We discovered while talking with professionals and home bakers that no other area of baking is more confusing or more misunderstood than baker’s percentage — or “baker’s math.”
One of the challenges in talking about baker’s percentage to Guild members is that in the past there was not an agreed upon method to express baker’s percentage. Several Bread Bakers Guild Team USA members and coaches — including Jeffrey Hamelman, Craig Ponsford, Didier Rosada, Noel Labat-Comess and Jeffrey Yankellow, as well as Board of Directors member Abe Faber — developed a consistent, easy-to-read and easy-to-understand format for expressing bread formulas in baker’s percentage. Below is an article from Bread Lines detailing how to convert your formulas into this standardized format. Read the entire article from Bread Lines 2009 about formula conversion here.
Excerpt from Bread Lines
Vol. 15, No. 1 (April 2007)
The Demystifying of Baker’s Percentage
Contributed by Tim Healea
Why use it?
Let’s take a closer look at baker’s percentage and some of the features found in the standardized format. First, it is important to understand why baker’s percentage is so critical to success. Listed below are just some of the benefits gained by using baker’s percentage:
Consistent results. Measurements inbaker’s percent are calculated by weight, ensuring consistent results on a day-to-day basis.
Flexibility. Baker’s percentage allows you to calculate exactly how much dough must be produced to meet specific production needs, while maintaining the correct ratios.
Ease in troubleshooting. Baker’s percentage can be used to quickly change hydration levels to account for changes in flour consistency and can also be used to identify problems in a formula (i.e., if it is not balanced or if certain ingredient amounts are too high or too low).
Fixing scaling errors. A baker can use baker’s percentage to calculate additional ingredients needed to maintain a consistent formula if one ingredient is scaled incorrectly.
- Communication. Baker’s percentage is a common language to bakers. It can be used to share formulas in a concise, universally understood way — even if the spoken language isn’t the same.
Read the entire article here.