The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Scaling Hamelman

louiscohen's picture

Scaling Hamelman

"Bread" by Jeffery Hamelman is aimed at professional bakers and secondarily at home bakers.  He gives each formula in 3 versions:

  • US - decimal lbs (no ounces) usually for about 22 loaves
  • Metric - Kilograms usually for about 25 loaves (no doubt the difference in quantity is due to the meter being slightly longer than the yard; just kidding)
  • Home - Lbs and oz, usually for 2 loaves

I hate working in lbs and oz, or even decimal lbs, so I use the metric measurements.  I used to scale them to 450g of flour for a single loaf and pencil in the result in the book.  When I started using more of the formulas, I got lazy and just divided by 20 with mental arithmetic,  After struggling with sourdough, it seemed as if double-size loaves worked better than single ones, so I just divided by 10 rather than 20 (even easier and less error-prone).   These tend to be on the large side, perhaps a bit too big for the oval basket I use for proofing batards.  

I'm curious what other home bakers do with Hamelman formulas.  And what size banneton works best for batards that come in around 1.7 kg. 



breadforfun's picture

Whenever I use Hamelman’s formulas I take the metric measurements and simply divide by 10. I divide the dough into two loaves, each a bit larger than specified, or 3 loaves, each a bit smaller. Typically the larger loaves fit nicely in a 9-10” brotform and the smaller ones in an 8” round. For me either would fit in a single bake on my stone. 



louiscohen's picture

I would love to do that, but I can't fit two dutch ovens in my oven; I get much better oven spring with a dutch oven than with a stone and a pan for steam.  

I could retard both loaves in the fridge and bake them one at a time.  

alcophile's picture

I found a very basic Excel spreadsheet on the web. It has a nice feature in that it can scale any recipe that's entered. I enter Hamelman's metric quantities and then enter the desired loaf size. I tend to favor pan loaves and aim for 850–1000 g total dough weight (≈500 g flour) for a loaf. It also comes in handy if I'm slightly short an ingredient then I can scale the recipe to that ingredient.


Abe's picture

New Weight / Old Weight

Then multiply each ingredient by the answer. And obviously use metric if you're working in grams.

suave's picture

Nowadays I typically scale hearth breads down to 400g of flour per loaf.  Bagels - to 900 g per dozen.

louiscohen's picture

Do you notice any difference between dealing with a 400g loaf vs a bigger one?  I' can't swear to this but it seems as if double-size (~900g flour) loaves are more forgiving.

suave's picture

I very much prefer the smaller size.  I tried 500, but 400 works better for me.  900 would be way too much, I don't even know how I would go about proofing it unless it were a boule.

gavinc's picture

I make spread sheets based on the baker's percentages in his formulas. 1.Saves me converting from us oz to grams. 2. I insert the amount of dough I need in grams. This link is an example for his Vermont sourdough with whole wheat. I make two 750 gram loaves at a time. You can download it and have a play.

You can change any of the orange cells (light or dark).