/16327906955/ciabatta-formula

Before I use this to post other formulas, I would love some feedback on how the tool works.

More background for anyone who cares:

I started a bread tumblr page last year... mostly just to learn how Tumblr works (http://happybreadhouse.com)

It's been fun, but I was never happy about how I posted bread formulas/recipes.  Nowadays, I use ms excel to calculate my bread formulas based on baker's percentages, etc.  I wanted to provide something similar on the web page.

Today, I geeked out and created an interactive page that allows the viewer to specify how much bread they want to make and the page will automatically recalculate the formula based on the baker's percentages and the desired amount of dough.

The generated page will lists the ingredients in grams, ounces and approximate volumetric measurements (cups, teaspoons, etc.)

I would love to hear if people thinnk this is useful, or how it might be improved.  Are there any other sites like this available?  I could not find any.

KMIAA's picture
KMIAA

Looks interesting.  I'm really bad in math so this looks handy.  Will let others reply who are a lot better in math than I am.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

I am doing the same thing all the time in excel.

There are many food sites with calculators, but usually not as comprehensive as yours.

The thing I would add is a hint about what type of yeast you used (and mabe a conversion for the other types).

Juergen

 

HappyBreadHouse's picture
HappyBreadHouse

Juergen,

Thank you for your suggestions!  I updated the formula to indicate the type of yeast I used.

I also added a link that will allow someone to make substitutions.  Right now, it's just the yeast, but I can imagine other substitutions.

Here's a current link: http://happybreadhouse.com/post/16327906955/ciabatta-formula

MIchael_O's picture
MIchael_O

HappyBreadHouse,

    First of all, Good Work. This is harder than it looks. The hardest part is compromising on the conversion values. Different flours bake and weight differently for the same weight and volume, respectively. People will try to discourage you because of this fact, but you can make it work, it just takes a lot of time. You have a great/readable layout. Some suggestions:

1. Perform a Literature Review: Look at some of the existing calculators. See what they do differently, see what they dont have. Because in promoting your work, you are never judged on what you have, you are judged on presentation and difference. You should review at least 10 different calculators.

2. What value for "grams/cup" do you use for salt? For regular table salt I often find 288g to 300g is the standard reported figure.

3. Make sure you handle all issues and have a good understanding of the benefits your application has. Even Baker's Percentages are limited in their usefulness. I read the line that Baker's Percentages makes things easier to scale, remember that is relative. Before pocket calculators and computers baker's percentages were definitely an advantage because 5*234.23 is hard to calculate on the fly, whereas 67% requires no calculation. But that is a legacy benefit, with calculators it's fairly easy to deal with 5*234.3g.

4. View an example of your ciabatta recipe in another app: Recipe Calculator and plug in 5.71 for the "Scaling Factor"

The percentage ends up being 71.3 due to the salt. But this should give you an idea of what is out there already.

-Michael

 

 

HappyBreadHouse's picture
HappyBreadHouse

Michael_O,

Thank you for your thoughtful comments.  I was reticent to provide volumetric measurements -- there is just so much varience between different flours and different people's measurements.  Still, I think most casual baker's arre a lot more comfortable using cups and teaspoons.

1. I had a hard time finding other examples when I set mine up; however, your encouragement led me to some more successful googling.  Thanks!

2. I was using sea salt that seems to be fairly coarse.  I find that it runs about 5.33 g per teaspoon (or 256 g per cup).  This seems to correlate with your notes.  I expect that table salt would weigh more per cup than the coarse sea salt.  I should update the formula to clarify what I used (and maybe add a substitution option for table salt).  I assume the only difference in teh formula would be the volume of salt -- the weight/percentage of salt should be the same, right?

3. I'm not looking to be controvertial.  If there is a debate about the value of baker's percentages, I'll edit out the commentary.

4. Thank you for that link... it is very cool!  I'll enjoy playing with that site.