Baker's percentage

The use of baker's percentages allows recipes to be scaled up or down easily. The amount of flour in a given recipe is assumed to be 100%: all the other ingredients are expressed as percentages of that amount. Baker's percentages are easier to use with the metric system of weights and measures, although they can be made to work with the imperial system.

In domestic baking, percentages are most often used when talking about dough hydration: a particular formula may be described as making a dough with '70% hydration', meaning that the amount of water it contains is 70% of the amount of flour. With a little experience, a baker will soon know roughly how doughs with different percentages of hydration will handle and behave.

It is important to remember that baker's percentages do not tell you what percentage of an ingredient is in the finished loaf. For example, a loaf made with a recipe that contains 5% salt as a baker's percentage will actually contain less than 5% salt as a percentage of the loaf's weight.

Want to find out more? Look at the chapter on proportions in the book flour and water.

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