Techniques and Tips for your Easy Artisan Loaves

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.