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### Author Topic: Bakers %?  (Read 3301 times)

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#### tjq

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##### Bakers %?
« on: February 09, 2011, 03:33:44 PM »
Hi,

How do I calculate the baker's percentages when using a starter?

If I use 1kg of flour and 650g water, should that be 65% water?

If I add 300g of starter, how would I calculate?

Thanks!

#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Bakers %?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2011, 03:39:07 PM »
tjq,

To make the math more relevant to you, can you tell me the weight of water and the weight of flour in your starter? Also, is there any commercial yeast in your starter?

Peter

#### tjq

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##### Re: Bakers %?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2011, 03:49:24 PM »
I guess that's the problem - I don't really know. I've been using this particular starter for about a year, feeding it, splitting it, etc. I pretty much activated according to Ed Wood's directions, if that helps at all.

When I feed or activate it, it's 2/3 cup flour (KA Bread) and enough water to keep it at what Wood calls "a thick pancake batter" consistency.

After I activate, it's 1 cup flour and 3/4 cup of water added to about 1-1 1/2 cups of starter and then back to the fridge it goes.

Are there any rules of thumb or should I take care to monitor how much water/flour I feed it?

#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Bakers %?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2011, 04:40:30 PM »
tjq,

The way I approach matters such as yours is to use the following expression:

Total Formula - Preferment (Starter) = Final Dough (or Final Mix).

In order to make the above expression work, one needs to know the weights of the flour and water used in the starter in question. Usually, people learn what their starter composition is from experience in feeding the starter. If the water and flour used to feed the starter are measured out by volume rather than by weight, then the composition percents are likely to be less accurate than using weights and your final hydration may be higher or lower than you desire.

In the Appendix of Ed Wood's book Classic Sourdoughs, he mentions two cultures, a liquid culture that is about 48% flour/52% water and a sponge culture that is about 65% flour/35% water. For purposes of this post, I will assume that you are using the liquid culture. From the data you provided, and after apportioning the water and flour in your hypothetical starter to the 1000 grams of flour and 650 grams of water, I calculated that your starter represents 26.2237% of the Total Formula flour (300 grams/1144 grams). The total dough weight is 1950 grams (1000 grams flour + 650 grams water + 300 grams starter). The Total Formula flour is 1144 grams (1000 grams + 144 grams) and the Total Formula water is 806 grams (650 grams + 156 grams). The Total Formula hydration is 806 grams/1950 grams, or 70.4546%.

Using the above values in the preferment calculating tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/preferment_calculator.html, I came up with the following for your hypothetical example:

 Total Formula:Flour (100%):Water (70.4546%):Total (170.4546%):Preferment: Flour: Water: Total: Final Dough:Flour:Water:Preferment:Total: 1144 g  |  40.35 oz | 2.52 lbs806 g  |  28.43 oz | 1.78 lbs1950 g | 68.78 oz | 4.3 lbs | TF = N/A  144 g | 5.08 oz | 0.32 lbs156 g | 5.5 oz | 0.34 lbs300 g | 10.58 oz | 0.66 lbs 1000 g | 35.27 oz | 2.2 lbs650 g | 22.93 oz | 1.43 lbs300 g | 10.58 oz | 0.66 lbs1950 g | 68.78 oz | 4.3 lbs  | TF = N/A

If you study the numbers I think you will see how they fit into the preferment dough calculating tool. That tool can also be used to convert an existing dough formulation to a starter or preferment version. In such a case, the starting dough formulation is the Total Formula and one then decides what amount of starter or preferment to use and what its flour/water composition will be. Subtracting the flour and water from the Total Formula flour and water gives you the amounts of flour and water to combine with the starter or preferment to make the Final Dough.

Peter

#### tjq

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##### Re: Bakers %?
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2011, 04:57:36 PM »
Wow. Thanks! That's going to help a lot going forward.

I've been reading some of the other threads here, specifically "rule of thumb when replacing with starter" thread.

If I wanted to keep my starter rather than starting over, and get more accurate measurements going forward, can I start with a tablespoon of my existing starter, add that to 200g flour and 130g water (20% of total), let that activate, and than continue with the recipe?

Would you suggest starting with "fully active" or would straight from the fridge work too?

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#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Bakers %?
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2011, 05:28:35 PM »
tjq,

In what I posted, I assumed that you would be using a naturally-leavened starter or preferment. Would you be planning to add any commercial yeast or any other ingredient, such as sugar and/or oil? And is there a particular brand or type of flour that you would be using?

Peter

#### TXCraig1

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##### Re: Bakers %?
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2011, 07:19:48 PM »
tjq,

Like you noted above, I don't pay attention to quantities when I feed or activate my starter; I simply go by feel and try to keep it at about the same "thick batter" consistency though I don't even worry about that very much. However, I typically use only 2-4% starter (of flour weight - depending on temperature) and do a 24 or 30 hour total ferment at room temperature. At this small quantity releative to the total formula, I don't think it makes any difference if there are modest variations in the hydration of the starter.

Craig
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Bakers %?
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2011, 09:35:10 AM »
Craig,

I was trying to encourage tjq to come up with the weights of the ingredients in his starter/preferment in case at some point during his endeavors he decides to use the preferment dough calculating tool, where one of the required inputs is the percent of water in the starter/preferment. If he gets that number right, and he otherwise enters the correct data into the tool, he won't have to worry about the rest of the numbers. The tool should also help him if he decides to use large amounts of starter/preferment, like Norma has used, for example, or if he adds sugar and/or oil to dough and also any commercial yeast as part of the final mix. Over time, he may also learn how to refresh his starter culture using volume measurements rather than weights and get close enough to the consistency he needs or wants. Maybe he has already reached that point.

In his book, Ed Wood uses weights for the liquid and sponge cultures but volume measurements for the final mix, based on one cup of flour weighing 5 ounces and a cup of water weighing 8 ounces. Using the preferment dough calculating tool will do a more accurate job.

Peter

#### tjq

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##### Re: Bakers %?
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2011, 09:45:53 AM »
tjq,

In what I posted, I assumed that you would be using a naturally-leavened starter or preferment. Would you be planning to add any commercial yeast or any other ingredient, such as sugar and/or oil? And is there a particular brand or type of flour that you would be using?

Peter

Peter,

I have been, and plan to continue using only naturally leavened starter. I don't add any oil, sugar, milk, etc.
Lately I've been using only KABF, Water, natural starter, and kosher salt. I added EVOO at first, but since I've stopped, I've been having tastier dough(IMO)
I've tried Gold Medal, Pillsbury, KAAP, and a few others. I just ordered my first Caputo, and I can't wait to give it a try.
I have a standard gas oven that gets up to about 550f. I've been experimenting placing the pizza stone at various levels in the oven. I've had interesting results placing the pizza stone near the top and placing a small pot of water on the bottom. The steam from the water seems to add to the rise.

I've been making 300g 13" pies.

I've been at this for about a year. Well, actually that's not true. I've tried many times in the past, but always had terrible results. My best was English Muffin pizza

I read about sourdoughs and long, cold rises and saw a dramatic improvement when I gave it another try. I've tried IDY and had decent results, too, but I like the uniqueness and creative aspect of using sourdough.

I'm really trying to nail bakers % so I can get consistant results and be able to modify better. It's tough not knowing the actual % of my starter. So it's been all rough guesses. I'm guessing, using your calculations, I'm been using 65-70% water.

#### Pete-zza

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##### Re: Bakers %?
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2011, 11:05:42 AM »
tjq,

If I wanted to keep my starter rather than starting over, and get more accurate measurements going forward, can I start with a tablespoon of my existing starter, add that to 200g flour and 130g water (20% of total), let that activate, and than continue with the recipe?

I don't see any problem with doing that. Even without knowing the actual starter composition, the amount of starter would be so small as not to perturbate the final mix, as Craig noted in his post. I will comment further on the starter temperature below, but if you want to see a few examples of how I used a small starter quantity, see Reply 40 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2951.msg25630.html#msg25630, Reply 43 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2951.msg25809.html#msg25809, and Replies 94 and 95 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,986.msg25807.html#msg25807. I picked these examples because they were based on a similar dough ball weight (about 339 grams) and pizza size (13") as you are contemplating. At the time of those posts, the preferment dough calculating tool did not exist. Today, I would use that tool for sure.

One of the things I learned about making Neapolitan style pizzas in a standard unmodified electric home oven is that you don't want to use a very thin dough. I found that a thicker skin worked better. I also found that it was not best to use a hydration that was too high for the flours in question, and that adding a bit of oil to the dough also helped. I concluded that it was preferable to sacrifice some crust coloration to get a soft and tender crust and crumb.

Quote
Would you suggest starting with "fully active" or would straight from the fridge work too?

When I played around with starter cultures, I tried a lot of things, including using a starter culture cold right out of the refrigerator, without even refreshing it. See, for example, the post at Reply 175 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.msg12748.html#msg12748 and the related post at Reply 165 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.msg12644.html#msg12644. However, in the case of the dough described in Reply 175, you will note that I let the cold preferment (about 20% of the formula flour, much as you are contemplating) preferment overnight in order to achieve a condition that was suitable and properly timed to make the final dough. I view this approach as a specialized case that is out of the ordinary. For more typical applications, I advise using a properly fed and active starter/preferment. Of course, I would also use the preferment dough calculating tool to crunch all of the numbers, and to do so more accurately than when I conducted all of my experiments on this subject.

Peter

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#### TXCraig1

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• Location: Houston, TX
##### Re: Bakers %?
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2011, 03:25:23 PM »
I was trying to encourage tjq to come up with the weights of the ingredients in his starter/preferment in case at some point during his endeavors he decides to use the preferment dough calculating tool, where one of the required inputs is the percent of water in the starter/preferment.
Peter

Yes, that is certainly a worthwile task. I was only trying to suggest, very inartfully, that since he is using a natural starter, he might try a long room-temp ferment in which case the starter hydration is not a factor (IMHO). This is how I've made all of my best pizzas, bar none - not to say it is the only way or the best way - just that it has worked well for me.

Craig
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

#### tjq

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• Posts: 6
##### Re: Bakers %?
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2011, 11:56:09 AM »
Ok - here's my latest experiment.

My first time using Caputo Red flour.

The one kilo bag was really only 960g.

I used the Ischia cultire activated with KABF. After washing the culture, my best guess is to assume it was 10% culture and 90% water.

That I took 300g of that washed culture - (270g water - 30g KABF) and fed it 100g KABF and 76g Water for a total of 546g: 200g KABF and 346g water.

Bakers % would be 100% KABF and 173% water?

Split that (so 273g) of starter and fed 100g KABF and 140g water.

Totals:  513g of starter: 200g KABF and 313g water. Let incubate at 75% for 2 hours then at 85% overnight.

This morning, I took my 960g of Caputo, added 40g KABF for 1kg flour. I autolysed 300g starter ( 117g KABG  183g Water), 750g of the flour mixture and 630g of water - mixed for 2 minutes in KA mixer, covered with plastic wrap and let rest 20 minutes.

I added 13g of salt and turned the mixer on its lowest setting. I added the remaining flour slowly for about 10 minutes.

When I was added the remaining flour, the dough was much more batter than dough. I added another 100g KABF and it was still quite slack. I added an additional 37g KABF and it was finally starting to form a ball. I let it rest a few minutes then poured the mixture onto a dusted marble cutting board.

Kneaded by hand for a few seconds, than divided into 6 320g balls and placed each into a lightly oiled Glad container.

So it looks like my final mixture was:

1254g flour (960 Caputo,177 KABF) + 117g KABF from the starter -  100%
630g water + 183g from the starter = 813g water = 65%
13g Kosher salt = .01

The dough still felt very wet. I have heard that Caputo needs less water than 'regular' flour.

I'm going to age in the 'fridge until Tuesday and I'll let you know how it turns out.

TJQ

#### matermark

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##### Re: Bakers %?
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2011, 04:20:06 PM »
so, how did it turn out?

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