The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Do I need to use bakers percentages or can I just multiply the recipe with the number of batches I want to make?

giyad's picture

Do I need to use bakers percentages or can I just multiply the recipe with the number of batches I want to make?


I'm using a recipe that calls for:

  • 2.5 cups for bread flour
  • 1 cup of cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of yeast
  • 1.25 cups of water

Now, this recipe makes me 4-6 balls of dough (depending on the size I want them to be), but I want to make around 30 dough balls.  Should I just multiply that recipe by 5 for each ingredient, or do I use bakers percentages? 

I've read very mixed answers online, but I find it pointless for there to be a formula if you can simply multiply by how much you want to make... although i guess you can be more accurate if bakers percentages, like I can make a batch that produces 31 balls of dough instead of 30.

I guess the thing I'm most worried about is the yeast.

  • 71.5% bread flour
  • 28.5% cake flour
  • 1.8% sugar
  • 1.8% vegetable oil
  • 1.2% salt
  • 0.6% yeast
  • 35.7% water
ssorllih's picture

Without being elitist no matter whether you simply multiply by five all of the ingredients or you first convert them to bakers percentages you are going to get the same answer. Bakers percentages really help when you discover that you  have only 85 % of the flour you need for a recipe and you don't have time to run out for more. That is when you multiply everything by .85 and make a slightly smaller batch.

giyad's picture


gary.turner's picture

Bakers' percentages are based on the weights. I think you will find your water is closer to 63%.

Using loosely derived values, you have 2.5 × 140g/cup (for bread or AP flour)  + 125g/cup (for cake flour) = 475g.

The water is 1.25 × 240g/cup (actually closer to 237g) = 300g.

Bread flour is 350 ÷ 425 = 74%, and the cake flour is 125 ÷ 475 = 26%.

Water/hydration is 300 ÷ 475 = .6316 (rounding), or 63%.

Table salt is about 5.7g per tsp, so 11.4g ÷ 475 = 2.4%. That may be a little much, but tastes vary.

Sugar is 4.2g/tsp, so 12.6 ÷ 475 = 2.6%. That's not much.

IDY runs about 3.5 to 4g per tsp so your number is in the ball park.

Oil is 13.6g ÷ 475 = 2.9%. Not much at all.

Did that help?



giyad's picture

Thanks, that helped a lot actually!  I had realized and edited my question right before you answered that my numbers were calculated based on volume instead of weight and so I had removed them from the question, but I returned them since you answered :).  Appreciated, but I now have a question about the yeast.  In the quote below (source) you will see that it says I can multiply all the ingredients except for the yeast, is this the case?  or does it depend on the bread I'm making?  I guess it makes sense that the more yeast the faster it will rise, but if the rest of the ingredients are multiplied too shouldn't it rise in the same amount of time?


I’ve heard that when you’re doubling a recipe, you shouldn’t double the yeast, too. Is that true?

You can increase the size of most bread recipes simply by doubling, tripling, etc. all of the ingredients – except yeast.

If you increase the amount of yeast at the same rate you increase everything else, you may find yourself with a lot of dough on your hands and not enough time to deal with it. For example, by the time you’ve shaped the eighth loaf, the first may be well on its way to doubled in size, which makes the whole process harder to time and handle.

Most home bread bakers prefer to stick with 2 to 3 teaspoons yeast for up to 8 loaves (24 cups of flour – about 6 pounds), simply giving the bread a longer, slower rise. Not only does this improve the flavor, it slows down the rising dough so that you can work with it more easily.

gary.turner's picture

I scale the yeast up or down with the dough weight. There is the hypothesis that yeast works  faster in larger dough batches. I have not made more than 2.5 kilos at a time, so can't say. What matters is the proofing temperature and how long you want the fermentation to take. As for the example of 8 loaves above, that's just silly. Anyone baking 8 loaves at a time is not going to be that inept at shaping, or they wa-ay overdid the yeast in the first place. I'm not a bench whiz, but the only reason my shaping a loaf might take more than 15 seconds is that I'm dawdling. No way is a couple of minutes going to create a rush at the end.



//edited several times due to fat finger syndrome. :sigh: ~g

sandydog's picture

Andrew Whitley in his book "BREAD MATTERS" says at page 67-68, 

"As a rule of thumb, yeast should be reduced by one third for doughs between 2 kilos and 10 kilos and by half beyond that."

Most of his recipes recommend less yeast than usual as he prefers slower fermentation which he says "Almost always results in bread with better flavour, texture and keeping quality."

This works fine at home when I have all the time in the world to allow my breads to come to fruition, but I can see that it would frustrate the devil in a commercial bakery, or indeed anyone at home who is short on time.

Try it and see what you think (If you have thetime).


clazar123's picture

The problem (or question) here is not whether you can just multiply everything by 5.Of course you can.  The prob is what happens when the tiny differences in measuring by volume rather than weight are multiplied by 5. My best analagy is when you quilt (or lay brick). Being off by 1/8 inch per row is not usually a problem but when you get to the 8th row-you now have 1 full inch of variance-bad when you try to line up quilts (or bricks). Same thing when you multiply cups of anything-one scoop to the next doesn't matter a lot but by the time you scoop the 30th scoop, it adds up.

If this will be more than a one time occurance, make your single (smaller) recipe and measure the cups into grams. Then when you go to scale up, there are fewer uncertainties as to how the dough will behave. Meantime, try scaling up the volume ingredients (maybe measure them this time) and be prepared to do some adjustment-perhaps a ;little more adjustment than typical for a scaled, weighed formula.

MangoChutney's picture

Scaling by use of baker's percentages works better than multiplying the weights and volumes only if you know how the recipe was expressed in those terms to begin with.  If you create a set of baker's percentage from a recipe expressed in volumes and weights, you are only carrying forward approximations from some unknown percentages.  In that case there is nothing to be gained and you might as well multiply the components by 31/5, to use the example in the original post, because either way you are going to have to adjust the new recipe by feel.

Of course, you might in the process zero in on your own set of accurate percentages, which you can record and use in the future. Whether or not that is worth the effort to you depends on how often you plan to make the recipe with differing yields.

dwfender's picture

If you're still interested in the topic I just wrote a blog post about an introduction to baker's percentages. In a few days I'm going to post some more details and exercises, but this is a pretty decent place to start. If you read it and have questions let me know so I can update the blog.