The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How much weight is lost in baking?

DavidEF's picture

How much weight is lost in baking?

Is there a rule of thumb regarding how much weight is lost by baking? I know it will be mostly determined by how much moisture is present in the dough. I'd expect most or all of the moisture weight to be gone. Is that right? How much of everything can be expected to cook away? I'm just wondering if I wanted to target a "finished" weight, is there a way to tell by the ingredients, or is it just going to take trial-and-error?

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

It is ingredients and trial and error.

A substantial part of the loss is actually due to yeasts making carbon dioxide.

For my 100% rye I have a loss of 120g / kg finished weight.


SCruz's picture

Since I've started baking bread I haven't lost any weight. If anything, the opposite is true.

gmagmabaking2's picture

My mind works just like yours. ;-)

Donkey_hot's picture


There is a chapter in "Bread" by Jeffery Hamelman  that explains that water evaporation  in dough can be as much as 10 to 20 percent.   Some of the various factors are: loaf weight, dough shape and crust to crumb ratio.  He also mentions that pan breads have less evaporation than hearth-baked loafs of the same weight.

golgi70's picture

At the bakeries I've worked at with wholesale  they assume 20% water weight loss so they can make tags. I'm sure the 10-20 is a truer variable. 


ananda's picture

Hi Josh,

Your experience covers allowance for both loss in baking and cooling.   And quite a lot of weight loss occurs in bread as it cools.   I think the OP is mainly concerned with what happens in the oven.

So Hamelman's 10-20% probably applies better in this context.   I have the same experience as you: retail and small scale wholesale bakers expect 20% weight loss.   But if you go into a plant baker, where special cooling units are used, allowance for weight loss with be something like 12-13%!   That is at the point it is sliced and wrapped.

Best wishes


DavidEF's picture

SCruz, I think you may be right. I seem to be a little fluffier since starting to bake bread a few short months ago!

Andy, actually, I am including cooling too. I don't really have a need to know, but I was curious about trying to target a "finished" weight that is a nice whole number versus a fraction or decimal number. I figured it would be something that's been done for millenia, and there should be a simple rule-of-thumb number to use. But, the 10-20% seems like a small number. Shouldn't more of the moisture cook (and cool) out? For instance, the recipe I use most is a 70% hydration dough, in which almost 40% of the total weight is water, and there are some other hydrating ingredients as well. Of course, I don't know anything. That's why I'm asking.

Thanks, all, for the answers!

suave's picture

It depends on the size of the loaf, or rather crust/crumb ratio.   For an average-sized loaf you should expect around 15%. 

mcs's picture

This is a thread from a few years ago about the same topic, specifically with baguettes.   As mentioned in that thread, my baguettes lose about 23% of their water.


dabrownman's picture

and the weight coming out of the oven of just about every bake the last 1 1/2 years.  The loss varies from 12% to 18% with bqggies at the high end and covered pumpernickel on the low.  For an average multi-grain bread it comes in at 13 - 14% and I would say that is close to the average. 

gary.turner's picture

is mostly with panned sandwich loaves and larger (2+lb) ball or oval loaves. With little variance, my losses have been ~10% of the dough  weight. For example, 1kg of  dough yields 900g (as close to 2# as not to matter; convenient, no?) of bread. This rule of thumb holds for me through my normal hydration range of 60 to 67%.



Donkey_hot's picture

This makes sense, a drier dough should lose less moisture plus larger size really helps...

DavidEF's picture

The answers are very helpful. Maybe next time I bake, I will weigh the dough and the bread and see where it lands. Thanks!

foodslut's picture

Just pulled a batch of multigrain (72% hydration - formula here @ Dropbox) out of the oven (350g/12.3 oz. baguettes + 175g/6.2 oz. ficelles, 500F x 8 minutes, 400F x 28 minutes).

Weight going in:  2152 g

Weight cooling:   1912 g

Weight loss:          240 g / 11.1 %

More data points to follow once I bake off my 72% hydration white baguettes/ficelles.


gary.turner's picture

I, too, baked today, a 20% medium rye sandwich loaf.

Hydration was 62.4%. 

The loaves' dough weight was 580g. (a little heavy to compensate for the rye).

Finished loaves were 520g.

Loss equals 10.3%.



DavidEF's picture

Thank you, foodslut and gary.turner for the excellent data you've given me. I baked Friday night, but I had issues I was dealing with and didn't weigh my dough. I will be baking again soon, though.

Cob's picture

Wow interesting thread!

I've been logging my pre-bake and post bake weights for the last few months. I agree it's about 10-20% but as mentioned, it depends on dough hydration and shape.

I've been interested to discover it can vary between 6-18%. I feel safest at about 10-15%, after reading in Baker and Spice, Exceptional Breads it's about 10%. The crumb will set very quickly, after that, it's about setting/baking the crust to heart's desire and the ramification will be further moisture loss from the crumb, like it or not.

The 6% value, by far my lowest, referred to KAF's Burger Buns, if I baked them longer than specified, they would be much drier and in my opinion, overbaked and far less moist, losing about 10% water loss. These bake like sweet bread, in a very moderate oven.

The 18% water loss refers to 55% hydration pretzels (part WM/WW) and 60-70% WM tin loaves (65% hydration). The first baked dry and chewy, just right, the second was by far overbaked and was dry as sand.

20% plus is pretty high, I've never lost that amount in any dough. I expect the 79% flatbreads I make will the only thing to lose so much water because these bake at max heat, but I've never weighed them.

I have a tendency to 'overbake' things, that is, far longer than usually specified, so would be interested to see how low I could go, but I would definitely be forsaking a good crust if I did so.

It would be interesting to see what others have found in their baked breads.

Suveer B's picture
Suveer B


So good to have found this thread! I would think that Hydration loss during the bake would get more coverage in Bread books. It should go beyond... "knock the bread for hollowness" !! Right?

Anyhow, I just baked a Tartine Sourdough Double loaf. 

The total dough weight (for two loaves) at the time of  final shaping was 1947 gms. So each loaf was ~ 974 gms. The loaf weights post bake, fully cooled:

  • Loaf 1 : 798 gms (right out the oven: 810 gms)
  • Loaf 2 : 819 gms (right out the oven: 827 gms) 
  • Total cooled baked weight: 1617 gms

Net loss of 17%  

Going by what I read on this thread, that seems about right in terms of expected water loss. Right?

I should point out that I scored the two breads differently. Loaf 1 in the 'Tartine' way and the other in a cross with four horizontal slits about 2 in long, closer to the edges. 

Loaf 2 also had about an extra hour of proofing in the fridge. Both loaves stayed on the counter for 40-50 mins prior to baking. Ambient: 73F.

Hope this helps.

Finally, the loaves taste awesome, in case you were wondering. That's after I had to trash 6 failed ones! My bread friend recognised that my oven wasn't getting hot enough!