You get to use all that math you learnt at school!
It’s mathematics! I know, I know, but it’s easy math, I promise! The Baker’s Formula is an easy one to remember and calculate. Serious bakers have been using a universal formula to calculate the weight of ingredients, rather than measuring with non-standard cups or scales. In the Baker’s Formula, each ingredient in the formula is expressed as a percentage of the flour weight. And the flour weight is always expressed as 100%. So all the ingredients for our bread can be weighed out in grams. This means the most important piece of equipment for a modern baker is a digital scale. Mine cost about R200 and is used almost daily.
Here comes the math stuff!
Some bakers call the formula the Baker’s Percentage. So there’s the formula and the explanation is:
Total Four Weight = Total dough weight divided by Total Percentage
Total Percentage is the set percentages of all the ingredients. For a basic white loaf it would be:
White bread flour 100%
In this case TP is 100 + 70 + 2 + 1 = 173/100 = 1,73. If you want a 700g loaf your Total Dough Weight will be 700g. So to get to how much flour you need, work out TFW = TDW/TP
TFW = 700/1,73
TFW = 405g
You will use 405 grams of flour for this loaf. Then you can fill in all the weights you need for your recipe:
White bread flour: 100% – 405g
Water: 70% – 284g (405 x 0.70)
Salt: 2% – 8g (405 x 0.02)
Yeast: 1% – 4g (405 x 0.01)
If you want a bigger loaf (I usually do 850g ones) or two loaves, you can increase the total dough weight and adjust your recipe. The formula for two 850g loaves would be:
TDW = 2 x 850 = 1700; TP = 1,73
TFW = 1700 / 1,73
TFW = 983g
White bread flour: 100% – 983g
Water: 70% – 688g (983 x 0.70)
Salt: 2% – 20g (983 x 0.02)
Yeast: 1% – 10g (983 x 0.01)
Baker’s Formula for …..
Once you understand this very useful formula, the bread baking world is your oyster! You can adjust the size or number of loaves or you can add ingredients like olive oil for pizza dough. And you can play with different combinations of flour. If your total flour weight is always 100%, it means you can make 80% of that white bread flour and 20% whole-wheat flour. Or 60% white and 40% rye – the choice is yours. As you work with this formula and do some research, you will learn that it is best to adjust the hydration of your dough (percentage water) depending on your flour or the type of loaf you are making. The best part of all of this is that you can type Baker’s Formula (or percentage) for ….. (eg brioche/ciabatta/croissants) into Google and instantly have a recipe you can adjust for your own purposes!
Here’s the Baker’s Formula for Focaccia, you can work out how much you need of each ingredient or look at my amounts for 1000g of dough.
Salt 2,5 %