Most home bakers use a recipe to make bread which is made up of cups, tablespoons and other measurements. Most serious baker use a formula all of the ingredients are in one type of measurement like grams.There is a difference between a recipe and a formula. A recipe can not be expand it to make 50 loafs the proportions will not work, but with a formula you can.

So what we are going to explore is the bakers formulas and the math involved to create that formula. This will open a whole new world of baking, not only bread but anything.

The Demystifying of Baker’s Percentage

Why use it?

Let’s take a closer look at baker’s percentage and some of the features found in the standardized format. First, it is important to understand why baker’s percentage is so critical to success. Listed below are just some of the benefits gained by using baker’s percentage:

1. All ingredients are measured by weight, including liquids; they should be measured using a consistent unit of measure, for example grams or pounds.

2. The main ingredient in the formula is flour....it is always considered 100%. When two or more types of flours are used in the formula, their combined total is considered 100%.

3. The weights of all other ingredients are expressed as a percentage of the total flour weight.

4. Get to know Excel, spreadsheet programs are easy to use and can quickly calculate formulas.

White flour .........................70.0

Whole wheat flour...............30.0

Water .................................80.0

Instant yeast ......................0.3

Salt ....................................2.0

Peanuts .............................5.0

Total .................................187.3 10.000 kg

Notice that there are two kinds of flour here white and whole wheat, and their sum is 100%. Also notice at the bottom of the percentage column, we have totaled all of the percentages that make up the formula. Now we can calculate the quantity of ingredients for a 10 kg batch of dough. Although there is more than one way to do the calculations, here is one simple way:

First, calculate the amount of total flour. We start by dividing the total percentages (187.3%). by the total flour percentage (always 100%). That equals 1.873. Then divide the amount of dough you want, in this case 10kg by 1.873.

AMOUNT OF amount of dough

TOTAL FLOUR = you want (10kg)

________________

total of percentages/

total flour percent (100%)

TOTAL FLOUR = 10kg

_________ = 5.339kg

1.873

Subsequently, all of the ingredients amounts can be calculated by multiplying the percentage of each by the total flour weight. For instance:

White flour = 5.339 x 70% = 3.737 kg

Whole wheat flour = 5.339 x 30% = 1.602 kg

Water = 5.339 x 80% = 4.271 kg

Note that the quantities are rounded to the thousandth, so that when using kilograms, the formula is accurate to the gram. The completed total formula would be:

Flour .......................... 70.0 3.737

Whole wheat .............. 30.0 1.602

Water .........................80.0 4.271

Instant yeast .............. 0.3 0 .016

Salt ............................2.0 0.107

Peanuts ..................... 5.0 0.267

The calculations also work in reverse, so if you know the quantities of ingredients in a consistent weight, you can easily calculate the percentages of each ingredient. Remember, flour is always 100 percent, so just divide each ingredient by the total flour in the formula (in this case, 5,339 kg) to get the percentage of each corresponding ingredient.

Now, let's take the formula one step further and incorporate a preferment into the mix - in this case, a biga composed of whole wheat and white flour, with a hydration level of 65 percent. We will take a portion of the ingredients in our total formula and use them for our preferment. Let's say we want to use 33 percent of the total flour in the biga (1.762 kg), and for ease of scaling we will use all of the whole wheat flour, so we will need to add some additional white flour to the biga to use 33 percent of the total flour in the preferment.

We want to ferment the biga for 12 hours, and for our environmental conditions we will use a yeast percentage of 0.1 percent; because the whole wheat ferments more quickly than white flour alone, we will also add 0.5 percent salt to slightly inhibit the yeast activity. Our formula would begin to look as shown in Table 1.

Flour 70.0 3.737 Flour 9.0 0.160

Whole wheat 30.0 1.602 Whole wheat 91.0 1.602

Water 80.0 4.271 Water 65.0 1.145

Instant yeast 0.30 0.016 Instant yeast 0.10 .002

Salt 2.0 0.107 Salt 0.5 0.009

Peanuts 5.0 0.267 Peanuts

Notice that we started with the quantity of the whole wheat flour (1.602 kg) and added additional flour (0.160 kg) to make up the 33 percent of the total flour fermented in the biga (1.762 kg). Now we can use the total flour amount to finish the calculations. For instances:

Percentage of white flour = 0.160/1.762 = 9%

Percentage of whole wheat flour = 1.602/1.762 = 91%

Amount of water = 1.762 x 65% = 1.145 kg

Amount of yeast = 1.762 x 0.1% = 0.002 kg

Amount of salt = 1.762 x 0.5% = 0.009 kg

Now, we need to add the last column for the final dough. We start with the ingredients in the total formula, subtract the ingredients that are already in the biga, and we are left with the quantity of ingredients that need to be incorporated in the final mixing of the dough as shown in Table 2.

For clarity, we suggest not calculating the percentages for the final dough, because they can be misleading and confusing, especially for those new to baker's percentage. They will not give an accurate picture of the total hydration in the formula, and they will give you a skewed picture of the amount of salt and yeast in the total formula, along with the percentage of the total flour fermented in the preferment, are the most important pieces of information to understanding and evaluating the formula.

Practice, practice practice. The best way to learn baker's percentage is to use it over and over until you are completely comfortable with it. As one great baker said: learn it, use it, live it. Take a formula expressed in percentages and calculate the amount of ingredients for various batch sizes, or take a formula in a baking book and figure out the percentage for each ingredient. Baker's percentage is the most powerful tool bakers have to consistently bake quality bread.

TABLE 2 • Bread — 33 percent total flour fermented in biga

Flour ........................... 70.0 3.737 Flour ........................... 9.0 0.160

Whole wheat ................ 30.0 1.602 Whole wheat ................ 91.0 1.602

Water ........................... 80.0 4.271 Water .......................... .65.0 1.145

Instant yeast ................ 0.3 0.016 Instant yeast ................ 0.1 0.002

Salt .............................. 2.0 0.107 Salt ................... .0.5 0.009

Peanuts ....................... 5.0 0.267 Peanuts .......................

Biga ............................. Biga .............................

Flour ......................................... 3.577

Whole wheat .............................0.000

Water .........................................3.126

Instant yeast .............................0.014

Salt ............................................ 0.098

Peanuts .....................................0.267

Biga ........................................... 2.918

So what we are going to explore is the bakers formulas and the math involved to create that formula. This will open a whole new world of baking, not only bread but anything.

The Demystifying of Baker’s Percentage

*Contributed by Tim Healea*Why use it?

Let’s take a closer look at baker’s percentage and some of the features found in the standardized format. First, it is important to understand why baker’s percentage is so critical to success. Listed below are just some of the benefits gained by using baker’s percentage:

**Consistent results**. Measurements in baker’s percent are calculated by weight, ensuring consistent results on a day-to-day basis.**Flexibility**. Baker’s percentage allows you to calculate exactly how much dough must be produced to meet specific production needs, while maintaining the correct ratios.**Ease in troubleshooting**. Baker’s percentage can be used to quickly change hydration levels to account for changes in flour consistency and can also be used to identify problems in a formula (i.e., if it is not balanced or if certain ingredient amounts are too high or too low).**Fixing scaling errors**. A baker can use baker’s percentage to calculate additional ingredients needed to maintain a consistent formula if one ingredient is scaled incorrectly.**Communication**. Baker’s percentage is a common language to bakers. It can be used to share formulas in a concise, universally understood way — even if the spoken language isn’t the same.

1. All ingredients are measured by weight, including liquids; they should be measured using a consistent unit of measure, for example grams or pounds.

2. The main ingredient in the formula is flour....it is always considered 100%. When two or more types of flours are used in the formula, their combined total is considered 100%.

3. The weights of all other ingredients are expressed as a percentage of the total flour weight.

4. Get to know Excel, spreadsheet programs are easy to use and can quickly calculate formulas.

**TOTAL FORMULA % Quantity (kg)**(THIS IS JUST AN EXAMPLE NOT A TESTED RECIPE)White flour .........................70.0

Whole wheat flour...............30.0

Water .................................80.0

Instant yeast ......................0.3

Salt ....................................2.0

Peanuts .............................5.0

Total .................................187.3 10.000 kg

Notice that there are two kinds of flour here white and whole wheat, and their sum is 100%. Also notice at the bottom of the percentage column, we have totaled all of the percentages that make up the formula. Now we can calculate the quantity of ingredients for a 10 kg batch of dough. Although there is more than one way to do the calculations, here is one simple way:

First, calculate the amount of total flour. We start by dividing the total percentages (187.3%). by the total flour percentage (always 100%). That equals 1.873. Then divide the amount of dough you want, in this case 10kg by 1.873.

AMOUNT OF amount of dough

TOTAL FLOUR = you want (10kg)

________________

total of percentages/

total flour percent (100%)

TOTAL FLOUR = 10kg

_________ = 5.339kg

1.873

Subsequently, all of the ingredients amounts can be calculated by multiplying the percentage of each by the total flour weight. For instance:

White flour = 5.339 x 70% = 3.737 kg

Whole wheat flour = 5.339 x 30% = 1.602 kg

Water = 5.339 x 80% = 4.271 kg

Note that the quantities are rounded to the thousandth, so that when using kilograms, the formula is accurate to the gram. The completed total formula would be:

**TOTAL FORMULA % Quantity (kg)**Flour .......................... 70.0 3.737

Whole wheat .............. 30.0 1.602

Water .........................80.0 4.271

Instant yeast .............. 0.3 0 .016

Salt ............................2.0 0.107

Peanuts ..................... 5.0 0.267

**Total ....................... 187.3 10.000 kg**The calculations also work in reverse, so if you know the quantities of ingredients in a consistent weight, you can easily calculate the percentages of each ingredient. Remember, flour is always 100 percent, so just divide each ingredient by the total flour in the formula (in this case, 5,339 kg) to get the percentage of each corresponding ingredient.

Now, let's take the formula one step further and incorporate a preferment into the mix - in this case, a biga composed of whole wheat and white flour, with a hydration level of 65 percent. We will take a portion of the ingredients in our total formula and use them for our preferment. Let's say we want to use 33 percent of the total flour in the biga (1.762 kg), and for ease of scaling we will use all of the whole wheat flour, so we will need to add some additional white flour to the biga to use 33 percent of the total flour in the preferment.

We want to ferment the biga for 12 hours, and for our environmental conditions we will use a yeast percentage of 0.1 percent; because the whole wheat ferments more quickly than white flour alone, we will also add 0.5 percent salt to slightly inhibit the yeast activity. Our formula would begin to look as shown in Table 1.

**Table 1****Total Formula % Quantity (kg) BIGA % Quantity (kg)**Flour 70.0 3.737 Flour 9.0 0.160

Whole wheat 30.0 1.602 Whole wheat 91.0 1.602

Water 80.0 4.271 Water 65.0 1.145

Instant yeast 0.30 0.016 Instant yeast 0.10 .002

Salt 2.0 0.107 Salt 0.5 0.009

Peanuts 5.0 0.267 Peanuts

**Total 187.3 10.000 kg Total 165.6 2.918 kg**Notice that we started with the quantity of the whole wheat flour (1.602 kg) and added additional flour (0.160 kg) to make up the 33 percent of the total flour fermented in the biga (1.762 kg). Now we can use the total flour amount to finish the calculations. For instances:

Percentage of white flour = 0.160/1.762 = 9%

Percentage of whole wheat flour = 1.602/1.762 = 91%

Amount of water = 1.762 x 65% = 1.145 kg

Amount of yeast = 1.762 x 0.1% = 0.002 kg

Amount of salt = 1.762 x 0.5% = 0.009 kg

Now, we need to add the last column for the final dough. We start with the ingredients in the total formula, subtract the ingredients that are already in the biga, and we are left with the quantity of ingredients that need to be incorporated in the final mixing of the dough as shown in Table 2.

For clarity, we suggest not calculating the percentages for the final dough, because they can be misleading and confusing, especially for those new to baker's percentage. They will not give an accurate picture of the total hydration in the formula, and they will give you a skewed picture of the amount of salt and yeast in the total formula, along with the percentage of the total flour fermented in the preferment, are the most important pieces of information to understanding and evaluating the formula.

**Next Steps**Practice, practice practice. The best way to learn baker's percentage is to use it over and over until you are completely comfortable with it. As one great baker said: learn it, use it, live it. Take a formula expressed in percentages and calculate the amount of ingredients for various batch sizes, or take a formula in a baking book and figure out the percentage for each ingredient. Baker's percentage is the most powerful tool bakers have to consistently bake quality bread.

TABLE 2 • Bread — 33 percent total flour fermented in biga

**TOTAL FORMULA % Quantity (kg)****BIGA % Quantity (kg)**Flour ........................... 70.0 3.737 Flour ........................... 9.0 0.160

Whole wheat ................ 30.0 1.602 Whole wheat ................ 91.0 1.602

Water ........................... 80.0 4.271 Water .......................... .65.0 1.145

Instant yeast ................ 0.3 0.016 Instant yeast ................ 0.1 0.002

Salt .............................. 2.0 0.107 Salt ................... .0.5 0.009

Peanuts ....................... 5.0 0.267 Peanuts .......................

Biga ............................. Biga .............................

**Total .......................187.3 10.000 kg****Total .................. 165.6 2.918 kg****FINAL DOUGH Quantity (kg)**Flour ......................................... 3.577

Whole wheat .............................0.000

Water .........................................3.126

Instant yeast .............................0.014

Salt ............................................ 0.098

Peanuts .....................................0.267

Biga ........................................... 2.918

**Total ........................................ 10.000 kg**