What is a Bakers Percentage Recipe?

A baking recipe written in percentages is a professional method of writing out a recipe that is a common language approach allows easy conversion to preferred weight unit as well as scaling of a recipe up or down. The percentages are derived from using weight measurements of each ingredient and the result is expressed as a percentage of the flour content with flour always being 100%.

Example bread recipe measured in grams

 Flour 400g Water 280g Salt 8g Yeast 4g

Example Bread Recipe Measured in Percentages

 Flour 100% Water 70% Salt 2% Yeast 1%

Using Baker’s Percentages for a Recipe

Using the baker’s percentage recipe above if you needed to make 7 larger loafs of bread each using 500g of flour you would use the formulas below to determine the amounts of each ingredients.

First we need to determine the amount of flour that will be used.

 Flour: 500g x 7 = 3500g

With the flour being 100% we will multiply the percentage, expressed as percentage divided by 100, by the total weight of flour to get the weight of each ingredient to use.

Formula:

 (   % of Ingredient   ÷   100   )   x   Weight of Flour   =   Weight of Ingredient

Calculations:

 Flour = 3500g Water ( 70 ÷ 100 ) x 3500g = 2450g Salt (  2 ÷ 100 ) x 3500g = 70g Yeast (  1 ÷ 100 ) x 3500g = 35g

Converting a Recipe to Baker’s Percentages

Flour is always expressed as a 100% thus we will be using the weight of the flour as a basis to determine the percentage of the other ingredients used.

Formula:

 (   Ingredient Weight   ÷   Flour Weight   )   x   100   =   % of Ingredient

Calculations:

 Flour = 100% Water (2450g ÷ 3500g) x 100 = 70% Salt (  70g ÷ 3500g) x 100 = 2% Yeast (  35g ÷ 3500g) x 100 = 1%

Why Use Weight Instead of Volume Measurements

Weighting ingredients is preferred over volume measurements such as cups because it is more accurate. A ‘cup’ of flour can be anywhere between 120 grams to 160 grams due to its ability to pack. Expressing the amount of flour by weight is an exact number that can be replicated. A cup of whole walnuts is far less walnuts than a cup of chopped walnuts by weight.

Weighting does have one issue for the home cook though. Sometimes you use small weights of things such as salt and yeast. For any ingredient 10 grams it is best to use the volume measurement when using a scale only accurate to 1 gram.