Using Bakers Percentages to Scale Your Pizza Dough Recipe


Making your own pizza from scratch is a rewarding enterprise. But as pizza by its nature is suited for serving as a party food, where the amount of pizza needed can vary, it can be hard to multiply out your pizza dough recipe to figure out exactly how much to make.

To help you with this I would like to take a look at the bakers percentage method of scaling recipes up and down. This might seem a little complex at first, but soon enough you will be able to scribble down how much dough you need, do a few quick calculations, and come up with exactly the right weight for each ingredient! The beauty of this system is that you no longer have to remember specific ingredient weights for a recipe. All I think when I’m making pizza is “100/66/2/1” and I have the recipe right there! Here’s how it works:

For the purposes of this article we will use a basic pizza dough recipe as follows, with the weight in grams:

300g Flour
200ml Water
6g Salt
3g Instant Dried Yeast

Using bakers percentages, this recipe would appear as follows:

100% Flour
66% Water
2% Salt
1% Yeast

The bakers percentage system works by showing all of the ingredients in a recipe in proportion to the amount of flour used. So no matter what the weight of the flour, it will always be 100%. In the above example, 200g (1 ml water = 1 g) of water is used with 300g flour. 200g is 66% of 300g, so the percentage of water used is 66%. If the recipe called for 50% water with 300g flour, the water weight would be 150ml.

Now that we understand how the bakers percentage system works, we can easily scale up our recipe by using the following steps:

1. Add together all of the percentages in the recipe. In the example above, 100% + 66% + 2% + 1% = 169%

2. Figure out the final weight of dough that you will need. For example lets say we want to make 11 dough balls for pizza bases, each weighing 250g. 11 x 250g = 2750g.

3. Take the final dough weight from step 2 and divide it by the total percentages from step 1. 2750 / 169 = 16.2

4. Multiply the percentage of each ingredient in the recipe by the number from step 3. So 100% flour x 16.2 = 1620. This is the amount, in grams, of flour you will need in your scaled up recipe! Repeating for the other ingredients, 66 x 16.2 = 1069g water, 2 x 16.2 = 32.4g salt, and 1 x 16.2 = 16g yeast.

This might seem intimidating at first but give it a try next time you make pizza. Even if you only remember the concept of bakers percentages, you will be able to remember your recipes that much more easily.

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