How does the baker's % work and how to use it.
I've never been really good at math, and it took me a while to understand how these freaking baker's % worked. Now that I fully mastered it, I want to help YOU understand it so you can enjoy playing with recipes, creating your own.
It is really simple, you don't need to have a degree or diploma or anything really, just an understanding of some rules to respect and a basic calculation to repeat.
Why using baker's % you may ask? Well, it's just an easier way to help you keep a consistency in your recipe, no matter the amount of dough you are making.
So here are some guidelines to keep in mind and to understand:
1) Baker's % don't stop at 100%. In fact, the flour itself should always be at 100%.
2) The salt % is usually around 1.8% to 2.2%; more than that is not necessary -keep in mind I'm talking about bread here, other products might need more than that.
3) You will need to know how much dough you'll want total in order to do the calculation for the recipe.
4) If you already know and understand the rule of 3 for proportionality and percentage, then you're already halfway there.
And here is an example:
Let's say you want to make one (1) loaf of 700g. Start by putting the percentage you want your bread to be.
80% White flour -it doesn't have to be 80% of white, could be 60/40, as long as the total flour is 100%.
20% Whole wheat flour -could be any kind of flour: Rye, Khorsan, Spelt etc...
1.8% Salt -same here, it could be 2% or 2.2%, it's you choice, your taste.
70% Water -again, it depends on taste and confidence in having a wetter dough or not. I don't recommend to go lower than 60-65% or higher than 80%.
20% Starter -as an average, I would recommend between 20% and 30% for sourdough, 0.5 to 1.5% if you are using fresh yeast and 0,2% to 0,6% if you are using dry yeast as it is usually 3 times more potent than fresh yeast.
Now that you have your recipe with the percentages you want, you need to add it all up to obtain the total percentage. For our example, the TOTAL equals 191.8%.
Here is the baker's percentage formula:
% of x ingredient X total weight = weight of x ingredient
Once you get to that part, it's really easy, all you have to do is keep doing the same calculation for every ingredient missing the weight -as showed above.
What I like to do -as I work better visually- is to set up my recipe that way:
80% white = 291.9g
20% whole wheat = 72.9g
1.8% salt = 6.5g
70% water = 255.4g
20% starter = 72.9g
191.8% total = 700g
The calculation looks like that:
80 X 700 = 291.9
20 X 700 = 72.9
1.8 X 700 = 6.5
70 X 700 = 255.4
20 X 700 = 72.9
I hope it helps you in any way. Don't hesitate to share and comment if you have any question or suggestion. :D