Artisan Breads 1..2..3..      
                Techniques and Tips for your Easy Artisan Loaves
The Baker’s Percentage

Professional bakers often track their bread ingredients as a percentage, rather than by the
raw weight or volume.  Expressing recipes (or “formulas”  as the pros call them) this
way helps make it easy for bakers to scale the number of loaves or servings up or down
or compare hydration levels and ingredients.  The Baker’s percentage is not quite as
useful to the home baker since home bakers don’t make more than a few loaves at a
time and most home baking recipes are formulated by volume, not by weight or
percent.   However, understanding how a baker’s percentage is calculated will help you
better assess the hydration of your dough and will help you when bakers talk about their
breads.

The Baker’s percent is the ratio of an ingredient to the amount of flour (by weight)  in a
given recipe.   Lets say a dough recipe calls for 800 g of flour.  800 g is considered to
be 100% and if the recipe calls for 400 g water, then the baker’s percent of the water
would be 400/800 or 50%.

In calculating the amount of total flour, all the flours are combined.  In other words, if a
recipe calls for 400 g of bread flour and 100 g of rye flour, the total amount of flour is
considered to be 500 g and 500 g is set at 100%.  To calculate total hydration in the
Baker’s percentage, water from all sources in the dough such as sourdough starter,
eggs, and honey must be considered.

Remember, when calculating a Baker’s percentage,  the weight of the flour(s) is set at
100%, and the total weight of the dough is not set at 100%.  This means that if you total
up the percents of all the ingredients, you will not get 100%.  Also, the amount of a
certain ingredient may be said to be 20%, however,  remember that this is 20% of the
weight of the flour, not 20% of the weight of the dough overall.  Remember also, that
this is a weight based system, and the percentages do not apply to volume ratios.