How to Work with a Formula Expressed in Baker’s Percent
Why work with a formula expressed in percent?
When a formula is expressed in percent you can tell at a glance what the proportion of each
ingredient is, regardless of the amount of flour used in the formula. Also, by using some basic math, it is
very easy to adjust the size of a formula. Once you have a formula expressed in percent, you can use those
numbers to calculate the amount of flour or other ingredients needed to meet an order or a special sale
A typical pizza dough formulation:
Pounds Ounces Baker’s %
Flour 40 100.00
Salt 11.2 1.75
Sugar 12.8 2.00
Compressed yeast 9.6 1.50
Olive oil 1 3.2 3.00
Water 23 3.2 58.00
Changing the above formula to baker’s percent.
Rule #1: Flour is ALWAYS equal to 100.00%
Rule #2: All ingredients are expressed as a percent of the flour weight.
Basic math for changing a formula into baker’s %.
Flour = 40 pounds/640 ounces = 100.00%
Salt = 11.2 ounces (11.2 ounces divided by 640 ounces = .0175 (.0175 X 100 = 1.75%)
Sugar = 12.8 ounces (12.8 ounces divided by 640 ounces = .02 (.02 X 100 = 2.00%)
Compressed yeast = 9.6 ounces (9.6 divided by 640 ounces = .015 (.015 X 100 = 1.5%)
Olive oil = 1 pound + 3.2 ounces or 19.2 ounces (19.2 ounces divided by 640 ounces = .03 (.03 X 100 =
Water = 23 pounds + 3.2 ounces or 371.2 ounces (371.2 ounces divided by 640 ounces = .58 (.58 X 100 =
Basic math for finding the weight of the ingredients if you know the baker’s % of each ingredient.
Compressed yeast 1.50
Olive oil 3.00
Step1: YOU must determine how much flour you want to use in your dough. This amount of flour will
equal 100.00%. Remember, flour ALWAYS equals 100.00% regardless of the amount that you elect to use.
Once you have determined how much flour you want to use, the amount of each ingredient will be a
percent (%) of that amount. This is just the same as figuring how much your 15% gratuity will be.
Let’s assume that you have elected to use 40 pounds/640 ounces of flour in your dough.
Based upon the above formula this is how your math will look.
Flour: 100.00% = 40 pounds/640 ounces.
Salt: 1.75% = 1.75 divided by 100 X 640 ounces (.0175 X 640 ounces = 11.2 ounces.
Sugar: 2.00% = 2.00 divided by 100 X 640 ounces (.02 X 640 ounces = 12.8 ounces.
Compressed yeast: 1.50% = 1.50 divided by 100 X 640 ounces (.0150 X 640 ounces = 9.6 ounces)
Olive oil: 3.00% = 3.00 divided by 100 X 640 ounces (.03 X 640 ounces = 19.2 ounces)
Water: 58.00% = 58.00 divided by 100 X 640 ounces (.58 X 640 ounces = 371.2 ounces)
Remember that 15% gratuity I mentioned above?
If the dinner check was $63.85 and you wanted to leave a15% gratuity the math would look like this:
15% divided by 100 = .15 X $63.85 = $9.57 (Heck, just leave a $10.00 gratuity)
O.K, now here is a fun part: If you add up the total of all of the formula ingredient percentages you will
come up with a sum of 166.25% (keep this number in mind)
Now, there will be a convention in town in two weeks and they are wanting to contract with you to provide
them with a total of 200, 14 inch thin crust pizzas for each of the three days of the convention. The question
is, how much extra flour will I need to have on hand to make all of these pizzas?
Here’s the math:
If each 14 inch thin crust is made from 15 ounces of dough, I will need to make 200 crusts @ 15
ounces each = 3000 ounces/187.5 pounds of dough each day, or 3 X 3000 ounces/187.5 pounds = 9000
ounces/562.5 pounds of dough will be needed to the pizzas for all three days.
Remember the sum total of the ingredient percentages for our formula? That number was 166.25%.
Divide that number by 100 (166.25 divided by 100 = 1.6625) Are you with me?
Now, divide the total weight of dough that you will need to make all of the pizzas for that contract order
(9000 ounces/562.5 pounds) and you will have the amount of flour that will be needed to make that amount
of dough (562.5 divided by 1.6625 = 338.34 pounds of flour will be needed to make all of those pizzas for
If you want to, at this time you could plug in 338.34 as your new flour weight and figure the total
weight of every ingredient in your dough to make sure that you don’t run out of any dough ingredients.
Pretty neat, it’s all just basic multiplication and division.
Oh yes, one other thing, No, it does not work with volumetric measures (cups, teaspoons, tablespoons, etc.)
you must WEIGH all of your ingredients.
With a little practice this will become second nature, and you will find that formulation is actually a lot
easier than you ever thought it was.