The Fresh Loaf

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Baker's Percentage Freestyling - Need a Math Check!

mburns87's picture
mburns87

Baker's Percentage Freestyling - Need a Math Check!

Hey all - I've been sticking pretty tightly to recipes during my time learning how to bake bread, but recently I began learning Baker's Percentages/Conversions to allow for more flexibility in the kitchen. My main education source for formulas and method is FCI's Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking.

As a test, I wanted to try and make a recipe for 1.6kg of 65% hydration dough using a 60% hydration levain, with FF at about 26% of TFW. I came out with this for Actual Quantity:

  • Flour (KA Organic Bread) - 100% - 950g
  • Water - 65% - 617.5g
  • Salt - 2% - 19g
  • TDW: 1.59kg

And when I separate the levain for Final Quantity (assuming 156g flour and 94g water in 250g 60% hydration stiff levain) I'm getting:

  • Flour - 795g
  • Water - 523g
  • Salt - 19g
  • Starter (KA Organic Bread Flour): 250g
  • TDW: 1.59kg

Would anyone be so kind as to tell me if I scewed these up or if they look correct? I converted the starter amount down to 250g from a larger levain batch of 320g, 

 

albacore's picture
albacore

It looks fine to me. Note that normal convention is to express your total levain weight as a percentage of the flour excluding the levain, so 250/795 = 31%.

Or, to express in terms of pre-fermented flour (PFF), your PFF is 156/950 = 16.4%

BTW, not sure what bread you are making, but 65% hydration is quite low.

Lance

mburns87's picture
mburns87

Thanks, Lance! That's a detail I missed - I'm still mistakenly putting in total starter weight when I *mean* the PFF weight you listed. 

This recipe isn't for a bread I'm making right now, I was just doing some Baker's Percentage practice and building skill in converting amounts. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

A few years back Leslie Ruf and I set out to build a baker’s spreadsheet. After much research and study the standards as outlined by the Bread Bakers Guide of America was our method of choice.

See these 2 links.
https://www.bbga.org/files/BakersPercent-Healea.pdf
https://www.bbga.org/files/2009FormulaFormattingSINGLES.pdf

In my opinion the main area of controversy is the method used to calculate the pre-ferments. If an accurate hydration is to be calculated it is necessary to include the weights of the flour and water as part of the Total Flour and Total Water. Many sheets handle the levain as an ingredient. When calculated as an ingredient the true hydration is most often incorrect.

Albacore wrote, “ Or, to express in terms of pre-fermented flour (PFF), your PFF is 156/950 = 16.4%” This is calculated according to the BBGA standards.

It can be initially confusing. Feel free to ask questions if you need clarification and are interested.

Hope I didn’t over complicate this for you. Baker’s Percentages are the ultimate way to understand a formula. Once learned it is super simple. 

Danny

mburns87's picture
mburns87

Thanks, Danny. Those are incredibly useful - saves me a lot of notebook space to have them already laid out.

I got curious to see how the recipe translated from formula to actual dough, and just got the experimental loaf out of the oven. Surprised at how much oven spring it had despite my best preparation!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Super nice bloom. Love the color! Make sure you post the crumb shot once it is sliced.

If you are familiar with Excel and would like a copy of my spreadsheet, send me a PM and include your email address. https://www.thefreshloaf.com/user/danayo
D
anny

mburns87's picture
mburns87

Boom! Really pleased with the flavor on this - creamy, wheaty, just the right amount of salt. I worried it might be a little dry, but this is probably got closer to 68% hydration just based on touch.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Truly a gorgeous bread, Max!