Q Pizzaioli use baker’s percentage to formulate dough, but is there any way to express a sauce formula in percentages?


A Yes, there is a way to express a sauce formula in percentages. With dough, the percentages are based on the total flour weight, whereas the percentages for sauce are based on the total sauce weight. This is also known as “true” percent. To express a sauce formula, we first add up the weights of all sauce ingredients, and then divide the weight of each individual ingredient by the total sauce weight. For example:

  • Tomato sauce—200 oz. (12.5 lb.)
  • Tomato puree—64 oz. (4 lb.)
  • Olive oil—16 oz. (1 lb.)
  • Seasoning blend—4 oz.

Adding up the weight of each ingredient, you’ll get a total sauce weight of 284 oz. (17.75 lb.) Now it’s time to try a little division and multiplication to calculate some percentages.

  • Tomato sauce—200 ÷ 284 x 100 = 70.42253%
  • Tomato puree—64 ÷ 284 x 100 = 22.53521%
  • Olive oil—16 ÷ 284 x 100 = 5.6338%
  • Seasoning blend—4 ÷ 284 x 100 = 1.40845%

To check our math, we add up all of the percentages, and the total should be 100% or very close to it. In this case, the total comes to 99.99999%, which is close enough for our pizza sauce. So let’s say we want to make 70 pounds of sauce:

  • Tomato sauce—70 x 70.42253 ÷ 100 = 49.295771 lb. (Instead of dividing by 100, you can simply press the “%” key.) 
  • Tomato puree—70 x 22.53521 ÷ 100 = 15.774647 lb.
  • Olive oil—70 x 5.6338 ÷ 100 = 3.94366 lb.
  • Seasoning blend—70 x 1.40845 ÷ 100 = 0.985915 lb.

If our math is correct, the total of all new ingredient weights should come to 70 lb. or very close to it. In this case, the total is 69.999993 lb.—close enough! Just keep in mind that any changes to the ingredient amounts will require you to recalculate each percentage, allowing you to manipulate the “new” formula as necessary. 


Tom Lehmann, Tom Lehmann: In Lehmann's Terms