The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread Recipe Spreadsheet

Steve Petermann's picture
Steve Petermann

Bread Recipe Spreadsheet

There are many recipes out there both in books and online -- some good, some not so good.  At a point in my bread making journey, I wanted to do some experimentation and try my hand at creating my own recipes or modifying some I liked.  I've had a spreadsheet for years but it was pretty simple and didn't offer a full-fledged tool to be creative. So, late last year I decided to kick it up a notch to make it more complete. This is the spreadsheet I've been using for several months now and have enjoyed using it.  So, since others might enjoy a tool that helps them be creative and learn more about how things work in a recipe, I decided I'd share it.

Now, there are other spreadsheets out there and if they work for you, great.  This one fit my preferences for an interface.  What I particularly wanted was one that offered a seamless integration of soakers and other wet/dry ingredients.  I also wanted a way to import a recipe so that I could try some changes.

This spreadsheet is available both for download (for those who have the Excel PC app) or with Excel Online for those who don't.  

Now, the spreadsheet is pretty involved with a lot of features so I created a YouTube demo/help video.  I give a quick demo at the beginning so you can decide if you might want to watch further.  Here's the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utxhSh25dUk

If you want to download the spreadsheet here's the link:

Download: https://onedrive.live.com/download?cid=B126829C89FACFE6&resid=B126829C89FACFE6%21209&authkey=AG3cm-VoQzojrBA&em=2 (1)

If you don't have the Excel App on your PC and you want to try it, message me with your email address.  I need that so I can set up a private spreadsheet on my Microsoft OneDrive for you to use.  You can try it there but if you want to use it long term, you'll need a Microsoft account. It's free and will give you your own OneDrive where you can create and store your spreadsheets.

Full Disclosure:

I wanted some automation in the spreadsheet to make life easier so there are Visual Basic script macros in the spreadsheet. They are represented by the buttons at various places and also do some automatic formating and prevent cut/copy pastes which can mess up the formatting and spreadsheet.  I cover all that at the end of the Disable Macros video. Now, if you're worried I might have put some malicious code in the macros, you can do a couple of things.  If you are using the Excel PC app you can disable the macros before you start using it.  Here's a video that explains how to do that:

Disable Macros: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQfY6D2FNXc

Or, you can just use the Excel Online version because the macros are disabled there.

I've used this for months and fixed anything that didn't seem right to me, but if someone sees something that doesn't seem right, please let me know.  If there is a problem, I'll fix it and post a link to the new version here.

There are many niceties in bread making and bread making techniques but I don't think creating a recipe should be an impediment.  Bread making will still have its intuitive (feel) side and adjustments may be necessary, as always, because of the complexity of ingredients and techniques.  However, hopefully the spreadsheet will minimize them and make it fun to try new things.

 

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Steve, if ever I have an Excel question, you are definitely da’ man. I am watching your video and the thought that you put into this tool is amazing...

Thanks for sharing.

Danny

Question- at 29:39 in your Helps video, how are you calculating 449g for the total water in the soaker? What am I missing?

Steve Petermann's picture
Steve Petermann

Hey Danny,

The last 20 years of my engineering career I did mostly software engineering including a lot of Excel applications for my boss so it was a lot of fun for me to work on this. In fact, I was kinda bumbed out when I ran out of things to add to it.

Here's the process I used to determine the soaker water amount:

  1. Knowing the total flour weight in the dough and the baker's % I want for the soaker ingredients, I can calculate the total weight of the soaker ingredients (not with the water).
  2. Then based on the weight for the total soaker ingredients and the percent of a particular soaker ingredient for that I can determine the weight of each ingredient in the soaker.
  3. From that, I can calculate the amount of water that the ingredient will soak up for full hydration (from the soaker water table for the hydration %). So that gives me the water absorbed by each ingredient.
  4. I total the amount of water absorbed by the ingredients to get the total water that will be absorbed.
  5. Then I add the extra water on top of that to get the total soaker water.
  6. The water added to the final dough will be decreased by the extra water amount I added to the soaker so that the final hydration will correct.

BTW, for those who may have seen the soaker water data I put in this post, here's the manual process.

  1. Determine the baker's % you want the total soaker ingredient weight to be for the final dough.
  2. Multiple that baker's % times the total flour weight in the dough to get the total soaker ingredient weight.
  3. Then multiply that by the % you want for each soaker ingredient to get the weight of each ingredient.
  4. Multiply each ingredient weight by the hydration % in the soaker water table for the ingredient. That will give you the water weight absorbed for each ingredient.
  5. Just add all those water weights for the ingredients together to get the total water weight to get full hydration.
  6. Then add some extra water weight to make sure everything will get fully hydrated.
  7. Subtract whatever extra water you added from the final dough water and that should do it.

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

There is so many options available on your spreadsheet that it appears daunting and intimidating.

From an outsider looking in, I have a suggestion. Is it possible to setup the following? When a user enters information in an initial input cell, that all other cells that are able to receive data are highlighted with a certain color? Then after all input was entered the user would be instructed to go to a new cell in order to proceed with the process. Once an entry was made in this new cell the previously highlighted cells would return to normal and new data entry cells would be highlighted.

Just thinking out loud...

If you want to discuss this over the phone, send me a PM with your contact number and a good time so we can talk. If you want we can also Skype, enabling you to share your screen. Input from an outsider may help to make your sheets more user friendly.

It is amazing how much thought you put into this work. It is super kind of you to share your work!

Danny

Steve Petermann's picture
Steve Petermann

Danny,

Yes, I figured that the spreadsheet would be intimidating, at least at first.  This is true of any new software. Also, the spreadsheet does require some knowledge of the way formulations work. For instance, for a pre-ferment, the user would need to have some basic knowledge of how starter percents, hydrations, etc. work.  A large starter percent increases the amount of leavening and therefore the rate of fermentation.  The hydration of the pre-ferment can affect the type of beasties that thrive and therefore the characteristic of how the pre-ferment will affect the final dough.  While there is a lot of literature on all this available, I have found that trying certain formulations helps get a feel for things.  With bread, because of its complexity, I don't think there is any substitute for just trying things out and seeing how it works out.  I know for me the failures can be very informative. That, to a large extent, was why I created the spreadsheet so I could make changes quickly and fail in an informed way.

I tried to add some color coding of cells to guide the user but I'm open to adding some others to make it easier.  I'll message you so we can have a conversation.  A key to any software is user feedback.  If others have suggestions and especially criticisms, I welcome them.  The thing, in my view, is that amateur bakers shouldn't just have to just repeat what the "pros" have put out there. With a little effort to understand how formulations work, the opportunity for creativity in bread making can be great and very satisfying.