The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dough math

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Chaze215's picture
Chaze215

Dough math

I have used the following recipe for pizza/strombolis/calzones etc...

4 cups bread flour, 1 3/4 cups water, 2 1/4 tsp yeast, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tbl olive oil.

So I tried to convert those measurements into grams as best as I could and come up with a formula. Is this correct?

4 cups (520 grams), 1 3/4 cups water (432 grams), 2 1/4 tsp yeast (10 grams), salt (9 grams) So.....

Bread flour 100%, water 83%, yeast 2% and salt 1.7%

The math part (and making bread/pizza from scratch as a matter of fact) is all new to me and I am trying to grasp the concept. Would you suggest any changes based on the above information? Thanks in advance!

Chaz

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Susan of WildYeast wrote an excellent tutorial about baker's percentages.  Easy to understand.  Here's her index to the three parts she wrote:

http://www.wildyeastblog.com/bakers-percentage-index/

Welcome to TFL!

flournwater's picture
flournwater

When I weighed that amount of flour, water and yeast from bulk measure I got different numbers  -  but not all flour weighs out the same per cup and certainly the same flour can weigh more or less, cup for cup, when portioned out with bulk measurement.  Nevertheless, while I disagree with the weight of the bulk measure you have listed,  the bakers percentages you calculated are correct if you want an 83% hydration in your dough.  Not sure why you'd want to use 2% yeast and 1.7% salt  (I prefer to remain with 1% yeast and 2% salt; but that's not significantly different and you may want more yeast flavor in the bread/pizza) but it's clear by your calculations that you have the concept of bakers percentages down solidly.

Rockford Dough Girl's picture
Rockford Dough Girl

If the recipe comes with baker's percentages, just follow that. I put an asterix beside the flour to remind me that's my 100%. Then I begin weighing my flour and applying the percentages to my other ingredients.

If the recipe did not provide baker's percentages, then it's a little bit more tricky. I've had to do this with a really great rye bread recipe a friend gave me and it didn't have any percentages. What I did was measure out all the ingredients and then begin weighing everything on a scale. I then did the math to find the percentages:

Flour = 100% = x

water = (water weight/x) * 100%

salt = (salt weight/x) * 100%

and so on. This only gave me an approximate baker's percentage to go by knowing the weight of the flour can vary depending on how compacted the flour was in your container. Then I start making my bread!!!

For my rye recipe, I was lucky that it turned out great the first time. The next time I made this bread I changed the amount of flour and used the baker's percentage to calculate my other ingredients. The dough was a little dry this time so I knew I had to recalculate my water percentage. The bread turned out fine but not quite as nice as the first time.

Needless to say... it's an experiment!!! Don't be discouraged if it doesn't turn out the first time or even the second time. When you get used to using the baker's percentages, you'll actually find it easier to make bread and you can make as much or as little bread as you want!!!!

Chaze215's picture
Chaze215

Thanks for the feedback, links and suggestions. The recipe that I posted really doesnt have a yeasty taste to it, but I guess from the percentages one might think it does. I dont have a fancy scale, so my weights might be off a bit too. As far as hydration is concerned (and besides the dough being more wet) what effect does hydration have on a dough? If I lower the hydration by 10-20%, what can I expect from the final product as opposed to the 83% hydration?

Thanks again! I appreciate the info!

Chaz

flournwater's picture
flournwater

The greater the level of hydration, the more difficult it is to maintain the desired shape during the final proof.  Some bakers use bread pans for just that reason.

As you increase hydration your bread will take longer to bake and the added water will generate more internal steam leaving uneven holes (crumb); often times with some very large holes.

High hydration can also cause your loaf to split open because once the crust begins to form and the internal steam continues to generate the pressure has to have somewhere to go and breaking through the forming crust is its only option.

Chaze215's picture
Chaze215

Thanks for the insight flour, I appreciate it. If I lower the hydration %, would the final product have a floury (if thats even a word...lol) taste?

Chaz

flournwater's picture
flournwater

The "flour" taste typically occurs when the flour isn't sufficiently cooked.  If your bread bakes to an interenal temperature above 190 degrees F you shouldn't experience any "floury" taste.  Even surface flour seems to taste just fine when it's used to dust the loaf before oven loading.

 

longhorn's picture
longhorn

Your yeast is IMO awfully high. Makes for a very quick dough - ready to bake too fast for best flavor. Try .3% yeast and let ferment in the fridge overnight. 

Hydration is higher than most but... that is up to you and your ability to handle wet dough. I usually use AP when using only water and add a bit of oil (about 1 T for your size batch) when using BF.

But it works!

Chaze215's picture
Chaze215

I was thinking about doing an overnight ferment in the fridge. So besides lowering the yeast (lets say by 1/2 to 1 1/8 tsp), what other adjustments would you make? Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

Chaz

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I believe longhom meant 3% (.03) rather than .3%.  But for my own formulas I usually stay below 2% with something closer to 1% as a standard.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

0.3% instant = 0.9% fresh, quite reasonable for a very slowly fermented dough.

Bertinet's french white dough is Flour 100% water 70% salt 2% yeast 2% (fresh)

DiMuzio in his straight baguette recipe uses Flour 100% water 70% salt 2% yeast 0.3% (instant). I made this several times, always turns out great. (bulk proof ca. 4 hours at room temp) Surprisingly tasty for a direct dough.


longhorn's picture
longhorn

Going down to .3% (3 grams or about 2/3 of a tablespoon per kilogram of flour) slows the process and allows the enzymes a chance to work ont the starch a bit and produce more sugars. You will also have more dead yeast byproducts (dead yeast is a great dough enhancer!). Both add flavor and to dough quality/extensability. One can go lower. I find 0.3% about right for an overnight retard but one can go to .1% if one wants to go slower. No problem but you may want to spike the yeast in the final dough (depending on how active the yeast is in the retarded dough) and if you go over 24 hours or so you may want to expand the retard into a final dough to compensate for the degraded starch in the retarded dough.