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Messing around with a calculator | Sourdough Companion

Messing around with a calculator

I have been working with a 'home-made' calculator for some time now. I have found it quite useful but then I do not bake that many sorts of bread. For now, I am only into Pain au levain, Buttermilk Sourdough Bread. I have also tried the Sourdough Bagels. First try was not so good - problem with the mixing. I am looking forward to better results on my second try soon. I do not know whether this calculator is of any use for the more complex types of bread.

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I find that I cannot upload the calculator here. If you are interested to take a look, you can find the last version [Rev. 8] at Mellow Bakers:

http://mellowbakers.com/index.php/topic,223.0.html

12 comments

Hi Gene,

I have been having a look at your spreadsheet (rev_8) and I wonder if you could clear a few things up for me.

I assume the inoculum hydration adjustment is done as part of the first build?

You add new flour equal to the stage weight of the inoculum/levain?

You then calculate the addition of all purpose flour (col F) by difference but do not seem to take any entry in col G into account.  Also in F7 you divide the value by 2.  Can you explain or are these errors?

As the three other flours (non-all purpose) seem to be variables, for consistency, the cell colours perhaps should be orange?

I also have some spreadsheets that do similar things though not as much detail in the recipe.  You can access them via my blogs on this site.

Farinam

I assume the inoculum hydration adjustment is done as part of the first build? – You are right. Fixed.

You add new flour equal to the stage weight of the inoculum/levain? – Yes. I am following Professor Calvel’s method for establishing a starter [levain chef] here even though I am not doing that at this time. I figured it was as good a method as any, and that has been very good for my levain to date. At each stage of feeding of the culture that would become the levain, on page 61 of Le goût du Pain, he recommends the addition of an amount of flour equal to the total weight of the portion of culture that has been preserved from the previous growth to produce the final starter. The weight of added water will be the percentage of the weight of newly added flour according to the level of hydration one has chosen for that particular build. I'm afraid that I may not be explaining that very well. I hope someone can reformulate all that more clearly.

You then calculate the addition of all purpose flour (col F) by difference but do not seem to take any entry in col G into account.  Also in F7 you divide the value by 2.  Can you explain or are these errors? Indeed those are gross errors. They have been fixed. Now, the way that I calculate the amount of flours for the builds is like so: I want to add the same amount of flour as the weight of the portion of starter kept (or inoculum for that stage if you will), hence J6 = C6. That is a given from which I will enter manually the amounts of the different flours that I will use for my starter, except for one. In my case, I have chosen to have All Purpose Flour as the ingredient that will make the final round up of quantities, hence a formula in that cell to round up the quantities so that their total matches the total weight of flour needed for the build [cell J6]. For someone else, it might be Whole Wheat Flour in which case the cell for Whole Wheat Flour would be the one that would contain the formula.

As the three other flours (non-all purpose) seem to be variables, for consistency, the cell colours perhaps should be orange? - I am not quite sure about this one. I'll have to re-read my notes in a previous version where I mention the colour coding. I'll get back to you on this one.

A huge thank you to you, Farinam. I am so very grateful to you for your feedback. The revised version has now been posted at Mellow Bakers.

I am now looking forward to taking a look at your spreadsheet over the weekend.

Thanks again.

Hi Gene -

the "revised version" link to Mellow Bakers appears to be broken???!!!

I think the site's owner, Paul, is doing some maintenance work there. The site should be up and working fairly soon, but perhaps not for another couple of days. Thanks for mentioning it.

I have put a copy online here. I hope this helps. Cheers!

... for your feedback. It's very interesting for me to receive this feedback. Around here, I am the only one baking bread so that it is rather difficult to test the spreadsheet. Obviously I have my own biases/limitations that prevent me from seeing the mistakes. Having a second person evaluate this stuff is just great. Thanks again. I first put up the spreadsheet a while back, but then Life struck and I was out of commission for almost two years as far as bread baking was concerned. I took it up again this January and that's when I found a couple of mistakes with my original calculations, plus I have come to a better understanding of baker's percentages (at least I hope). All of which is not what you asked.

I shall take a look at the spreadsheet over the weekend with your questions in mind and try to come up with some answers hopefully by Sunday evening. I would wish to be thorough about this. And I'll take a look at your spreadsheet for sure.

Hi guys,

 

I've been making sourdough for a couple of years and ended up making a caclulator that is kind of similar for Android phones / tablets etc.  If you're interested it can be found at:

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.bevan.sourdoughbakercalc

 

It's free as it was more of an excercise in learning how to program java and also get a handy calculator that I wouldn't have to turn the computer on for as opposed to making something to sell.  (It does have ads on it though).

 

Just thought I'd mention it in case you do have an Android phone and I'd be happy to play around with the functionality of it further if it would help others too.

 

Bevan.

Thanks, Bevan, for the link. I shall be checking your calculator as well over the weekend.

 I use cups and tsp/tbsp for measurements and not grams, most of the time I just eye it, and dont even measure exact, I haven't tried very many recipes people post on here when they are shown by grams. I have no way to measure that way. Is there a grams to cups/tsp/tbsp calculator?

You can find information here.

There's more if you google 'cup to grams'.

The trouble in converting from weight to volumetric measures is that it depends how you measure the volume - flour settling can significantly vary the weight per volume. That's why most of the recipes here are shown as weights: it's much more accurate.

The best thing would be to get yourself a set of digital scales, preferably ones with a taring function that can measure in both grams and ounces - you'll find it useful for so much more than breadmaking then.

Greetings all,

The other problem with cup (and other) measures are the variations in volume in different countries for the 'standard' measures.  In Oz, the official tablespoon size is 20ml but many that you buy in the shops are only 15ml.  In some cases there are 3 teaspoons to the tablespoon and in some cases there are four.  Cup sizes range from 237ml to 284ml.

The 'official' cup filling method is to 'aerate' the flour by stirring in the storage container and then spooning from there into the measure until there is a small surplus which is removed by scraping with a flat edge.  I have never tested the method for accuracy or reproducibility but it would be an interesting experiment.  If I ever get around to it, I will put the results up.

When recipes are posted on the recipes page, the data entry does a conversion between volume and weight.  It is only if it is in a blog that there is no conversion unless the blogger chooses to make the effort.

Farinam