April 01, 2008

Part 1 the Baker's Percentage

Bread is one of those things I love to bake, but in which I bake (according to my wife) in a weird way. I highly recommend for the bread afficianado the book THE BREAD BUILDERS, it will go into greater depth on some subjects I will discuss in this post.

The first part of this post will describe the "baker's percentage" and give some typical recipes using the "baker's percentage. I'm often asked, "Can I have the recipe for this bread?" My typical answer is yes and no. I can give you the recipe but unless you are familiar with the baker's percentage you won't understand or be able to use it.

The Baker's Percentage, is simply a way to make recipes using weights and ratios based on the flour required for a given recipe. Obviously, then, you will have to have a scale to follow my recipes. Frankly, every kitchen should have a scale as it comes in handy all the time. So I will give you an example of a recipe. Let's say I want to make 2 loaves for my family. I know that 2 nice loaves requires about 1400g (g is for grams) of flour.

My typical whole wheat recipe requries 70% Water, 2% salt, 4% sweetner (sugar, honey, molasses, or brown sugar) and 4% oil. So for a 2 loaf recipe that will equal 980 g water, 28 g salt, 56 g sweetner, and 56 g oil. Doing it this way may seem complicated but if and when you have to scale a recipe it becomes very simple. Say I want to make 15 loaves for church: 10,500 g flour, 7350 g water, 210 g salt, 420 g sweetner, 420 g oil. Everything scales perfectly up or down and always remains the same. Plus it is easier to remember recipes. I don't need to know how many cups, tsp's, Tsp's or anything. Simply percentages is quicker and cleaner in the kitchen. This will be part 1 of multiple parts

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