Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Free - Creating Artisan Breads - Bread Formula Calculator

It is rare to find something good that is free that is of real worth. Traditionally in the world of business there is no free lunch unless the gift giver has a vested interest in your receiving the gift. In this case we are greatly benefited by this flour companies desire for us to buy their products. Historically food companies have been very good sources for recipes. Research and a great amount of effort are invested to encourage us to keep them afloat.

I wish I could say I have had a chance to make some of the recipes, but I just discovered this little booklet today. I am not generally a brand loyal person. But, it just so happens I have a bag of this flour in my storage room at the moment. And of course I had to use a stock photo since all of my rechargeable batteries are dead.

So, without further adieu... Here is the link to Creating Artisan Breads. Now in comes your kitchen scale and an internet scaling tool. These recipes are scaled for the commercial baker. I like this scaling tool the best. It will generate weight or volume measurements for those who are attached to measuring cups.
The other large issue is scaling the cake yeast. Tad's calculator does not yet address this. When you convert from cake yeast to saf instant which is my preference you use .33% instead of using 100% cake yeast. If you play with a conversion tool you'll understand this better. There is a little bit of water to be made up when using the dry yeast in place of the fresh moist cake yeast. But, in a small home bakers recipe it will be minimal. Nothing that can't be adjusted by feel.

From The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart, p. 32: Instant yeast is "more concentrated than fresh or active dry yeast . . . There are about 25 percent more living yeast cells per teaspoon than in an equal amount of active dry yeast, and there are three times (300 percent) more living cells than in an equal amount of fresh compressed yeast. . . It is the number of viable cells, along with the temperature and dough environment . . . that determines the rate of fermentation." On p. 60 of the same book, Reinhart says: "100 percent fresh yeast = 40 to 50 percent active dry yeast = 33 percent instant yeast" P. 61: "Instant yeast contains about 25 percent more living yeast cells per spoonful than active dry yeast, regardless of the brand . . . This is the reason why you need less of it than active dry." On p. 15 of Reinhart's book Crust & Crumb, he has a conversion chart showing how to substitute one kind of yeast for another kind. According to his chart, if a recipe calls for 1 T of fresh yeast, you would use 1.25 t of active dry yeast or 1 t of instant yeast. If a recipe calls for 1 oz of fresh yeast, you'd use 0.4 oz of active dry yeast or 0.33 oz of instant yeast. He also says on this same page: "The master formulas generally call for instant yeast, but any yeast will work if you make the proper substitution." Then, he gives the following conversion examples:
  • Multiply the amount of instant yeast by 3 for the equivalent amount of fresh yeast.
  • Multiply the amount of active dry yeast by 2.5 for the equivalent amount of fresh yeast.
  • Multiply the amount of instant yeast by 1.25 for the equivalent of active dry yeast.
If you do not find the math to convert the formulas for the home baker interesting maybe you find the methods helpful.
Happy baking or reading about baking. Wink!


  1. What a great blog! I'm so happy to find fellow bread bakers out there, especially ones who delve into artisan baking. As I come from a family of nine, I can appreciate what you're doing. I enjoy Reinhart's books - also try Maggie Glezer's Artisan Baking - really a fun read.

  2. I love Peter Rhinehart's 2001 Baker's Apprentice, and am always up for more. I'll check Maggie's book out.