Fat Daddio's

What is Baker’s Percentage? How exactly can this help you in you the kitchen?

Have you ever tried to scale a recipe up or down with terrible results? Most recipes cannot be simply doubled or tripled or cut in half, etc… you need to make sure that when you change an ingredient, all of them are changed to be the correct balance as the original recipe. 

There are two types of percentages. Total percentage and Baker’s Percentage.

Total percentage is calculated based on the total weight of all the ingredients in the recipe or formula. When added together, the total weight is 100%.

Baker’s Percentage is when the quantity of each ingredient is expressed as a percentage of the total amount of the flour used in the formula. The flour in the formula is always 100%. You will usually use this method for cakes, cookies, and breads. Generally, Baker’s Percentage is used when the primary ingredient is flour.

For an example, I will use this Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.

Note: Switching your recipes to either grams or ounces will work best.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Yields: 24 cookies – 29 grams each

Sugar, 75 grams37.5%
Brown sugar, 100 grams50%
Butter, 100 grams50%
Salt, 3 grams1.5%
Eggs, 50 grams25%
Flour, 200 grams100% (in Baker’s Percentage, we know that flour is 100%)
Baking Soda, 3 grams1.5%
Chocolate chips, 170 grams85%
Total weight: 701 gramsTotal Percentage: 350.5%

Now that I have probably confused you, let me break it down. The reason that Baker’s Percentage is an important tool to any baker is, it allows us, to know some things immediately about the result of the baked item. For example, a cookie that is high in fat in relation to the flour content, will have a crumblier pastry than one that is lower. Breads made with flour, water, salt and yeast will have a crispier crust. When even a small amount of fat is added, the loaf will be more tender and have less crisp to the crust. Once you get used to writing your recipes like this, it is easy to adjust them. Meaning increase or decrease the recipe/formula accordingly. Using the percentage gives you more precise measurements, ensuring that our finished baked product will be just as good whether you scaled up or down the recipe/formula.

Let us look at our cookie recipe again.

I want to make this recipe bigger. Let us say, I need to make 72 cookies.

Step 1 – Determine the new yield needed. Converting the recipe into ounces or grams will ensure accuracy.
Step 2- Divide the total Baker’s Percentage from your original recipe by 100 to get the Baker’s Percentage conversion factor for your formula.
Total Baker’s Percentage /100 = B.P. conversion Factor
Step 3 – Divide the new formula yield by the B.P. conversion factor.
New formula Yield/B.P. Conversion Factor= Quantity for new formula.
Step 4- Calculate the quantity of the other ingredients required by multiplying the Baker’s Percentage for each ingredient by the new flour weight.

72 x 29 grams =2088 grams                                             
350.5 / 100 =3.5 (this is the B.P. conversion factor) 
2088 /3.5 =596.5 (round up to 597 grams) flour

Here is the new recipe.

Sugar597 x 37.55223.875 (224 grams)
Brown Sugar597 x 50298.5 (299 grams)
Butter597 x 50298.5 (299 grams)
Salt597 x 1.59 grams
Eggs597 x 25149.25 (149 grams)
Flour2088/3.5597 grams
Baking Soda597 x 1.59 grams
Chocolate Chips 597 x 85507.45 (508 grams)

You can use the same formula to decrease or scale down a recipe as well. Let’s again use this same cookie recipe to determine how much I need to make 12 cookies.

Yield: 12 cookies – 29 grams each

29 x 12 =348 grams
350.5/100 = 3.5 grams
348/3.5 =99.42 grams flour. You can round up to 100 grams

Here is the new Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.

Sugar37.5 x 10037.5 (38 grams)
Brown Sugar50 x 10050 grams
Butter50 x 10050 grams
Salt1.5 x 1001.5 grams
Eggs25 x 10025 grams
Flour100 grams100 grams
Baking Soda1.5 x 1001.5 grams
Chocolate Chips100 x8585 grams
  Total Grams: 350 grams

Hopefully, you can see that by using the Baker’s Percentage, you can achieve a more accurate recipe that will ensure you the same results each time. If you have many old family recipes on hand, you may want to take some time to convert them to ounces or grams. This will allow you to efficiently increase or decrease the size or your batches. Once you play with this a little, you will see how easy it can become. Being able to glance at a recipe and know what the texture and finish will be can greatly help you in becoming a more confident baker.

If you are an at-home baker and sell your products, this can be the best tool in guaranteeing the consistency of them. This is a great method to ensure you will have the same product each time.

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