Baker's Percentages : LUSENET : Cooking & Crafts : One Thread

Information provided by Beth Hinkle:

Bakers percentages are pretty easy once you "get" the concept - which is that flour is represented as 100% and everything else is represented as a percentage of the flour. First you have to forget about using volume measurements (cups, teaspoons & tablespoons) and use weights. So in a recipe, if you use 100 oz of flour, then you would use 50% of the 100 oz (or 50 oz) of starter, 2% (or 2 oz) of salt, 9% (or 9 oz) of malt and 50% (or 50 oz) of water. The advantage to it is that it's real easy for bakers to "scale" recipes up and down to the batch size they want.

The disadvantage to it, from a homebaker's standpoint, is that often the quantities we use are so small they are difficult for us to measure unless we have a very good scale that measures in 1/20th of an ounce (.05) or even less. For instance, if you only wanted to make about 1 1/4 lbs of bagel dough, start with 10 oz flour, then apply then work back from there: 10 oz flour = 100%, so all other percentages will be based on this 50% starter = 5 oz 2% salt = .2 oz (don't know how this equates to teaspoonfuls) 9% malt = .9 oz 50% water = 5 oz (You'd actually get ~21 oz of dough) It's easy to compute when the quantities are over an ounce, harder with those small quantities we would normally see as tsp or tbls. But say you wanted to make 4 lb of bagels: 30 oz flour = 100% 50% starter = 15 oz 2% salt = .6 oz 9% malt = 2.7 oz 50% water = 15 oz (you'd have ~63 oz of dough) An "intermediate starter (firm)" would be a levain that's been refreshed once or an old dough starter. It would be a dough-consistency starter. If you maintain your starter in a batter consistency, you'd take some fully activated starter, add flour to get it to a dough-consistency and let it ferment, then you would have an intermediate firm starter. It's intermediate because it is between a freshly activated starter and the dough stage of the process.

What you would do with it is chop or cut up the dough into pieces into your mixing bowl, add water and mix them until the starter sort of "dissolves" and you are back to sort of a batter-consistency again (which he refers to as "sour slurry". Then you add the rest of the ingredients to turn it into your final dough. I've never heard of baking on boards. As I read his recipe, you would stretch and tack down burlap onto boards, dampen the burlap, layer your bagel toppings onto it, then when you take your bagels out of the boiling water you place them on the burlap covered board (top side down) and put the whole thing in the oven when it's filled with bagels. Bake on that for 4 - 5 min, then take them off the board, turn them top-side up and place on a baking stone to finish baking. He doesn't say whether the stone should have been pre-heated (but generally they are), whether you place the board on top of the stone on the oven shelf or what. As I said, I have never heard of this particular technique before. I have a friend on one of the newsgroups who used to be a professional baker, if you want I can run this by him and see if he's familiar with the technique. Marie

-- Marie (, February 08, 2002

Moderation questions? read the FAQ