Tip from the Dough Doctor: How to convert bakers percent to weight measures in your dough formula

Q How do I change a dough formula expressed in percentages to one based on weight measures?

A I hear this question a lot, but I don’t mind explaining it to anyone who doesn’t understand the bakers percent. By showing a dough formula in bakers percent, we can easily manipulate the size of the dough up or down to fit our needs, whether it be for 10 pounds or 1,500 pounds of dough. It also allows us to easily and quickly scrutinize a dough formula for any ingredient anomalies that might impact the dough or finished crust.

When showing a formula in bakers percent, the flour weight is always equal to 100%, and the amount of each ingredient is expressed as a percent of the total flour weight. To change a dough formula by weight into bakers percent, you’ll want to divide the weight of each
ingredient by the weight of the flour and multiply by 100. Here’s an example:

Starting with weight measures:

  • Flour: 40 lb. (640 oz.)
  • Salt: 11.2 oz.
  • Instant dry yeast: 2.4 oz.
  • Olive oil: 6.4 oz.
  • Water: 23 lb. and 3.2 oz. (371.2 oz.)

Converting to bakers percent:

  • Flour: 100% (always)
  • Salt: 11.2 oz. divided by 640 x 100 = 1.75%
  • Instant dry yeast: 2.4 oz. divided by 640 x 100 = 0.375%
  • Olive oil: 6.4 oz. divided by 640 x 100 = 1%
  • Water: 371.2 oz. divided by 640 x 100 = 58%

Now that we have the dough formula expressed in bakers percent, we can manipulate the size of the dough based on the amount of flour we want to use. Let’s say we want to increase the dough size to 50 pounds of flour:

  • Flour: 100% = 50 lb. (800 oz.)
  • Salt: 800 x 1.75, then press the “%” key = 14 oz.
  • Instant dry yeast: 800 x .375, then press the “%” key = 3 oz.
  • Olive oil: 800 x 1, then press the “%” key = 8 oz.
  • Water: 50 x 58, then press the “%” key = 29 lb.

Note that the weight of the ingredient will always be shown in the same weight units (pounds, ounces, grams, kilograms, etc.) that the flour weight is shown in.