The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help with Baker's Percentages

MIchael_O's picture

Help with Baker's Percentages

To me Hydration and Baker's Percentage remains unclear after reading countless Baker's Percentage instructionals. These instructionals all seem to handle the simplest white bread baking examples. The issue is, it sems like the baker's percentage would lose the quality of being able to compare different recipes if you strayed from those simple examples. How about more complex baking? For example, how would one calculate a baker's percentage for:

1. A brownie, that contains a lot of fat in unsweetened chocolate

2. Rose Levy's Butterless Cake that uses heavy cream in place of butter. Does the heavy cream get counted as a liquid or fat?

3. Cake that use ground almonds as the fat. Do the nuts get counted as a liquid, fat, or flour?

These non-standard cakes use of very little flour and would throw off the salt and sugar percentages.

Can someone work an example that shows how do use baker's percentage on something that is not as simple as white bread and butter?


dabrownman's picture

In bread, cream is treated as a fat and and a liquid is fat .....the rest is water..  No worries.

MIchael_O's picture

This reply is once again off topic, I didnt asked about flourless cakes. I will assume it's your attempt at hyperbole and seek advice from more helpful sources.

MichaelLily's picture

The baker's % gives one ratios both for scaling and comparison to other recipes of the same kind. To me, a % list for panettone means nothing because I do not bake panettone. I understand basic bread percentages. % for croissant dough also means little to me, even though I make hundreds a week. But it does mean something to me when I compare it to other croissant doughs to see where they differ. It's a per-ingredient listing, and is useful for comparison because they are listed as ratios.

Norcalbaker's picture

Suppose you have a recipe that yields one 8" round cake. You want to bake a 10" round cake. You will need to complete 4 steps to calculate the amount of each ingredient.

***IMPORTANT: Flour is ALWAYS 100%-- even if other ingredients weight more than flour***

STEP 1: calculate totals of ingredients and percentages of original recipe

Flour 204 grams 100% (flour is always 100%)
Baking powder 4 grams 2% (4 ÷ 204 = .019, round up to 2)
Salt 2.5 grams 1% (2.5 ÷ 204 = .01)
Sugar 250 grams 122% (250 ÷ 204 = 1.225)
Eggs 200 grams 98% (200 ÷ 204 = .98)
Vanilla 5 grams 2% (5 ÷ 204 = .02)
Heavy cream 120 ml 59% (120 ÷ 204 = .588. Round up 59)
Unsalted butter 78 grams 38% (78 ÷ 204 = .39)

Total batter weight 863.5 grams
Total of Percentages 422%

STEP 2: calculate the area difference of each pan
Radius of pans
Square radius
Radius squared x pi (3.15)
Divide larger pan area by smaller pan area

8" round pan
Radius: 8 ÷ 2 = 4
Square Radius: 4 x 4 = 16
Radius squared x pi: 16 x 3.14 = 50.24

10" round pan
Radius: 10 ÷ 2 = 5
Square Radius: 5 x 5 = 25
Radius squared x pi: 25 x 3.14 = 78.5

Divide larger pan area by smaller pan area
78 ÷ 50 = 1.56

The recipe needs to be increased by 56%.

STEP 3: calculate the amount of batter required for larger pan

Multiply the total weight of the original recipe by amount of increase

Total weight of batter original recipe: 863.5 grams
Amount of increase .56

863.5 g x .56 = 483.56 grams of additional batter needed

Add original weight of batter to the additional amount needed

863.5 + 483.56 = 1347 grams batter needed for 10" pan

New total amount of batter needed: 1347 grams (1 kilo, 347 grams)

STEP 4: scale the recipe

Multiply the original weight of ingredients by the percentage of the increase, in this example it's .56

Flour 204 x .56 = 318.24
Baking Powder 4 x .56 = 6.24
Salt 2.5 x .56 = 3.9
Sugar 250 x .56 = 390
Eggs 200 x .56 = 312
Vanilla 5 x .56 = 7.8
Heavy cram 120 x .56 = 187.2
Unsalted Butter 78 x .56 = 121.68

Total of each ingredient multiplied by .56: 1347.06

Norcalbaker's picture

its just for illustrating use of baker's percentage with a list of ingredients besides water, salt, & flour.  

dabrownman's picture

They are % of ingredients. compared to flour

Flour is always 100%

 Cream is a % of the flour as is is everything else  Water is a percent of flour as is almonds, other nuts, fruits , sugar butter  etc . We don't care if butter is fat or solid or part water other than we want ti know how much water is in butter so the hydration isn't thrown off and get too liquid,