January 4, 2023 - 2:09am

## a question about baker's percentages

if I bake a loaf of bread with 1000 grams of flour and I add 500g of starter at 50% hydration it means that the total flour is 1333g

and I add 30g of salt

am I using 2% salt or 3%?

When calculating the amount of salt you need for the bread do you include the flour weight of the starter and then take 2% of that?

what I am asking is do you take 2% of 1000g of flour or from the 1333g?

Yes, you take the total flour that goes into the bread including the starter. So 2% of 1333 grams, so 27g salt.

thank you, and if i take the water amount lets say it is 65% is it 65% from the 1000 or 65% from the 1333?

650g of water or 866.45g water?

Everything is based off total flour, including water. So 65% of 1333. But don't forget to include the water contained in the starter already!

https://www.theperfectloaf.com/reference/introduction-to-bakers-percentages/

why in the explanation he takes the salt and everything based on the flour weight only and the flour that is in the starter he doesn't include it in the calculation

in our example I have the 1000g of flour and 333g of flour that is in the starter, from what he does he would take 2% out of the 1000g and then would use 20g of salt

I don't understand why in all the explanations that I found they ignore the flour that is in the starter .....

if you have a good video or written explanation I would love to see it

Use 500g of starter. What he might do is take a little starter to create a pre-ferment of 500g in which case the few grams of starter might not be included in the bakers percentages for salt to flour ratio.

Terminology can be a bit confusing. It is handy to differentiate between starter and pre-ferment (aka levain). Hamleman will do an overall formula with flour as 100% and everything else as a ratio to the flour with salt being 2%. He'll then pre-ferment some of the flour with a little starter and then use that pre-ferment minus the amount of starter he added as a levain. If it's a small amount of starter, and should The Perfect Loaf include it in the levain going into the final dough, then it won't make much difference. But to not take the flour in 500g of levain into account will knock the salt ratio out of balance.

EDIT: I have just had a quick glance at your link and it seems he does just that. If you look at the formula he talks of total flour! but then he adds in just a few grams of starter to pre-ferment some of that total flour. But what he doesn't do is

notinclude the flour within the pre-ferment as total flour.i have my starter 100g of 50% hydration starter, then I renew it with 333g of flour and 166g of water let it do its work outside and then I use 500g of this and put in fridge 100g for next time ....

so is it a levain or a starter ?, what is the difference

In your case, for the sake of keeping it simple, what you put back in the fridge is starter and whatever goes into the dough is levain.

Because you use a starter and levain in one it doesn't mean however high the percentage of the starter you use it doesn't need to be included in bakers percentages because you use it like starter.

When The Perfect Loaf uses starter to pre-ferment a levain he only uses a few grams and doesn't sweat the small stuff. But because you're using a high percentage of 'starter' you can't ignore it like The Perfect Loaf.

At the end of the day it's terminology and it's not always written in stone. But in reality that 500g you're using is the pre-ferment and should be included in the overall bakers percentages.

He actually has an explanation there about it, read it. He uses tiny amounts of starter so it doesn't matter in that case.

there are 2 ways of using bakers formula

1. count the flour in the preferment as the 100%/total flour weight

2. to not count the flour in the preferment as the 100%/total flour weight

now my question is when saying 2% in all the recipes do they count the flour in the preferment as part of the total flour weight and therefore more salt is needed or not?

Basically, all flour needs to be counted. In some situations the amount of starter used is tiny and makes no practical difference. If I make, say, a kilo worth bread with, say, 5 grams of starter, the starter doesn't really matter, I can safely ignore the flour and water that come from it.

2% salt is typical when counting all flour. Certainly when you are using such a large amount of starter in the recipe, you absolutely should count the flour and water in it.

thank you ilya this is what i was trying to understand

therefore it means that in my case and in every case you must calculate the 2% of salt from the total flour weight which also includes the flour that is in the preferment/starter/levain that you are using in the dough, and then depending on how you write your formula the % of salt will be higher or lower depending on if you include the flour that is in the preferment/starter/levain In your 100% total flour weight or not include it

please correct me if I am wrong

Correct, with a large amount of prefermented flour it is important to include it in the calculation, otherwise your percentages will be very off.

Both the same but re-written. One for overall formula and another including the pre-ferment.

Overall Formula:Now say you wish to pre-ferment 100g of the total flour with 100g from the total water. So you'll either feed your starter (for our example 100% hydration) and use or take a little starter to build and off-shoot "starter" which will be a levain.

FInal Doughincluding starter/levainTwo ways of expressing the formula but both ways has not changed the overall formula. In the final dough after the pre-ferment the starter/levain becomes an ingredient in a percentage to the flour which remains 100%. But all the ingredients, broken down, doesn't change.

Hamleman will build a pre-ferment something like this (although he normally makes it 125% hydration but for the purpose of our example)...

When that is ready he'll use 200g in the dough and keep that 20g as starter for next time.

The Prefect Loaf will do something along the lines of...

Wait for it to mature and use it all in the dough not sweating the small amount of starter used which was only 10g grams.

But if you're using 500g! of starter/levain that should be counted as part of the overall formula and the salt should be kept in ratio to the total flour including that 500g starter/levain.

10g starter is unnoticeable. 500g will be!

this has always confused me and I didn't find the answer,

what I do is always save 100g of the 50% hydration starter and then I feed it with the amount of flour and water I need depending on what amount of dough I am going to make, then I let it do its thing for-4 hours at room temp

and after that, I take the amount I need that I calculated that all will be used and there will be remaining 100g of the starter I fed which will be going to the fridge until I am going to make another dough ... I will not let the starter be unfed more than a week.

what is it that I am doing (a preferment or a levain or a regular fed starter?)? what is the difference between a preferment and a levain ?

But a levain and starter are both preferments. Essentially a starter keeps the process going and a levain is a sourdough version of a poolish.

note it has not changed the ratio's but the salt % increased in the second formula

when king Arthur say this "

"

therefore it means that in my case and in every case you must calculate the 2% of salt from the total flour weight which also includes the flour that is in the preferment/starter/levain that you are using in the dough, and then depending on how you write your formula the % of salt will be higher or lower like in your case 2.5% vs 2%.

please do correct me if I am wrong

Yes... when using such a large amount of preferment always calculate to total flour.

if you will be able to expand on the difference preferment vs levain

I will be more than glad to read it 😊

The Perfect Loaf has a section just on this.

In the link you provided he does give a written explanation:

Why don't you include the sourdough starter flour and water in the calculations?This is an important point and something I've struggled with here at The Perfect Loaf (and in my baking in general) for years: should I include the sourdough starter flour and water in my overall calculations? For a formula to be wholly correct and account for all flour and water, the flour and water in the starter should be included. However, I typically do not include them for clarity and ease of use. Instead, I treat the starter as a single, cohesive unit.

I see this as a tradeoff between complete correctness and clarity. For example, if I included my starter in my formulas here, you'd always see rye flour as an ingredient (because it's in a tiny percentage of my sourdough starter feeds). Including that bit of flour would be the correct thing, but it means strange percentages for all the other ingredients, which will lead to questions and confusion.

In the end—and maybe just for now!—I've settled on not including the starter flour and water in my calculations. This is because, in many of my formulas, my starter is included in such a small percentage that the impact of that flour and water on the total formula is minimal.

If you're a TPL Member, you'll notice in my baking spreadsheets that I offer the option to include your sourdough starter in the calculations for a dough formula if you wish to be 100% correct.

End of quote.In traditional sourdough baking, starter is a piece of ripe bread dough from the previous bake used to prepare a leaven or bread dough for today's bake. It is then taken out of today's batch to keep the same amount of ripe dough as a starter for the next bake. In many cases, it is simply the remains of the dough on the walls of the trough. They will become a starter for the next bake once water and flour is added to the trough. Thus, the starter is not included in calculations.

In modern baking, sourdough starters and other leaveners, such as yeast or soda, or other bread improvers, are manufactured separately and completely used in baking a loaf of bread. So, they are included in calculations as independent entries. Often, those ingredients contain minute amounts of flour or starch. If they are really minute, under 5% of total flour, they are not counted towards total flour in the formula.