Baker's percent

Baker’s Percent


What is Baker’s Percent?

This calculation is frequently used in formulations that are almost 100% wheat flour. It is the traditional way of calculating for minor ingredients and water absorption.

Function

Baker’s % is the relative proportion of all ingredients to the total weight of flour in a formula. Baker’s % is internationally used to express formulas for baked products such as bread, cookies, cakes, scones, and most any product where flour is the primary ingredient. The ratio is also sometimes referred to as the baker’s math, or the flour weight. The basic formula for baker’s percent is:

Baker’s percent (ingredients) = (ingredient mass) / (flour mass) X 100%

The formula is fairly easy to use. For example, if a formula calls for 60 pounds of water and 100 pounds of flour, the baker’s percent would be 60% water. If there are two types of flour being used, the combination of the weight of both flours will be 100%.

Application

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). This method much easier to use when comparing recipes. By looking at percentages, it is easier to tell if one recipe is drier, sweeter, saltier, etc. than another recipe. It also makes predicting what the final product will look like easier. Most dry dough such as bagels and pretzels are 50-57 baker’s percent water, while most bread is 58-65 baker’s percent water.

Baker’s percent can be used to quickly and easily convert between batch sizes as well. Because it is all based on ratios, it is simpler to judge if the dough will be balanced as well. Lastly, baker’s percent gives an international language to the baking industry, allowing recipes to be sent consistently between countries.

Hydration, or water absorption of the dough is sometimes referred to as the water Baker’s percent (this is the ratio of the water weight to the flour weight). As in the above example, it would be 60% hydration (or the water absorption is at 60%). This is important because the hydration is one of the most important factors in mixing, and in the final appearance of the product. It is also important to take into consideration the type of flour used in the formula. Different millers have different gluten levels in their flour, and if a different type of flour is used, the water baker’s percent will likely change.

Bread recipe in baker’s % and total %

Ingredient Weight (lbs) Baker’s % True %
Flour 200 100 56.818
Water 124 62 35.227
Yeast 6 3 1.705
Salt 4 2 1.136
Sugar 8 4 2.273
Shortening 6 3 1.705
Milk solids 4 2 1.136
TOTAL 352 lbs 176% 100.00 %