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Understanding Bakers %

Ben S

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Here is an example. I mixed up an 80% hydration, 2% salt from my new 100% WW starter. The final amounts look like:

500 g WW flour

400 g water

10 g salt.

The order I which I mixed:

150 g starter (100% hydration, 75 g water, 75 g flour)

400-75=325 g water



500-75=425 g flour

10 g salt

Mix until everything is incorporated. Ready for the bulk rise.

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  • 1 month later...

Can these percentages be used for any bread dough... Like pizza dough too???

Yes. If I am launching from a peel I try for 60-64% hydration. If I am baking on parchment I go upto 75%.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 years later...

Baker's Percent and Preferments

There are two different considerations relating to baker's percent when making bread with preferments. The first is relatively simple: the preferment is treated as any other ingredient. The second, figuring Overall Baker's Percent, is slightly more complicated.

Here is a formula for French bread using a poolish:

flour 40.12 pounds 100%
water 19.32 pounds 48%
salt 1.19 pounds 3%
yeast 0.72 pounds 1.8%
poolish 38.66 pounds 96%

Although there is accuracy to the percentages as they are expressed, there is also confusion. Three percent salt seems excessive, 48% water seems far too little. Of course, it is the presence of the poolish, comprised of equal weights flour and water, which makes the formula appear bewildering. It can therefore be a good idea, when using preferments, to also express the formula in terms of Overall Baker's Percent. In other words, computing the sum of all the flour, all the water, etc. and basing our percentages on the total sum.

In the above instance, we would break the poolish up into its component parts, and add them in to the proper places.

poolish flour 19.32 pounds 100%
poolish water 19.32 pounds 100%
poolish yeast 0.02 pounds 0.1%

Adding these figures in with the rest of the dough, we get the following:

flour 40.12 + 19.32 = 59.44 pounds 100%
water 19.32 + 19.32 = 38.64 pounds 65%
salt 1.19     = 1.19 pounds 2%
yeast 0.72 + 0.02 = 0.74 pounds 1.25%
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