Artisan Bakers bread has about one pound of yeast for every thousand pounds of flour. If you want to make a smaller batch that will fit in your oven you will have to reduce the recipe. If you think about it in percentages there is 1 tenth of a percent yeast to one hundred percent flour. Thinking first about the percentage and then later figuring out the pounds of the ingredients for the particular batch you are making will give you a whole new understanding of bread.
Since most bread is made up of only four basic ingredients, flour, water, salt and yeast, it is small changes in the way the ingredients are combined that makes one loaf different from the other. Differences in flavor can come from varying fermentation times or flour combinations. Differences in appearance can come from shaping, baking, and variations of hydration percenages.
A typical french bread formula looks like this:
flour 
100% 
water 
65% 
salt 
2% 
yeast 
2% 
total 
169% 
The flour is always 100% and the weight of each ingredient is a percentage of the flour weight. The flour will always be the magic number you need to multiply or divide.
TO FIND OUT PERCENTAGES WHEN YOU HAVE WEIGHTS
using the following formula we divide each ingredient by the total flour weight to get the percentages
flour 
5# 
divided by 5# 
= 
100% 
water 
3.25# 
divided by 5# 
= 
65% 
salt 
.1# 
divided by 5# 
= 
2% 
yeast 
.1# 
divided by 5# 
= 
2% 
total 
8.45# 
divided by 5# 
= 
169% 
notice # also means lbs. And you aren’t allowed to round the numbers
TO FIND OUT WEIGHTS WHEN YOU START WITH PERCENTAGES
using the above formula say you want to make 3 lbs of dough. Take 3 lbs. and divide it by the total percentage of the dough
3 divided by 1.69 = 1.77
this gives you 100% of the flour in lbs. The flour is the magic number. There is 1.77 pounds of flour in the above formula and compared to it there is 65% water.
1.77 lbs. flour x .65 water is 1.15 lbs.
continue doing this math to the remaining ingredients until you have a table that looks like this
flour 
100% 
1.77# 
water 
65% 
1.15# 
salt 
2% 
.03# 
yeast 
2% 
.03# 
total 
169% 
2.98# 
TO CHANGE THE TOTAL WEIGHT OF A RECIPE
To change the total weight first do the math to find out what the percentages are. Divide the desired dough weight by the total percentage. This will give you the new flour weight. (This is the same thing we did in the first section to find out what the percentages were but we’ll do it again on the previous formula for practice.)
10# divided by 173% = 5.78# (the magic flour weight number)
figure the rest of the ingredients by multiplying their percentages by 5.78#
flour 
100% 
x 
5.78 
= 
5.78# 
water 
70% 
x 
5.78 
= 
4.04# 
salt 
2% 
x 
5.78 
= 
.12# 
yeast 
1% 
x 
5.78 
= 
.06# 
total 
173% 
x 
5.78 
= 
10# 
WHEN USING 2 OR MORE KINDS OF FLOUR
the total weights of the flour collectively equal 100% . The following is an example of a formula that makes 10# of dough and uses two kinds of flour.
bread flour 
75% 
x 
5.78 
= 
4.34# 
rye flour 
25% 
x 
5.78 
= 
1.45# 
water 
70% 
x 
5.78 
= 
4.04# 
salt 
2% 
x 
5.78 
= 
.12# 
yeast 
1% 
x 
5.78 
= 
.06# 
total 
173% 
x 
5.78 
= 
10# 
DECIMALS TO OUNCES
hundredths of a pound are different then ounces. Some electronic scales will measure in hundredths of a pound but most scales use ounces. Any numbers that are to the right of the decimal point should be converted to ounces to be scaled or weighed.
There are 16 ounces in a pound.
There are 16, six point two fives(6.25) in a hundred(100)
Divide anything to the right of the decimal point (hundredths of a pound) by 6.25
for example in the previous formula:
Bread flour = 4.34#
34 divided by 6.25 = 5.44oz.
you should scale out 4# 5.4oz
To skip this extra math step use the metric system. Measuring everything in kilos is especially helpful when using small percentages of ingredients. An example is .1% of yeast. In the previous table we have 4.34# of flour. Multiply that by .1% of yeast = .004oz. In metric measurement 1945 grams of flour = 4.34# and 2 grams = .004 oz. Most scales can't weigh .004 oz but many do have grams.
STOP HERE
If this is new to you, here are some ideas for how to use this disciplne on recipes with which you may already be familiar.
 Find a recipe in a book that doesn’t use a preferment, * one that uses a straight dough .
 Measure out all the ingredients as instructed but keep them separate. Then weigh them all and start making a table for the formula, just like the previous table titled TO FIND OUT PERCENTAGES WHEN YOU HAVE WEIGHTS.
 Find out what the percentages are.
Make the bread as instructed, smelling it, tasting it, touching it throughout all the steps.
 Increase the hydration level in your formula by 3% and redo the math.
 Make the bread again and notice what differences the increased hydration made in all the steps.
 Make many different loaves of bread from different existing recipes changing the percentages around a little bit until you understand the relation of cause to effect of what you are doing.
*Sourdough is the most common type of preferment. There are several other types. One example is the biga in the following formula.
WHEN USING A PREFERMENT
When using a preferment we need to keep track of not only the ingredients that we mix (see the Final Dough column), but also the ingredients in the preferment (see the Biga column) and the amount of both when they are added together (see the Total Formula column). The total hydration in this formula would be a combination of the water and olive oil.
Ingredients

Total Formula 

Biga 


Final Dough 



# 
% 
# 

% 
# 

% 
AP Flour 
2.82# 
100% 
.23 
4oz 
100% 
2.59# 
2# 9.4oz 
100% 
Water 
1.92# 
68% 
.15 
2.4oz 
66% 
1.76# 
1# 12oz 
67.83% 
Olive oil 
.18# 
6.42% 
 
 
 
.18# 
3oz 
7% 
Salt 
.05# 
1.83% 
 
 
 
.05# 
1oz 
2% 
Yeast 
.03# 
.92% 
0.00 
1/4tsp 
.02% 
.03# 
.50z 
1% 
Biga 
 
 
 
 
 
.39# 
6.25oz 
15% 
Total 
 
 
.38 

166.02% 
5# 
 
193% 
Try this, it makes delicious pizza crust. To use this formula you first mix the ingredients in the Biga column. Mix twentyfour hours ahead, keep at room temperature for four hours then refrigerate until needed. Mix the ingredients in the Final Dough column incorporating the biga.
FINAL EXAM
fill in the following table. You want to make a 50# batch
Ingredients 
Total Formula 

Levain 

Final Dough 


# 
% 
# 
% 
# 
% 
AP Flour 
 
 
 
90.00% 
 
50.00% 
WW Flour 
 
 
 
5.00% 
 
20.00% 
Rye Flour 
 
 
 
5.00% 
 
30.00% 
Water 
 
 
 
110.00% 
 
50.00% 
Millet 
 
 
 
 
 
10.00% 
S.C.Levain 
 
 
 
starter 10.00% 
 
100.00% 
Salt 
 
 
 
 
 
2.80% 
Yeast 
 
 
 
 
 
.10% 
Total 
 
 
 
 
 
262.90% 
check your answers
