by Asad Refai
Last Updated May 16, 2018 10:17 AM

I am not a professional baker, these days I have found love in baking brown breads at home.

I want to bake a loaf of 400g, for that I take below measurements

- 300g of wheat flour
- 100g of water
- 2 table spoon of Fresh Instant Yeast
- 2 table spoon of sugar
- 2 table spoon of Oil
- 1 tea spoon of Salt
- 0.5 tea spoon of bread improver

But some how when I finish making the dough the end weight is around 600g.

What should be a measurement of ingredients if I want to make 400g of bread loaf?

If out of 600g dough I pluk out only 400g and keep it to rise, it do not rise the way I want like the bread loaf of 400g which we get in stores.

I am not an expert, either -- I'm still learning -- but what you need to read up on is called "baker's percentages."

The Serious Eats blog has a great explanation. This will help you figure out the recipe you're looking for to achieve a 400g loaf.

SCALING RECIPES USING BAKER'S PERCENTAGESBakers' percentages are very handy if you want to scale recipes up, down, and sideways. If you know the percentages, you can start with any amount of flour you want and figure out the rest of the ingredients by doing a little bit of math.

Let's try this with a real recipe.

My standard, everyday white bread recipe breaks down to the following percentages:

- Bread flour: 100%
- Water: 67%
- Sugar: 4%
- Yeast: 2%
- Salt: 2%
- Olive oil: 4%
So let's say I start with 12 ounces of flour on my scale. To calculate the rest of my ingredients, I first divide the amount of flour I have by 100, giving me 0.12 ounces. Now all I have to do to figure out the rest of my ingredients is to multiply them by their various percentages. So, for example, the water recipe is 67% water. Multiply 67 by 0.12, and I get 8 ounces (rounded from 8.04 ounces).

Do the same math across the board (rounding to the nearest 0.05 ounce), and you get the following weights:

- Bread flour: 12 ounces
- Water: 8 ounces1
- Sugar: 0.5 ounces
- Yeast: 0.25 ounces
- Salt: 0.25 ounces
- Olive oil: 0.5 ounces

ARRIVING AT A SPECIFIC DOUGH WEIGHTWhat if you want to go the other way? Say you know that you want a pound of finished dough. How would bakers' percentages help you figure out how much of each ingredients to use? First, you'd start by adding up all of your percentages. For the white bread, that's 179. Next, divide the weight of the final dough you are trying to achieve by that number to give you the weight of a single unit.

So four a 16-ounce (1 pound) ball of dough, each unit of weight should be equal to 16 ounces/179, or 0.089 ounces.

Now all you have to do is multiply that unit by each of your percentages. So flour, for example, is 100% of the recipe. 100 x 0.089 = 8.9 ounces total. Using the same math for every ingredient, you get the following measurements for a one pound ball of dough:

- Bread flour: 8.9 ounces
- Water: 6 ounces
- Sugar: 0.35 ounces
- Yeast: 0.175 ounces
- Salt: 0.175 ounces
- Olive oil: 0.35 ounces

2T instant yeast is ~17g, 2T of sugar and oil are both around 25g, 1t salt ~6g. ½t bread improver is going to be a gram or two.

So you've added together 300g flour + 100g water + ≈75g other stuff. By a pretty fundamental law of physics, mixed together that weighs 475g. Since you got 600g instead, there are two possibilities:

- You've measured wrong (e.g., you added an ingredient twice, your scale is broken, you made a mistake when taring the scale, you accidentally included the bread pan weight, etc.)
- You've got a Nobel prize coming.

As exciting as ② would be, I'm afraid ① is far more likely.

The bread rising probably has some effect on the weight—the yeast is performing a number of chemical reactions, using oxygen from the air and carbohydrates, water, etc. from the dough, and releasing CO₂—I'd guess it loses a little weight here, but I'm not sure—either way, pretty sure it's not a significant change.

When you bake the dough, of course, some of the dough (mainly the water) is going to evaporate. Not entirely sure how much. But of course you can find out by weighing the dough before it goes into the oven (remember to subtract the bread pan weight) and then after it comes out and cools. Then you can use that to scale your recipe to get reasonably close to 400g.

Personally, I'd make my first stab at it with a dough weighing about 450g. Scale down everything proportionally—and if you convert everything to weight, and use an accurate scale, that's much easier than taking 6% out of 2T (which is about ⅜t).

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