The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Understanding Jeffrey Hamelman’s Baker’s Percentage formulas for bread.

ibor's picture

Understanding Jeffrey Hamelman’s Baker’s Percentage formulas for bread.

I am a firm believer in two things:

·         the use of the Baker’s Percentage for calculating the amount of bread we wish to make, and

·         Jeffrey Hamelman’s book “Bread- A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes “

However, in the aforementioned book, although Baker’s Percentage figures are given for all formulas (in baking you do not refer to “recipes” but “formulas”) little is mentioned as how to use them.

An example will help to clarify the problem.

Whip out your copy of the book.

Let´s take the formula for Country Bread (p.105), which uses a Pre-Ferment.

In “Overall Formula” you are given a view of all the ingredients  and their percentages;

there we see that Bread Flour  represents the 100% of the formula.

Go to the header of the page and there you find that “Pre-Fermented flour: 50 %”; this means that 50% of the Bread Flour is used in the “Pre-Ferment”.

Now you know that in the next table, called “Pre-Ferment” this 50% of Bread Flour will represent the 100% of it.

Knowing  how much flour represents the 100% of the Pre-Ferment you can calculate the rest of the ingredients of the Pre-Ferment using the percentages given.


For further clarification let’s run some numbers.

We are going to make 600 g of Country Bread.

According to the Baker’s Percentage system we divide 600 by 170.4% (The Total Yield figure of the Overall Formula). This gives us a factor of 3.52.

3.52 by 100 gives us 352 g of Bread Flour or 100%  of the Overall Formula.

Since the Pre-Fermented Flour is 50% of the Bread Flour,  the 50% of 352 g is 176 g, which represents the 100% of the Pre-Ferment.

In this same Pre-Ferment table the next item is “Water”. At 60% of the Bread Flour weight it is equal to 105.6 g.  And so on.

Any questions?

DanAyo's picture

Ibor, do you have a question concerning Hamelman’s Baker’s Percentages? I haven’t checked my book (Bread) yet, but I don’t understand what is troubling you. Maybe nothing is.

If you need help I may be able to assist...


Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

... along with a lot of other useful information. You can find Baker's Percentage on pages 442 - 446.

gavinc's picture

I can't fault Hamelman's calculations.  I replicate the formula in an Excel spreadsheet so I can calculate desired dough quantities.