The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

One Pound Loaf-Flour Weight or Dough Weight?

verminiusrex's picture

One Pound Loaf-Flour Weight or Dough Weight?

This is a question I've been meaning to ask.  When someone refers to a one pound loaf, is that based on the weight of the flour in the bread, or the total weight of the dough or loaf?  I'm wondering because the basic one pound loaf pan actually works with 1.5 lbs of dough, etc.  So I was wondering if there was some baking terminology involved that I was missing.


dolfs's picture

I pondered that question too when I was starting as I was attempting to fill loaf pans with the right amount. Browsing around on the Internet I compiled the following information: 

  • A 9x5x2 3/4 loaf pan needs between 1.25 and 2 lb of dough, which roughly means recipes with about 3-4 cups total flour. This creates a "large" loaf.
  • A 8x4x2 1/2 needs between 0.875 and 1.5 lb of dough, which roughly means recipes with 2-3 cups of total flour. Makes a "standard" loaf.
  • A 7x3x2 1/2 needs between 0.6 and 1 lb of dough, which roughly means recipes with 1.5-2 cups of total flour. Makes a "junior" loaf.
  • A round 8" brotform banneton needs between 0.5 and 1 lb of dough, which roughly means recipes with 1-2 cups of total flour. Makes a "small boule".
  • A round 9" brotform banneton needs between 1 and 2 lb of dough, which roughly means recipes with 2-3 cups of total flour. Makes a "medium boule".
  • A round 10" brotform banneton needs between 2 and 3 lb of dough, which roughly means recipes with 4-5 cups of total flour. Makes a "large boule".
  • A round 11 3/4" brotform banneton needs between 3 and 4 lb of dough, which roughly means recipes with 7-8 cups of total flour. Makes a "mega boule".

Somewhere I also have the amount for a pullman pan, but I can't find it right now. Either way, keep in mind that some doughs expand more than others, or have more oven spring than others. Consequently you'll want a little less dough than in other cases. Use the above as guidelines and rather make a little too much than too little until you have figured out, for each recipe, what you really need.

Floydm's picture

Something of a tangent, but interesting nonetheless: I recall at the bakery we always scaled loaves about three ounces heavier than the advertised weight. That was approximately the amount of weight a pound and a half loaf would lose due to evaporation and crumbs when slicing.

dolfs's picture

In my formula spreadsheet, which inputs the desired final weight, I have a percentage factor for expected baking loss due to evaporation. Currently I use 9% for that, based on some measurements in my baking. It can easily be repeated by weighing the final dough, let's say just before shaping (although it should be close to the formula total, but you may have lost some on the inside of the bowl etc.), and the weigh the final loaf, after cooling.

Allowing 3 extra ounces on a 1.5 lb, or 24 oz. loaf, amounts to 12.5%, and for a 2.5 lb loaf, at 7.5%, it is more like my 9%. Is that about the size of the breads in question? 


My Bread Aventures 

subfuscpersona's picture

For reasons I haven't yet fathomed, my compulsive little self started recording dough weight before and after baking. A loaf at 1 lb 3 oz prebaking typically ended up at 1 lb 1 oz after baking and cooling.

I had thought it might be due to the cold oven start, but now discover that it's a general rule of thumb.

Thanks, oh gurus of dough. 


Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Sorry, just for breads.

I ran a bakery for a while, and people want their loaves to weigh the amount stated on the label.  And the state officials can get positively nasty if the loaves aren't close enough.  So, I spent some time looking at the matter.

And came to about the same conclusions as Dolf.

Most of my breads lose about 12% in baking.  They are usually wettish doughs, and I am shooting for a 1 1/2 pound finished loaf.  Drier doughs lose less, wetter doughs lose more.  In case you haven't seen the pattern, the weight loss is because water used to make the doughs boils off in baking.  If you really load an oven with dough and then open the door 10 minutes later, you'll get a face full of steam.  (Depending on how well your oven is sealed.  With some gas ovens, the moisture escapes as fast as it is boiled off.)

How much dough to put in a pan?  It all depends, as others have said.  On how much the dough rises.  On how far over the top of the pan you want the loaf to rise.  With a really wet dough, it may ooze over the top and down the sides rather than rising up.

If you put too much dough into the pan it will rise a little, and the baker will panic and bake it.  Before it has fully risen.  Which robs the loaf of flavor.  A LOT of bread flavor comes from the fermentation, or rise.  In classes, I suggest that with most doughs you fill a bread pan between 1/3 and 1/2 full and then adjust as you gain experience with the dough.



pjaj's picture

Imperial lb/cu in lb/cu in
L in W in D in lb min lb max Vol cu in min max
9.00 5.00 2.75 1.25 2.00 123.75 0.16 0.26
8.00 4.00 2.50 0.88 1.50 80.00 0.18 0.30
7.00 3.00 2.50 0.60 1.00 52.50 0.18 0.30
metric gr/cu cm gr/cu cm
L cm W cm D dm gr min gr max Vol cu cm min max
22.86 12.70 6.99 567 907 2028 0.28 0.45
20.32 10.16 6.35 397 680 1311 0.30 0.52
17.78 7.62 6.35 272 454 860 0.32 0.53
23 13 7.5 1100 1250 2243 0.49 0.56

Just for fun, I entered the data for plain loaf pans into a spreadsheet and converted to metric for those who prefer to use that system. I added a few more columns to calculate the pan volume and the "loading factor" - weight per unit volume of pan. Interestingly, as the pan gets smaller, the loading factor gets bigger.

The last row in the metric table is for the 2lb tin that I use - as you can see, I put quite a bit more dough in the pan, but it works for me. Maybe it's the type of bread I'm baking, what is loosely described by UK bakeries as "Grannary".

Brenda Dodd's picture
Brenda Dodd

Thank you for the list of weighing dough in the right size pan. It worked for me. Using 800grams of my homemade WW Flax bread fit really good in my 9x5x2 pan.  No more "muffin" top but a beautiful rounded dome.