Communicating with Bakers math
Is there a "standard" format for communicating a bread formula? If there is, I'd love it if some whould guide me to it.
I think Bakers' math is wonderful: a tool that carries so much information, in so few symbols. It's akin to tensor analysis. However, when I both read or write a bread formula I find myself stumbling. How do I "correctly" communicate the amount of preferment (sourdough starter, poolish, biga, pate fermente, etc.)? What useful information does the bakers' percentage of the total dough weight communicate? A check-sum digit?.
For example, as a home baker who keeps his seed starter refrigerated, I don't have a bubbling pot of fresh levain handy on the kitchen counter, for those moments when I think, "Why don't I just whip out a loaf before dinner time." Before each sourdough bake--or for that matter any bread incorporating any preferment--I have to build the budgeted amount of ripe levain needed by the amount of dough planned for. Of course, I have to account for the water and flour in the preferment in the final dough's balance. In my head (and in the spreadsheet program I wrote more than two years ago) I simply account for the flour in the levain--its weight(s) and type(s)-- in the planned flours' budget. Similarly, I account for its liquid weight in the planned liquid's budget. This has worked for me since day one; however, since day two--wanting to post/boast of my success--after I'd looked throughout TFL for a way to list, not a recipe, but this new found tool, a Formula--I was, and remain to this day confused. Now when I post the ratios of ingredients on a bread I've baked, I report the baker's percentage of the flour(s) used building the levain, and the levain's hydration. I think it is an accurate and complete communication, but it seems cumbersome. Furthermore, on both TFL, and in published breadbooks, I've not found a "standard" practice.
I've never listed the bakers' percentage of the total dough.Mea culpa.
In the words of the Beatles, "Help me, if you can!