Baker’s percentage: scaling recipes up and down the accurate (and easy) way

You know how sometimes you’re baking, and all of a sudden you feel the urge to say some very bad words?

Like when the pumpkin filling slops onto the floor as you juggle the pie on its way to the oven.

Or you set the timer for just 2 more minutes, to give those brownies a crisp edge – then go outside to get the mail, run into a neighbor, get chatting and, well… bad words are definitely said as the acrid smell of burned brownies fills the kitchen.

I have a pie crust recipe I’ve loved for years, but it’s always been just a tad… too… small for my favorite pie pan. Many’s the time I’ve said [bad words] while trying to roll the crust just a tiny bit larger – causing it, of course, to stick, tear, or both.

Baker's percentage via @kingarthurflour

Some people like making delicate, thin pie crust; I prefer a more substantial crust, one that’s A) easier to work with, and B) doesn’t simply become inconsequential under its load of bubbling berries.

And this crust recipe – well, I could barely roll it wide enough for my 9″ wide, 1 1/2″-deep pie pan

Baker's percentage via @kingarthurflour

…let alone make any kind of stand-up crimped edge. I mean, if you’re going to make a crimped edge, MAKE one.

Then one day (as my 5th grade teacher Miss Kellam would have said), “Light dawns on Marblehead!”

Why not make the crust a bit bigger?

I don’t need a new recipe; I love the crust. I just want more of it – not “double” more, just a little bit more.

Baker's percentage via @kingarthurflour

The challenge: increase the size of the crust without changing the balance among its ingredients. I like the mix of butter and shortening, the “just enough” ice water that yields delicacy rather than cardboard-y hardness.

The solution: baker’s percentage, a.k.a. baker’s weights (or baker’s math).

Percentages? Math? What does this have to do with flour and butter and a wonderfully flaky pie crust?

Lots, as you’ll soon see.

Now, don’t click out of here; I’m not going all math-y on you. This is simple, once you get the hang of it. And pretty soon you’ll be making 17 muffins instead of 12, five biscuits instead of 15 – using just a couple of basic calculations.

Let’s take a look at a typical pie crust recipe and see how this works.

 

iphone-mockup

This is the beginning of our Classic Single Pie Crust recipe. You’ll notice I’m looking at the recipe not in volume, but in grams; baker’s percentage is all based on weight, not volume, so you’ll need a scale to try this at home.

And why grams? Grams are MUCH easier to calculate percentages with than ounces and fractions of ounces.

Baker's percentage via @kingarthurflour

1. Start with the weight of the recipe’s flour.

Flour is pegged at 100%, and everything else is viewed as a percentage of flour. In our pie crust recipe, flour weighs 177g.

2. Compare the weights of the other ingredients to flour.

To determine the percentage of the other ingredients, divide each one by the weight of the flour (177g), then multiply the result (which is in decimal form) by 100 to convert it to a percent:

• The shortening (46g) is 26% of the flour, by weight: (46 ÷ 177) x 100 = 26%
• The butter (71g) is 40% of the flour, by weight: (71÷ 177) x 100 = 40%
• The water (using the lesser amount, 43g) is 24% of the flour, by weight: (43 ÷ 177) x 100 = 24%

Baker's percentage via @kingarthurflour

3. Scale the recipe up (or down).

The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of our unbleached all-purpose flour. Let’s say I want to increase that amount to 1 2/3 cups flour; I think that little bit extra flour is just the cushion I need to make the size crust I want.

The weight of 1 2/3 cups of flour is 201g (as calculated from our online ingredient weight chart, a super resource when you’re measuring by weight). Let’s see what the increased weights of the rest of our ingredients will be:

  • Shortening (26% of flour weight) = 52g.
  • Butter (40% of flour weight) = 80g.
  • Water (24% of flour weight) = 48g.

Now, that’s not so hard, is it?

But what about the salt, you say? Since it’s such a small percentage of the flour weight, I tend to salt to taste; I’d increase the salt by maybe 1/8 teaspoon, or a big pinch.

And what happens when a recipe you’re making includes eggs – which aren’t measured by volume at all, but by units? Well, a large egg weighs about 50g out of its shell – so take it from there.

Once you stop thinking in units or volume, and start thinking (and measuring) in grams, scaling recipes up and down becomes quite simple.

Baker's percentage via @kingarthurflour

And the results quite sublime!

Note: For a more detailed explanation, check out baker’s percentage on our professional site.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Alice Lewis

    Going by what others have tried to tell me I have struggled trying to learn bakers math for a long while.
    The way you have just explained it this Marblehead finally got it. Thank you

    Reply
  2. Garrett H

    This is a Gestalt moment! Aha. Why didn’t I think of that. It makes so much sense. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  3. sandra alicante

    YAY! At last! I can’t believe it has taken this long for someone to admit that grams are the way to go! It’s bad enough in the UK, having pounds and ounces but having cup measures as well drives me up the wall. Why is it seen as so hard to use a pair of electronic scales? Yes, back in the day when we (or in my case, my mother) had lead weights and balance scales, it was a bit of a pain, but electronic ones are a doddle!

    Reply
  4. Joyce

    Thank you so much for taking the time to offer this information to me and everyone who will read this. You have clarified the math and that is wonderful. I think I can do this…..

    Reply
  5. Paul M

    Great explanation, clear, concise and easily understood. Whether using baker’s math, converting your recipes to be weight rather than volume/unit based will give you infinitely more repeatable. I just received an email from kingarthurflour.com with several scales advertised. One of them was the MyWeigh 7000 (an excellent scale). The next step up is the MyWeigh 8000 which actually has Baker’s Math mode built in. You enter your ingredients and percentages, put your work bowl on the scale and start weighing. The scale indicates when you have added enough of each ingredient. No arithmetic involved.

    Reply
    1. Martin Thompson

      Paul, I too have the 8000 with bakers% built in. Its wonderful. If you only have a fraction of a bag of flour left, dump it in the scale set it as 100%, and no matter what it weighs the bakers% allows you to add the coirrect amount of other ingredients.
      They should stock that scale at KAF, and also ALL of their recipes should have the Bakers% added.as well as weights.

  6. Diana

    I appreciate your taking the time to teach us the basics of baking percentages. You certainly are down to earth and honest concerning baking problem areas you and have corrected them. Love your posts.

    Reply
  7. Denisé

    I love you PJ Hamel!
    I started out in English lbs & ozs, cups, pints et al. When Zimbabwe metricated, I had to learn grams kilograms, litres etc. and convert everything. Arrived in the U.S. 36 years ago and back again to lbs & ozs America-style–with some slight differences.
    Finally back to metric…I’ll probably get dumped on so won’t write what I’m thinking, but why aren’t we on the metric system here? Our money is!
    Did I tell you that I love you, PJ Hamel?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Denisé, so happy we could help with your multi-national conversion conundrum! And I LOVE that you took the time to share here – 🙂 PJH

    2. Doris Mehlberg

      Count me in on wanting to be on the metric system. It is so easy to think and calculate in metric.

  8. EL

    The explanation is great. I don’t think that I really had taken in that flour = 100% previously when doing this (for my Ken Forkish sourdough). Now that I know that, it will make everything easier. And I have always tried to do grams as that is easier too.

    Now I only have one question: Was the 1 and 2/3 cups flour enough? Did your pie crust work? I’m guessing from the pics that it did.

    Reply
  9. Kirsten Surber

    Thank you so much for this post! I will definitely use this method to scale up some of your bread recipes to fit into a 9×5 inch pan. We like big sandwiches in this house. Your blog has helped me and entertained me during many of my toddler’s long naps – like the one she seems to be taking now. I hope the dog doesn’t bark any time soon so I can keep reading! Thanks again for your great posts.

    Reply
  10. Granann

    I’ve used this for bread and rolls mostly for scaling up. Does it work for cakes and pastries? I’m not too adventurous in those areas. I’d like to scale them down to smaller quantities sometimes.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi there,
      Yes, Baker’s math is used for all different types of recipes, including cakes, cookies, etc. ~ MJ

  11. Dru

    Is there any reason why this would not work with gluten-free flours? Even my math challenged brain seems to think the answer would be “no”.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      The basic math would still remain the same regardless of type of flour, and then you’d tweak the recipe from there to adjust texture, consistency, etc. ~ MJ

    2. Stephanie

      Absolutely! I use weight to convert standard recipes to gluten-free (and dairy free) all the time. If it’s a good recipe, it usually works fine. It’s also great for gluten-free recipes where I want to use a different combination of flours – as long as the ratio is the same, most flours substitute well. Usually I use 50-80% whole grain flours with the rest as starch or white rice.

  12. Susan

    Thank you so much for the explanation, PJ! I read about baking percentages once a long time ago in a bread recipe book (I forget which one), and it made my eyes cross, it seemed so confusing. But your explanation made perfect sense! Now I just need to take some of my favorite KA recipes (I’m mainly thinking rolls, here!) and make some bakers percentage notes in the margins.

    Reply
  13. Sandi E.

    Oh wait a minute – I posted my compliment too soon. I re-read the post and I’m confused! I understand that using the first example, the shortening is 26% of the original weight of the flour. But where’s the “math” to calculate the amounts needed, once you increased the flour to 201 grams? What do I divide by 201 to know how much to increase the other ingredients? Thanks and yes, I did struggle through high school and college math!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Sandi, once you know that shortening is 26% of the weight of the flour, it’s always 26% of the weight of the flour. So multiply the 201g by .26 (26%) to get the new weight of the shortening. PJH

  14. Gail Ogden

    This makes so much sense. Thank you for sharing and helping all of us out. Now my scale can serve mush more useful purposes.

    Reply
  15. Juliane

    *Nods in agreement*
    My elementary math teacher taught us how to do this using Cross Products Test and it’s probably the skill I’ve most used (I use it daily) from math class. 🙂
    Thank you Joan Richards for preparing us well! Best Math Teacher EVER!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      A good elementary/middle school math teacher gives us skills we’ll use for a lifetime. Thanks to my 8th-grade math teacher for giving me the geometry to know how to figure out baking pan volumes! PJH

  16. sandy

    I just started using a scale for measuring out flour for my baking. I love it…so fast and easy. I have seen that different brands of flours (KAF AP versus Gold Medal AP for example) have different weights. How do I convert a KAF recipe that gives the weight for using KAF all purpose flour to use the all purpose flour I happen to have in my pantry? (I would like to always have KAF but sometimes I don’t and have to use another brand). There are some websites on the internet that give weights per cup of all of the national brands. I don’t know if they are accurate or not and it appears that there is a great deal of variation with KAF all purpose being one of the heaviest of the all purpose flours. So far I have just used the weight in the recipe with whatever AP I have, but don’t feel comfortable that I am doing the right thing. Help.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If the recipe you’re following is a KAF recipe, consider using slightly more of your flour for the recipe (a tablespoon or two). You’ll be able to make the best determination if you’ve made the recipe before, as you’ll know what the dough should look like before you bake it – and you’ll know what to expect from the baked results. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

    2. Jason Brown

      I don’t see my first post showing, so I’ll post again. Sorry if any of this appears twice.

      You replied on here that KAF brand all-purpose flour is one of the heaviest all-purpose flours. Really? Based on my (though limited) research, it seems to be one of the lightest. I’ve consulted with several flour companies and websites and obtained the following results, in grams per cup:
      King Arthur website: 120
      King Arthur bag: 120
      General Mills Contact Us email: 130
      Gold Medal bag: 120
      Betty Crocker Contact Us email: 130
      Pillsbury Contact Us email: 124
      USDA website: 125

      IF this is true. IF King Arthur Flour all-purpose is LIGHTER than other flours, then shouldn’t you use slightly LESS of another brand’s flour when following a KAF recipe? But are these numbers even true? Is KAF all purpose flour the heaviest?

      This all begs the question: What are the real numbers, in grams per cup? Depending on how it’s measured –scooped and leveled, spooned and leveled, not leveled at all, packed or loose- and depending on the brand –Gold Medal vs King Arthur vs White Lily vs some other brand- you can get wildly different results. However, nearly every recipe published in the USA has flour by the cup rather than by grams. It seems like the latter would be far more consistent. If only measurement by weight was the standard in this country. No one can agree on what a cup is or how to measure a cup, but a gram is a gram is a gram.

      Please, your help is welcomed. Thanks!

    3. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Jason,
      You’re correct, there is no standard weight for a cup of flour in baking. It will depend on the baker, the method used, etc. The weight of flour from the nutritional panel is set at 30 grams per the FDA guidelines. That being said, the differences in weight listed above really only vary by about a teaspoon or two per cup when you get down to the nitty gritty, it’s the fact that it adds up over multiple cups that makes for difficulty. So, we’d still say weigh your ingredients for accuracy, using the weight given by the recipe writer whenever possible. Baking; It’s a science, it’s an art, and sometimes, it’s just a leap of faith and a little magic. ~ MJ

  17. Linda

    ? If I know the grams of a cup, does it matter what type of flour I put in the cup? I make sourdough cinnamon rolls and like the hint of some coconut flour and the fiber of white whole wheat. I use about 1/4 cup in the bottom of a 1cup measure and fill with white whole wheat (I’ve been using oz) Then use AP for the remainder of the recipe. Would I just “measure” until the grams for 1cup is correct?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Linda, different types of flour weigh different amounts per cup, and different types of flour can also perform quite differently in a recipe. On such a small scale (1 cup of flour) your method probably works just fine, but if you’re planning to increase a recipe significantly I would not recommend measuring this way. It’s important to take into account the different properties of each flour when making substitutions. Here’s a link to our handy ingredient weigh chart to give you an idea of the weights of different types of flour. Barb@KAF

  18. Ginny S

    I see how this works. Thank you for posting. I had learned this before, but never quite understood it. Now that I do, how do you scale a recipe that doesn’t include flour? i.e. frosting, flourless chocolate cake, creme brulee, etc.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Ginny, flourless recipes aren’t really suitable for using baker’s percentage. Your best bet in those cases is to multiply the weight of each ingredient by the amount you want to increase/decrease the recipe by. For example, if you wanted to decrease the recipe to 2/3 the size, you can simply multiply the weight of each ingredient by .66. Barb@KAF

    2. MAG

      This is exactly what you are doing with this recipe, though. It’s just a simple ratio. You increased the flour to 1.136 times the original flour, and then scaled all the other ingredients by the same ratio (I tested your math to see). You did a lot of complicated math for a fairly simple problem. The only ingredient that doesn’t easily scale in this manner is eggs (unless you want to break an extra, beat it, and measure from the beaten egg). You seem to have made this much more complicated than it needs to be, unless there is something that I am missing.

  19. Linda Morehouse

    PJ
    This looks great but I have a problem with the basic assumption.
    Flour changes weight with climate and altitude. My flour is MUCH lighter than yours. I live at 4500 ft in Colorado. The climate here is considered desert.

    So, let’s establish what 1 cup of your flour would weigh. I can then compare what 1 cup of my flour weighs and make adjustments as needed!

    Thanks!

    Linda M

    Reply
  20. Jeff

    This is great for most ingredients…do you have a magic formula for leaveners? Scaling yeast or baking soda doesn’t work when done on a straight percentage?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jeff, technically you can scale the leavening agents with a percentage if you have a weight amount. Since using baker’s percentages allows you to keep the proportion of ingredients the same, whether it is a large or small recipe, the leavening agents should perform the same. The issue with salt/yeast in smaller recipes is that they’re often listed in volume amounts that are too small to weigh accurately on a home scale and can’t, therefore, be listed as a percentage. Also, sometimes we advise home bakers to be careful when multiplying the yeast amount because a larger amount of dough may be difficult to handle in a timely way. Increasing the yeast to a smaller degree can slow down the dough and make it more manageable. Barb@KAF

  21. Stan

    How do you treat the quantity of sourdough starter in a recipe? Do you just reduce that by % with the flour or use a ratio of starter to flour?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Stan, if your using baker’s percentages to increase or decrease the recipe, you would consider the starter as a percentage of the flour amount. The starter itself would also be broken down into component parts, with each listed as a percentage of the flour amount in the starter, so that once you knew the overall weight required for the new starter, you could figure the weight of each ingredient according to the percentages. This gets into more advanced baker’s percentage math, so check out our more detailed information. Barb@KAF

  22. Stephen

    I wonder if you would post the Baker’s percent for the KAF French-Style Country Bread.

    Since there are three flour measurements (two in the starter and one in the dough) I am uncertain as to the percentages.

    Thanks

    Stephen

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Stephen, recipes with a starter can be expressed in two ways with baker’s percentage: with the starter percentages listed separately and the percentage of the entire starter reflected as a percentage of the flour in the overall formula, or with the overall formula figured with the flour and water amounts from the starter added to the amounts in the main part of the recipe. This link provides a more in depth view of baker’s percentage, including an example of a recipe with a starter. The first method is necessary when increasing or decreasing a recipe, but the second method gives you a better idea of the water/flour ratio. IF we figure baker’s percentages using the first method then the flour = 447g= 100%, starter = 404g = 90%, water =227g= approximately 51%, sugar = 14g = 3%. If we look at the total recipe amounts (including the starter amounts) and add the wheat and bread flour amounts as all part of the flour amount, the percentages for this recipe are: total flour = 624g = 100%, total water = 454g = 73%, sugar = 14g = 2.2%. I used the lower amount of flour mentioned in the recipe for these figures. Because the salt and yeast are not listed as weights and it’s difficult for home scales to be accurate at that small of a weight, you’ll have to figure the yeast and salt by multiplying these volume amounts by the amount you want to increase or decrease the recipe. Professional bakers, who use much larger formulas, would also express the yeast and salt as a percentage of the flour amount. Barb@KAF

  23. Lonestar Jack

    PJ
    Maybe the egg calculations could be calculated by using ambient temperature whisked eggs.
    I always use Jumbo AA eggs whereas the recipe might be published using medium eggs.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The weight of eggs is determined by a dozen eggs, not an individual. A dozen jumbo eggs, weighing 30 ounces, would mean that each egg- out of its shell- would average 2 1/2 ounces. Large eggs would weigh 24 ounces per dozen (2 ounces), and medium eggs weigh 21 ounces (1 3/4 ounces each). Just to keep it simple, we use only large eggs when testing any recipes. Time to get cracking! Laurie@KAF

  24. Felisha

    Thanks for the explanation. I would like to try it to scale down recipes like cupcakes or muffins. Would I need to adjust the baking time down or just check at the minimum baking time?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Felisha, if you’re baking fewer muffins or cupcakes they will bake a bit more quickly, so check earlier than the minimum time and then adjust your timer accordingly. Barb@KAF

  25. Chris

    Now see, rather than work all that out, I’d have made double the pie crust dough and rolled the excess dough out and made pie crust sticks with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on them….

    Reply
  26. Prairiegirl

    Why can’t this be broken down into printable form? I’ll never remember these instructions when the need should arise. I’m just old & forgetful!
    Thanks!

    Reply
  27. Lucy

    This is simply wonderful! Just wish there was a way to save the post to Pinterest or…
    Love using metric, started when living in Japan and never looked back.
    KAF is the best!

    Reply
  28. Foon Lam

    Wow. Thanks for the great tip. I will try and apply it the next time I need to scale a recipe.

    Reply
  29. Sharon K

    PJ, you are brilliant!! There have been times when I’ve thought my algebra teacher would be so proud as I painstakingly worked out recipes proportions – cross-multiplying fractions, solving for x, etc… but your method is so much easier!! Now if we could just see some baking pan equivalents; i.e., if the recipe calls for a 8″ square pan, but I want to make it in a 9×13″ pan, by how much do I need to increase each ingredient?

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Sharon, for that one, it’s a question of square inches. The height of the side walls of the pans are the same, which is important. an 8 x 8″ pan is 64 square inches; a 9 x 13 pan is 117. If you double the 8″ x 8″ recipe, there’s only a difference of 11 square inches between the two; I can tell you from experience (and if you compare amounts in some of our published recipes) that doubling an 8″ square recipe works just fine in a 9″ x 13″ pan. It may be a tiny bit thicker, but we’ve never had any trouble. Susan

    2. Cheryl Cabral

      What about tripling a recipe that is baked in an 8×8 pan? I have a cheesecake squares recipe that I would like to adjust.

    3. Susan Reid

      Depending on how deep you want them to be, Cheryl, a half sheet pan will usually accommodate an 8″ x 8″ recipe tripled. Susan

  30. Doug Doescher

    After reading this article, I was looking at your Weight of Ingredients chart. You might want to check the weight of sliced apples. It looks like it should go on a diet.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Doug, I see what you mean! I’ll point this out to our web team. Thanks for the correction! Barb@KAF

  31. Atalanta

    I have a pound/kg scale and a ounce/gram scale. I’ve taken to doing baking by weight after reading (either here or Serious Eats) how much different a cup of flour can weigh depending on whether you scoop or spoon it. When I saw that, I started pulling out ye olde digital scale and started converting recipes to weight. I already was using the gram scale for making infusions since the different spices are, at most, 100 grams.

    What I will often do is find the lowest common denominator and then convert the recipe to parts. But this “baker’s percentage” thing might be an easier thing to use – as opposed to 14 teaspoons of something. 😉

    Reply
  32. Moshi

    Thank you so much for this article! I usually guess, and of course, well I’m sure I don’t have to say what usually happens. It seems about 90% of my cooking bookmarks point to something on the King Arthur sight. Greatly appreciative for you sharing so many wonderful recipes.

    Reply
  33. Ricardo Neves Gonzalez - Petrópolis, RJ Brazil

    Baker´s Percentage is always a good choice when we look for uniformization of our doughs! Really such important theme discussed here in high level is one thing all we readers of KAF blog wait!
    Perfec…!! Congratulations!

    Reply
  34. Linda Taylor

    Everything I bake has to fit into pans that fit inside a small counter top oven or toaster oven, so I’ll be using this information to scale down a lot of recipes. Thank you for opening up new possibilities and for explaining how to start making some old favorites again in smaller batches.

    Reply
  35. Don Noll

    I do a much simpler 25% 50% or 100% more. Add half of half of everything, or half of everything or double everything.

    Reply
    1. Dan

      I agree. I don’t see the point of baking percentages. I understand some people are scared of math but this is actually LESS math and easier to figure out for less math-inclined folks – just multiply all ingredients by 1.25, or 1.5, or whatever – easy peasy. Just use your phone calculator. What am I missing?

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      Dan, baker’s percentage is incredibly useful to bakers because it allows you to size up or down a recipe based on the weight of dough needed. Sometimes the same dough will be used in multiple recipes and so the dough weight becomes the critical factor, rather than the amount of loaves the recipe might yield. Essentially the equation for doing this involves dividing the weight of dough needed by the weight of dough the current recipe yields (what need/what have). This will yield a factor that each ingredient can be multiplied by to give you the new ingredient weights. This factor is similar to the “Formula Conversion Factor” in the Baker’s Percentage reference page in which you divide the weight of dough needed by the total percentages in the original formula. Check it out! This post is scratching the surface when it comes to baker’s percentage. It’s a powerful tool that professional bakers use every day, although these days there is a computer program that figures the new recipe weights, based on the desired total weight. Barb@KAF

    3. ReNay

      I was thinking the same thing along with Don and Dan here on May 4 and May 8. If the best Chocolate Cake Recipe (posted by Ina Garten, originally from Hershey’s) fills my two 8″ pans to only half the pan and I want taller layers because I’m using 3″ deep pans (say I want the entire cake to increase by half (so a quarter each pan), would my recipe be sound if I multiply all of the ingredients by 1.5? I imagine determining the original ingredients in grams first would then make it more precise to increase all ingredients by 1.5, in grams? Thanks for your help!

    4. The Baker's Hotline

      Great question, ReNay. For a cake recipe that’s only going to be increased slightly, it’s just fine to increase all of your ingredients by a conversion factor (in this case, 1.5x). Sometimes when scaling recipes like yeast breads, it can be more accurate to use the Baker’s Percentage so that you increase the ingredients based on the ratio of the weight of the ingredients compared to the whole. But for taller chocolate cake layers, so ahead and multiply all ingredients by 1.5x and bake the layers for about 5 minutes longer or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  36. Joan wamsley

    I had to read the author’s bio because I figured not many places in the world would say “light dawns on Marblehead “. I’m from Winthrop MA.
    This article will be a great reference. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  37. rmd

    What about leavening agents? I’m always scared to risk doubling and tripling cakes/biscuits etc. because I’ve always heard that you don’t triple the baking powder/soda. How do you work those against the flour at 100%?

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      While you can use baker’s percentage for leaveners, too, in many recipes their amounts are so small that they aren’t given in weights and it would be hard for a scale to weigh the tiny amounts accurately. We’ve got some great info on leavening that can help you understand the ratios that are most often used, so that you can feel more comfortable working with increases and decreases. ~ MJ

  38. Chris

    Great article. I have recently began weighing ingredients with good results. Plus, although I grew up in Massachusetts, I have been scientifically oriented most of my life and can’t deal with cups, quarts, ounces, drams or whatever. Metric is much easier.
    Thanks for the information.

    Reply
  39. Karen Espalin

    I just showed this to my kids, whom I homeschool, as another example of why learning math is important. Thanx for the info. Pinning.

    Reply
  40. Barbara Neeley

    What would the gram amounts of the ingredients be if I wanted to make the double pie crust with a 3 shortening to a 2 butter ratio

    flour = gram
    butter = gram
    shortening= gram
    ice water= gram
    salt=regular

    thanks in advance
    barbara

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Barbara,
      We wish we could offer to calculate recipe conversions for our fellow bakers, but we simply don’t have the manpower to offer to do this.
      We hope we’ve given you enough resources with this blog, our weight chart and our recipe site to make your own conversions. Just take it step by step and soon you’ll be a recipe conversion pro. ~ MJ

  41. Michael

    This seems like a lot of extra calculations. If you want to double a recipe, just multiply all the weights by 2. If you only want to increase by 33%, multiply everything by 1.33; if you only want to increase by 23%, multiply everything by 1.23; etc.

    The ratios of ingredients to each other will be preserved. You don’t have to calculate percentages of flour before multiplying. You’re just going to multiply everything by the same factor you multiplied the flour by.

    The key is estimating how much to scale up. It’s easy if the recipe tells you how much it makes. If a recipe makes 36 cookies and you want to make 42, multiply everything by 42/36 = 1.1666.. If you want to turn an 8 inch crust into a 10 inch crust, you need to use the ratio of the areas of the crusts–multiply everything by (pi*5*5) / (pi*4*4) = 1.5625.

    Reply
  42. Lou W

    Don’t think I’ll be whipping thru conversions quickly, but now that all makes sense! Thanks for that as I just recently bought a scale and love that your recipes can be switched to the various forms of measurement.

    Reply
  43. Robert Erickson

    This is good information. But what about yeast? Some recipes call for a packet (usually 1/4 ounce or 2.5 tsp) but some call for smaller amounts. Can you double a 1/8 tsp of yeast without running into problems?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Robert, it’s generally okay to double the yeast in a recipe, although we sometimes recommend that you not quite double the yeast in a recipe that you feel will be hard to handle with the added quantity. Adding a bit less than double the yeast will slow down the dough and allow you more time to process it without over-proofing. Another option is to refrigerate a portion of the dough so that you can time it in stages. It’s fine to double 1/8 of a teaspoon of yeast in a recipe for a starter, and also fine to add a little less if it’s very warm where you are or if you need the starter to ferment more slowly for some reason. Barb@KAF

  44. Paul Ackerman

    I Am a Carpenter by trade, After my mother passed away, i realized I was going to have to learn to make Pecan Pie like hers, Living without would be unbareable! Her recipe was for an 8″ pie! 8 Inches? Really? So to increase the recipe to a 9″ or a 10″ size, I just got out my trusty Construction Master Calculator, It can add, subtract, multiply, and divide in fractions. Since i work with fractions daily, it makes sense to me.

    Reply
  45. steve baker

    Yes. It is that easy.

    About 10 years ago, Michael Ruhlman wrote a book called “Ratios”. It was not specific to baking, but he illustrated the point that virtually all recipes are just variations on the same themes. (I did recipe testing on the quick breads section)

    Reply
  46. Suzanne

    Genius! Pure genius! I have a BS in Pure Mathemeatics and I NEVER would have looked at it like this! You just changed how I work my passion (baking) FOREVER!!!!!!

    Reply
  47. Blair Kilpatrick

    Hmm. Had to give this some thought. I’ve always done recipe conversions as a “solve for X” problem:

    46 g shortening/177 g flour = X//201 g flour
    (46 g is to 177 g as X is to 201 g).

    It comes down the same thing mathematically, but what I like about your approach is that it is nice to know the “constant”–eg, that in one’s favorite pie crust recipe the shortening is 26 % of the flour. And yes, I have shifted over to weight rather than volume measures in the last few years. Thanks!

    Reply
  48. Annette

    I spent 4 decades working in and running research labs. So I am at home with grams, mg, ug, pg for weight. Like being in the lab. I am also at home with math. The hardest thing for new graduate students to make was a 70% ethanol solution. Sigh

    I love science, math, and baking. It’s logical to me. 🙂

    Reply
  49. Colleen Young

    I love that you’ve done this in grams, I’m learning to weigh instead of measure and I love it. However, when I checked the baker’s percentage table much to my disappointment it is in pounds! Now I have to think some more (sad face)!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Colleen,
      The baker’s percentage chart is in pounds because it was created as a resource for professional bakers, who often mix up large batches. No worries though — it can easily be converted into into grams. You can multiply by 453.592 to convert from pounds to grams, or if you’re feeling like that’s just too much math for the moment, you can use a pounds to a grams calculator. I hope that helps! Kye@KAF

  50. Nancy Warner

    Thanks so much for posting this. I have struggled with trying to scale up my pie crust recipe from a 9″ to a 10″ pan. Now I know that I just need to add 10% (actually just 9%, but who’s going to argue?) to the weight of the flour for the 9″ recipe and adjust all other ingredients accordingly. Genius. Can’t wait to try it. Although I have an electronic scale that measures in gr. and oz. I’m thinking of getting one with Baker’s % built in, once I find out the price.

    Reply
  51. Emma

    As I am French I bake by grams (all French baking recipes are by weight) so scaling is easy even if your scaling method is great, but regarding the eggs, when I want to change, I calculate a weight of all ingredients by one egg.
    Imagine a recipe with 4 eggs, 200 gr flour, 150g butter and 200gr sugar, I will have per egg : 50g flour, 50g suger and 37,5g butter. So if I want 5 eggs, I will use 250g flour, 250g sugar and 187g butter.

    Reply
  52. Saba

    What if a recipe doesn’t have flour? (for example, KAF’s flourless chocolate cake)? Should I then pick a different ingredient against which to scale the others? Should I look for a dry ingredient, such as sugar, as opposed to something wet, like butter or water?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Saba, baker’s percentages are generally reserved for use with recipes calling for flour. In the case of a flourless recipe, you can stick with multiplying all the ingredient amounts by your conversion factor (be it two or 2/3). Mollie@KAF

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