Baker's Percentages

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by kylew, Jul 11, 2001.

  1. kylew

    kylew

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    In the Bread Builders discussion of baker's percentages, they accomodate the flour and water content of the starter in the quantities. Knowing the %hydration of the starter, the subtract the approprate amounts from the calculated quantities needed for a desired dough weight. This did not seem to happen in the Crust & Crumb sourdough I made. The bread was delicious. Is there a "norm" as to when you need to accomodate the starter when using a formula?

    I think you have all contributed to the creation of a monster :)

    [ July 11, 2001: Message edited by: KyleW ]
     
  2. thebighat

    thebighat

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    I don't have either book in front of me, but I think that C&C adds the sponge in as a percentage total, rather than breaking it down to water and flour. In other words, the formula will say preferment 63% or whatever it is, and that will be 63% of the flour weight in the dough. Baker's make a distinction between sponge and dough. Everything in the sponge is referred to as the sponge side, and everything in the dough is called the dough side. So if your professor at Kump's says, what's the flour weight in the dough side, you'd look at that column in the formula. I'd like to know more about how to calculate the flour and water percentages in the preferments,but I find it confusing.
    Just looked in Artisan Baking. She adds a preferment as a total unit too, at least in the sidebar explaining percentages. Once I got familiar with percentages I found it a lot easier to multiply formulas. For instance, I sometimes have to make French rolls for parties. I use Reinhart's French bread formula and it's really easy to figure out what the dough is going to weigh for say 240 rolls. I even made up a chart to make 50, 100, 150 200 rolls. But actually coming up with a new formula baffles me.
    I used to be production manager at a bakery where we milled our own whole wheat flour and made a line of honey sweetened breads, I think we made 19 or 21 breads in all. I would wrack my brain trying to figure out the underlying principle in the formulas, but never could discern it. That was fun for a while, but baking like that is the hardest work I've ever done. Some nights there would be three of us to mix, shape, proof and bake 400 loaves, not to mention muffins, quick breads,cookies, brownies, croissants. I'd get to work at midnight, put the key in the door, and say How much longer, God, how much longer? I was so tired one night I got out of my little pickup and staggered towards the building,when behind me I heard a crunching noise and then a big bang. My truck had rolled down a small embankment and launched itself onto some railroad tracks, straddling one of the main westbound lanes out of Boston. I went inside and called the carabineri, and you should have seen how fast the tow truck guy whipped that truck off the tracks. Trains go by there at 50 mph. They tore off the muffler, and charged me 30 bucks.
     
  3. kylew

    kylew

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    I went back to C&C and, oddly enough, you are right :). In the formula for San Francisco Sourdough he expresses the firm starter as 92.5%. He lists both a recipe and the formula. It is easy to see why, for scaling purposes, it would be easier to use formulas. MZZZZZZZZ. Silverton uses only recipes in Breads from La Brea. For my use that's fine, but for my education it is a little wanting. As for my instructor @Kump's, I don't think I am at risk for him asking me what the flour weight on the dough side of anything. This class puts the rec in recreational. The most critical, subjective, difficult thing about baking bread is when to put the proofed loaf in the oven. While we were having lunch, he moved the breads from the proofing box to the oven with nary a word! Hope the muffler didn't set you back too much.
     
  4. thebighat

    thebighat

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    I've been actually reading Her book, looking for signs of lapses in decency and taste,and I've found one. In the section on yeast, she says that when you use commercial yeast it's called the straight dough method. That's just not so. A straight dough is when you put all the ingredients in a bowl, and make a dough out of it. For that matter, her country white bread is a straight dough bread, leavened by a sourdough slurry, and retarded overnight. There's no sponge involved. I don't know if the straight dough method is modified by the type of leavening used. After all, given that there are three types of leavening, mechanical, chemical and biological, her sourdough slurry is a biological leavening, it just didn't come from the grocery store. BTW, we're having a wine dinner at work tomorrow so I have 6 loaves of Reinhart's barm in the refrigerator. I also am making that beer bread again tomorrow.
     
  5. kylew

    kylew

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    I don't have six loaves anywhere but I do have a firm starter (2 loaves worth) about to go in the fridge. Is it possible for the starter to be too active? The firm starter is supposed to be out at room temp for 6-8 hours. the room temp is 70, the firm starter has been sitting for nearly 2 1/2 hours and it is nearly doulbled in volume.

    Re Mz. Silverton, I find her tone to me very condescending, even a little militaristic. "Do it this was, exactly this way, or you will fail!" I find C&C and The Bread builders to be far more approachable.

    PS Mz. Sliverman's boy Ernest has blown his lid!

    [ July 13, 2001: Message edited by: KyleW ]

    [ July 13, 2001: Message edited by: KyleW ]
     
  6. kylew

    kylew

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    I found an intersting toy. It's a Baker's Percentage Calculator. Follow the top link on the left side of the page. Then scroll down for the link to the spreadsheet.

    [ August 16, 2001: Message edited by: KyleW ]