determining hydration

Adam T's picture
Adam T

Hi everyone. I haven't really messed around with baker's percentages.... until now
I was wondering what ingriedients other than water you would conisder as aditions to hydration

example is a lemon current roll recipe I have
Ingredients_Weight(g)Baker's %

From looking at this recipe I would guess that butter, water, milk, and eggs would be added together to calculate the hydration. Which would then be 55.25%
Am I correct?

Thanks, Adam

9 users have voted.


Adam T's picture
Adam T 2009 May 4

the lemon is in the icing
basically replace water with lemon juice add to icing sugar and make it any consistancy you like...drizzle over top and voila!

Adam T's picture
Adam T 2009 May 4

now that I have dove into percentages.. I find it very addicting
I am using it to trim my recipes, and examine the hydration levels.
I have already corrected 2 recipes that have been causing us some troubles.

Thanks, Adam

Danubian's picture
Danubian 2009 May 20

Adam, percentages are very useful in baking. Can I make a couple of suggestions that may not be obvious initially but will add precision with yields & costing. I'll try not to get too long winded & boring. However, when you set out your formula start with the ingredients in a standard order; for instance.

Base formula 30% sourdough

ingredients                            %                  wt     

Stoneground Flour                100              15.000

Water +/-                              74              11.100

salt                                         2                  .300

diastatic malt                           .25                .0375

Total                                    176.25         26.4375

Sourdough 30%

ingredients                            %                  wt     

starter                                   30              1.350

Stoneground Flour                100              4.500

Water +/-                              55              2.475

diastatic malt                           .25              .01125

Total                                    155.25         6.98625

Bread dough

ingredients                            %                  wt     

Sourdough                                              6.98625

Stoneground Flour                                  10.500

Water +/-                                                8.625

salt                                                          .300

diastatic malt                                           .02625

Total                                    176.25         26.4375

Note: the starter is not included in the total - it is removed after the sourdough leaven is mature and ready to be incorporated into the bread dough. Removing the starter enables it to be used to inoculate the next sourdough & maintain the souordough flora characteristics through cycling/refreshing each time it is used to inoculate a new batch of flour & water. It also enables a balanced formula for easy & accurate yield & costing calculations. 

If the formula has several steps a "base formula" should allow you to calculate your production yield & material costs easily. Note in the simple formula above the "bread dough" formula incorporates the "sourdough" and is equal to the "base formula".

Then on the basis of the total you can then break the base formula into it's various parts.. If you start with the flour at the top and the water/liquid next its easier to get an idea of the liquid/hydration content which to the experienced baker such as yourself automatically has meaning. Good luck & hope this is a help. 

Danubian's picture
Danubian 2009 July 20
[quote=PeteInAz]Why do you add up the percentages?

Because the total percentage is used to determine the required flour weight to make a given quantity of dough accurately with the ability to keep a balanced formula.

See below:

Follow the process; from required bread to flour weight etc. etc.
possum-liz 2009 August 3

Just happened on this thread, in my baking notes on using eggs. I have a note saying consider eggs 75% moisture. I think milk products also slightly decrease hydration compared to using water. I wouldn't count butter when measuring hydration. It is about 20% water.


Post Reply

Files must be less than 400 MB.
Allowed file types: png gif jpg jpeg.


  • Allowed HTML tags: <p> <br> <a> <em> <strong> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <table> <thead> <th> <tbody> <td> <tr> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.