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Mmeewes 07-01-2012 08:18 AM

Bakers formula, bakers percentage
Hey guys, so I know there is a lot of talk about using a bakers percentage or formula to figure out your hydration. As I think I understand it once you know your percentages you can increase or decrease withough ruining the recipe.

I guess I just don't understand how to make these calculations. Do you include yeast and salt in the dry ingredients? How about EVOO in the wet?

For example the recipe I've been using goes:

22 & 1/2 oz. high gluten flour
1 1/2 tbs. sugar
3 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 3/4 tsp dry active yeast (converted from instant yeast)
3 tbs EVOO
14 Oz. water

Thanks for your insight guys!

Faith In Virginia 07-01-2012 09:25 AM

Re: Bakers formula, bakers percentage

This is the short answer to your question. Bakers percentages are quite easy. Take your total flour for the formula. Total flour is 100% always. So if you have white and W/W flour in the formula just add them together for total flour.

So every thing is in relation to total flour. If you have 400g flour and 200g water is 50% and 50% hydration. If your water is 300g then it's 75%

Now that is the same for every ingredient 4g of salt is 1% because it it based on total flour.

To increase things total flour is 600g then the salt would go to 6g. Se how that works?

Hope that helps...Faith

Mmeewes 07-01-2012 10:55 AM

Re: Bakers formula, bakers percentage
So if my math is right if I change my flour to grams its about 640 grams and the water is about 400 g. That being said it turns out to be about 62% hydration. Now part two of that question is, do I include EVOO to the wet, and salt, yeast, and sugar to the dry? If so would I just add those items to their respected category and then figure out hydration? I think it's still about the same

Faith In Virginia 07-01-2012 11:13 AM

Re: Bakers formula, bakers percentage
Correct 62.5% hydration.

What is EVOO?

Second part of your question is no. Hydration is only the ratio of your liquids to your total flour. So the other ingredients have no bearing on hydration.

Total liquids are things like water and milk but not oils, honey and such.

Like I said I gave you the short answer to your question. So total liquid to total flour is all you need to figure hydration.

Mmeewes 07-01-2012 11:21 AM

Re: Bakers formula, bakers percentage
EVOO = Extra Virgin olive oil and thanks for all the help!

texassourdough 07-01-2012 12:04 PM

Re: Bakers formula, bakers percentage
A fairly standard bread formula is
100% flour
65% water
2% salt
1% instant yeast (though I consider 0.3% more "normal" for retarded doughs, .7% for conventional doughs).

Oil is NOT water so it is a separate ingredient and would typically be about 2 to 5% IF used. (I typically only use oil with BF doughs and ciabattas/foccacias).

Eggs, milk, honey, agave syrup, are mostly water and are therefore counted as water in determining dough hydration. But, like oil they have impacts beyond hydration and tend to be used for effects other than hydration. Still, if you are working from a formula and decide to add an egg - for the fun of it, you would want to reduce the water by about the weight of the egg.

The ultimate test is the feel of the dough. Calculated dough hydration is not magic. Flour can vary in water content up to about 10% so a 60% hydration dough made with damp flour in Florida might be very similar to a 70% dough made in Arizona. Note: 10% is higher variation than normal which is more like 2 to 5%. Formulas only get you close. With experience you learn to know what you want.

Good Luck!

Faith In Virginia 07-01-2012 01:12 PM

Re: Bakers formula, bakers percentage
Hay Jay,
I've never counted honey...but then again most breads don't use much overall.

Thanks for adding the eggs to the list. In some doughs that is a big factor.


Mmeewes 07-01-2012 01:56 PM

Re: Bakers formula, bakers percentage
Very interesting! Thank you for your help!

And to be fair I didn't think oil was water I was more or less categorizing for liquid and solid.

texassourdough 07-01-2012 05:33 PM

Re: Bakers formula, bakers percentage
The real key to bakers percentage is the ability to scale batches to any size quickly. Hydration gives you some idea what a bread is likely to be like I indicated it is only an indicator, not a firm determinant due to its lack of precision. Water is heavily involved in gluten formation and hydration does have a lot of influence on how the dough behaves and handles. Oil can actually interfere a bit with gluten formation as I understand it but I don't find the impact significant. More that it influences extensibility (like various other dough conditioners).

One other comment...nuts are neutral - they don't tend to absorb much water from the bread, but SEEDS are a BIG deal. I find that I much prefer soaking seeds that are added to the dough so they are soaked and don't pull water from the dough. So if you add flax, millet, wheat berries, oat flakes, rye berries, rye flakes, etc. I strongly encourage you to soak them first. Otherwise you will get a dry dough.

Hi Faith! Glad to add "eggs"! For an experienced baker when playing, its about as easy to simply pull some water, add your wet ingredient, and then adjust the final dough to touch! But that doesn't work as well for someone who doesn't KNOW what they want the dough to feel like!

I think this was a really good question that lots of people don't understand very well. And I am with you 100% Faith! It is ALL flour that is 100%. I go crazy when people make AP (or BF) be 100% and then add 15% WW and then nothing makes sense because the values are all wrong and therefor don't convey info about the final dough or bread! If I do a mixed flour formula it looks something like this...
AP 80%
WW 15%
Rye 5%
Water 70%

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