What are Baker Percentages?
Baker’s percentage is a notation method indicating the proportion of an ingredient relative to the flour used in a recipe when making breads and other baked goods. It is also referred to as baker’s math and may be indicated by a phrase such as based on flour weight. It is sometimes called formula percentage, a phrase that refers to the sum of a set of bakers’ percentages. Baker’s percentage expresses a ratio in percentages of each ingredient’s weight to the total flour weight.
|INGREDIENT||WEIGHT (in g)||Baker's-%||True-%|
Baker’s-% = (Total weight of the ingredient X / Total amount of flour) x 100%
Why should I use Baker’s Percentage?
Baker’s percentage makes it easy to see at a glance the ingredient ratios and, therefore, the basic structure and composition of the dough or batter that will be obtained after mixing.
The greatest benefit to using baker’s percent is that the baker can change the amount of any ingredient at any time, without the need to refigure the percents of all other ingredients. This is very useful when formulating new products, adjusting processing parameters, and customizing old recipes to fit modern dietary guidelines.
By using baker’s percent, a baker can predict crumb structure from the dough water content or hydration. For example, 80% hydration (8 parts water to 10 parts flour) often leads to an airy and irregular crumb such as in Italian Ciabatta bread while 60% hydration (6 parts water to 10 parts flour) yields denser and closed crumb similar to American-style bread. More accurate predictions can be made when hydration numbers are combined with information on type of flour used.
There are many advantages to using baker’s percent as opposed to other forms of measurement. Baker’s percent leads to greater consistency in recipes because it is always based on weight (pounds or kilograms). Advantages of applying the baker’s percent approach include:2
- Ease and simplicity of scaling up or down formulas to meet higher or lower demands
- Consistency of results
- Quickness to correct defects in the formula (it is easier to tell if one recipe is drier, sweeter or saltier than another recipe)
- Ability to check if a formula is well-balanced
- Precision of measurement and eliminating/fixing scale errors
- Common language among bakers when comparing formulas
- Consistency in production
- Ease of calculating the water absorption or hydration of the flour
- Ease in predicting how the final product will look like