The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I really need help with bakers percentage

bread basket's picture
bread basket

I really need help with bakers percentage

I realize, a lot has been writen about this subject but I still don't get it. My question is how to calculate other ingredients like seeds, oats and such. I have started to sell at the tailgate market and would like to make good use of my oven- and mixer capacity. I can bake up to 5 loafs @ 500gr (free form). That's also about what my mixer can manage. I have several recipes which I would like to adjust. This is my Multi Seed Whole Wheat Bread. How would it look speld out in bakers percentage?


450gr. WW

45gr Flax seed

1/8tsp yeast

580 gr. water

seed mix I toast and put in at the last fold

46 gr. Sunflower seed

46 gr.Pumkin seed

35gr. Sesame seed

final dough:

750gr. AP

25 gr. Salt

3/4tsp yeast

200 gr. water

the total yeast comes to 3gr

this gives me a batch of 2180gr.  I would like to have a batch of 2600gr.

I highly appreciate your help.


Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

dmsnyder just did a great tutorial and that was followed with some great discussions.  Find it here

bread basket's picture
bread basket

thanks foryour "legwork". Sometimes I just don't have the time or the patience to look through everything.  Barbara

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Try not to get exasperated.

Try your best and then let us know your result.

If it's not correct, we'll help you out.

Of the 100 things you can do to become a better baker, 99 of them are less important than baker's percentages (if you'll pardon the hyperbole).


PastryPaul's picture

BTW: You don't need baker's math here.

First, re-state your formula to have everything in grams. Bakers' Math works by weight. Besides, 9/10 of a tsp is tough to measure. You can measure out and weigh things yourslef, or try .

Then, since you want 2600 g and you have 2180g, just multiply each weight by 1.19 (rounded)

The Bakers Math will be more useful, but still not 100% needed, if you have a lot of variations in your doughs. In which case, check out those tutorials.

You can use regular percentages on a spreadsheet to adjust your formulae


bread basket's picture
bread basket

Hi PastryPaul, yes good idea! could have had it myself lol! can use this till I really understand that other stuff. Think it is my pride that I want to understand! Thanks for your input.

henryruczynski's picture

Re : How would it look ? this.


Here is your recipe in bakers percent.

I find writing it out in decimals is easiest, so:

 100 % is written as 1.00

      2% is written as 0.02 etc


The number here that is of interest to you is:

1.8155 - which is all your ingredients as percent, added together.


Take the total amount of dough that you want, which in your case is 2180 gm.


Divide by 1.8155...and you get...1200 gm...which is your total flour

See how this works?


Now you know that to make 2180 gm of dough, you will need 1200 gm of flour.

(Your preferment is 450 gm so: 450 gm divided by 1200 = 0.375 or 37.5 %)


Now that you have the flour amount needed, everything else gets multiplied by flour.

So, flax seed = 1200 gm flour X .038 = 45.6 or 46 gm.

(Just so it’s clear – how did you get .038 for flax?

Well, your recipe calls for 45 gm flax, so 45 divided by flour (1200) = .0375 and so on.)

Water is 0.65 X 1200 flour = 780

Salt is 0.02 X 1200 flour = 24 gm

(your salt percentage number is actually  0.0208 to give you 25 gm, but you see the pattern)


  • The second recipe is the one you asked for and calls for 2600 gm dough

You already have a percent from the original recipe – 1.8155

So, 2600 divided by 1.8155 = 1432 g flour.

Now, multiply the rest of your ingredients X the flour and the amounts will total

2600 gm dough.

Whole wheat = 1430 X 0.375 = 536 gm

Flax = .038 X 1430 = 54 gm and so on




Bakers percent is confusing, but since you like baking... you’ll get it.

Hope this is of help.


bread basket's picture
bread basket

I like this "write it out by hand" approach. Can do it in my little bakery without a computer.  As I come to understand the 1.8155 would be aequivalent to what dmsnyder calls the "conversion factor"?. I think I am on my way to understand. Writing it out really helps!  For practice will do it with other recipes too. Thanks!


bread basket's picture
bread basket

My brain is turning into  knot: How did you come up with preferment water 690 gr.? everything else I got but I am stuck on this??!!!!

Yippee's picture



fancy4baking's picture

Hey BreadBasket,

This is a good exercise on calculating baker's percentage.

I may be able to help you if you tell me what rate of hydration you are aiming at!! Hydration plays a key role in determining the rest of ingredients calculated for within the 2600gr. batch you are talking about. 

Initially i made my home work in this and came up with hydration around 68%. Is that what you are looking for? Please let me know!



fancy4baking's picture

Hi bread basket,

I see that your final dough hydration as per the amount that you gave is 65%. Given this fact i made my calculations and came up with the same amounts that Yippee made in his/her answer, and you can adopt them in your 2600 gr. batch.


bread basket's picture
bread basket

A big THANK YOU to everybody who respondet. Gives me stuff to work with. Will let you all know how I am doing with this.


thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Here's the spreadsheet so you can scale it up to 1,000 loaves when you get your new oven.

Here's the PDF so you can print it out.


fancy4baking's picture

Hi thomaschacon,

I must say that you must have put quite an effort to come up with this very good table for Baker's Math, which i think is so handy.

But i must confess, i seem to have couple points that are not clear for me, and i appreciate your explanation on them.

In the "Yeasted Preferment" column and right on top you mentioned that the "Total flour fermented in yeasted preferment is 37.50%"

As per my very humble knowledge, when i divided the amount of flour on the total weight of the preferment i got the following:

APF   537.00 gr./Total Preferment weight 1283 gr.= 41.85%

The Same thing also goes for the final dough section.

TTL Flour fermented 1283gr./Grd Total 2600= 49.34%

So i don't quite understand how you came up with those rates.

Could you kindly explain!!!

Thanks in advance,


thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

These %flour prefermented calculations were confusing to me as well.

Once you realize they're just "flour in this preferment / total flour", it makes much more sense.

For the "Total Flour Fermented in Preferment" calculation, you're asking the question: "(How much flour will be prefermented in this preferment) compared to (total flour in formula)?"

537 / 1431 = 37.5%

For the "Total Flour Fermented" calculation, you're asking the question: "(How much flour in this entire recipe is prefermented) compared to (total flour in formula)?"

537 / 1431 = 37.5%

They're both the same in this case because there's just one preferment in this formula.

They would be different for two or more preferments.

Say you had 3 preferments in one formula (10% prefermented flour of total flour, 13% prefermented flour of total flour, and 20% prefermented flour of total flour), when you add them up, you get 43% prefermented flour. That tells you something about the total dough composition: 43% of all the flour in the entire formula is prefermented in three different preferments.

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hi Bread Basket,

The other day DNSynder posted this easy to understand explanation on bread maths and percentages on this TFL site.

Go to

I found it interesting and so easy that even a simpleton like myself could understand it.

Hope this helps..................Peter. 

By The Way...........I am not calling you simple...........just myself.........OK....LOL.............P

bread basket's picture
bread basket

Hi Peter, what a great brain work out this bakers percentage stuff (or for us older folks "anti Alzheimer excercise). I am still working on it to understand it fully: incorpporating the starter stuff as well as other ingredients. But I am getting there.

henryruczynski's picture


 I am following your original recipe:

Preferment :

450 gr WW

Water 580

 Total water that you use is:

 580 for preferment, plus 200 in your final dough = 780 ml

So; 580 divided by total water 780 = 0.7436, or 74%

What your recipe is telling me is that you use 74% of your total water  in your preferment.


For the second recipe which you had asked for to give a  greater final dough amount;

your water under the “total recipe” column is 930 gm.

Now, you say that you use 74% of your water for preferment...

Total water 930 X 0.7436 = 691 ml (or gm)


Myself, when I make grain breads, I  multiply my preferment  grains

by 1.25 and that’s my water which I then subtract from final recipe.

Using this as an example -  in the second recipe, your water for preferment would be:

flour = 536 X 1.25 = 670; not too far off from what you have (690)

Fun, yes?



bread basket's picture
bread basket

got it!  Thanks.

bread basket's picture
bread basket

Hi H, I am " dancing" with bakersmath! :-) thanks again for showing me your low tech approach. Creating it with paper and pencil helps so much to understand. I am looking at all my recipes this way now and adjust them where  I need more dough weight. What I am running in now is a SD recipe: I made a colum for 1. feed and another one for 2. feed. With this do I calculate my total amount of flour and  hydration? Here my recipe for SD rolls with cracked oat.

1. feed 6/60/60

2.feed 100/100/100

starter 274gr

water 526gr.

AP 622gr


cracked oat 100gr dry (soaker)

20gr. salt

I used originally the 1,2,3 approach (which works by the way like a charm) and then adapted some.

henryruczynski's picture


Most places have a separate recipe book for the mother culture and sour, as it is

made and refreshed daily for numerous doughs.

This is how I would write out your SD recipe so that it is... simple to follow:

Your salt is almost 2 ½ % which sounds right as we’re taking the flour that is in your sour into consideration.

You already know how much you add - ratio wise - to make your starter and refresh, so you can just build up on that if you want to make more sourdough, but your percentage for this recipe will stay the same: 0.3333

I assume your 6-60-60- is your 6 gm of mother; 60 flour and 60 water?

Second feed is 100 gm taken from first, then add another 100 flour and 100 water

From this, you use 274 gm as your sourdough which is added to final dough

and of what’s left over, 6 gm is used to make a new sour starter and the rest discarded – yes?

Now, if you do want to write this out with feed column 1 and 2; it might look like this...

Way too complicated.

If you look at the Final Dough column, the numbers end up being the same for both recipe examples.

Your feed 1 and 2 had some extra starter left over but I changed it for this example (using your ratios)

so that we get a final total of 274 starter.

 Tell the truth, now my head is in a knot doing it like this.


bread basket's picture
bread basket

Hi H

Thanks again for helping me so much! I am sorry for the knot................I just looked at Mike's Sourdough home: He does a separate list for the starter. So we don't have to do this complicated stuff :-). I could have looked it up before turning your brain  into a knot, couldn't I?

I think I absolutely got it .I  now understand the structure of the recipes, it makes it so very clear.

You were right with the assumptions you made regarding my recipe. I will make now 2 lists for SD recipes: one for the starter and one for the recipe and express the starter as a % of the total flour.

By the way I sold 40 loafs at the tailgate market today, went home before the market closed ;-). It helps making efficient use of supplies and equipment.

Thank you one more time and I wish you a wonderful weekend. I think you are a pretty good teacher!


ssorllih's picture

When ever I make bread I record all of the flour used wherever and all of the water used and adjust for the hydration I want. I count all liquids as water and all flours and seeds as flour. Flour always equals 100%.

If five pounds of flour makes six loaves and for the next batch I want eight loaves, Each loaf uses 5/6 pounds or 13.3 ounces so I need 8x13.3 ounces of flour for the new batch or 6.66 pounds or six pounds 11 ounces.


henryruczynski's picture


I’m glad that you now “get it” when it comes to bakers percent.

Once people understand, they wonder what all the fuss was about.

Still, I know a few bakers that are not familiar with BP yet seem to manage

their daily bread production just fine.


dwfender's picture