The Kitchen Formula Calculator v4 Explained

This article is detailed, but is in question and answer format, so a reader can browse it, or read it entirely. It amounts to a condensed version of the 7 part series I posted about the calculator.

**What is it?**

The Kitchen Formula Calculator is a set of calculating tables designed for writing new recipes, or recording ones already in hand. The file is a template meant to be duplicated, the duplicate then used to enter the recipe data. The template is the template. Do not perform data entry in the template.

The recipe calculators are more than simple calculating tools. They are a neatly designed, organized format in which to write, record, and develop recipes. One of their great virtues, and the reason they were created is to be able to quickly, and flawlessly upscale or downscale a recipe. The calculators have integrated tables that are used to reformulate a recipe for further development, a common occurrence after “cook-testing” a new recipe, and another to cost the recipe. Used regularly, they become a Kitchen Guide for a professional operation, or a place for the home cook to park all of their recipe repertoire. Recipe costing is something home cooks will almost never do, but the ability to do so is built into both calculators. In restaurant operations it’s a necessity. The Kitchen Formula Calculator has one table that is useful only for professional Chefs. It’s an additional costing table to cost the entire plate that represents a menu offering. It calculates the plate cost, compares it to the menu price, and reports both margin, and food cost percentage for the plate.

The KFCv4 is a spreadsheet orignally written using Apple Numbers, though easily convertible to Google Sheets, or Excel. The KFCv4 has been refined over the years; v4 indicating the current iteration. Both are based on *The Unabaker’s Master Formula Calculator, *designed specifically for bread, which has been in development, use, and refinement since 2005. As is the nature of spreadsheets, all calculating functions are built in as embedded formulae. The user doesn’t see this stuff, and has nothing to do, but data entry. “Data” consists of a list of ingredient names typed into successive rows in one column of the first table, and the gram weights of each ingredient typed into the adjacent column. The worksheet does the rest of the work. It does so instantaneously, and error free.

**What is a recipe calculator?**

These tools calculate the total of the individual gram weights of all ingredients, and using that value, derives something very useful, the ingredient “Cook’s Percentages”. What “Cook’s Percentages” means is explained in another section later, and in separate posts on this blog. What they are useful for is to enable instantaneous, one click, re-scaling of a recipe’s yield to produce more of the product, or less.

I might just as well have called this a *Recipe Writing & Recording* tool because that is its primary utility. I might have dubbed it a *Recipe Re-Scaling* tool because that’s one of its greatest virtues, or an *All In One Recipe Writing, Developing and Costing tool.* It does all of that. From the point of view of understanding the logical structure of things, being able to derive the mathematical basis of a recipe was a more interesting project idea than designing a spreadsheet no matter how useful. The idea was to develop a kitchen recipe calculator that does for cooks what *The Unabaker’s Master Formula Calculator* does for bread bakers.

The initial inspiration for creating* The Kitchen Formula Calculator* was to create a format to write, and record recipes I cook at home, and to be able to easily convert all of my old handwritten (circa 1979) Pastry Shop recipes from commercial production yields to realistic small batch quantities suitable for home preparation. I don’t need 4 gallons of Crème Pâtissière, I need one liter. I never make 150 crepes, I make 10. I would never dream of making 20kg of pie dough at home, I dream only of 1kg. The recipes need to be re-scaled to produce much less. This is a regular feature of life in kitchens, re-scaling recipes to match daily production needs. Doing these kinds of mathematical calculations in your head, or by using a pocket calculator, and an appropriate multiplier takes time, and it’s error prone. The Kitchen Formula Calculator does this very simply. “Formula” is a more precise word than recipe, but it’s the same thing.

If instead of writing down your Crème Pâtissière recipe in a hand written guide like I did in 1979, or in a simple computer file you write it using *The Kitchen Formula Calculator*, then besides being a permanent record, the calculator derives a lot of useful information about the recipe. The Cook’s Percentages of each ingredient is an example. It auto-fills these percentages in a column in the recipe table, and then uses them in a linked recipe re-scaling table that makes for instantaneous, and error free updates to the desired yield. With a single click, and a revised entry for the recipe yield desired, the calculator immediately updates all ingredient quantities, without error, to produce the revised quantity.

**What is a recipe?**

There’s more to a recipe than meets the eye. There’s an unseen mathematical framework for any recipe. If you write down what you do when you make Pork Green Chile, you’d have a list of all the ingredients used, how much of each, and a given methodology for what to do with the stuff. If you do this, you’ve written a recipe. That’s the common sense understanding of “recipe”, which is true enough, but not enough. This understanding has limited practical ramifications. If you have a way to analyze the Pork Green Chile recipe to determine what are the ratios of each ingredient to the whole, you can understand it more clearly. You can analyze *any* other recipe by entering it in the calculator. Obviously, it’s useful to keep a record of recipes from great Chefs, and other good sources. The calculator is a way to store these things. Determining ingredient ratios is a very easy calculation, but cooks don’t do such stuff, and few understand the word “recipe” in these terms. Ratios exist, but they aren’t specified. For the most part cook’s don’t even think about it. They know about ingredient balance, and understand the concept of ratios of course, but not what can be done with the actual ratios if calculated. That’s why a Reverse Engineering calculator hasn’t been invented until now.

These ratios are what The Unabaker calls “Cook’s Percentages”, and to be precise, a recipe is its mathematical structure, i.e. the ingredient ratios expressed as percentages of the whole. A recipe* is* its Cook’s Percentages. Just as Baker’s Percentages are the mathematical framework for bread formulae, Cook’s Percentages are the same for all other recipes. By this definition, given a list of ingredients, and a Cook’s % value stipulated for each, you’ve written a recipe. Ingredient weights are derivative data, determined by comparing its Cook’s % to the total weight of the formula. It’s a simple equation.

*Ingredient weight = Total Formula Weight x Ingredient Cook’s Percentage*

Methodological notes are obviously a practical necessity, but when we talk about a recipe, it’s really talk about a “formula”. The formula is the ratios of an array of stipulated ingredients to the whole. Methodology simply informs the cook about mixing and handling. Often the “methodology” isn’t necessary to express. All of my old Pastry Shop recipes are simply lists of ingredients with corresponding quantities specified, and a “yield” stated. Yield in a very casual sense means how many portions it makes. The Cheesecake formula makes 7, 10” cakes. Experience, and repetition teaches the aspiring pastry cook what to do with this basic data.

Ratios can be expressed many ways. One part of this, three parts of that; 1:3; or 1/3, but they can also be expressed as percentages. When done so, interesting things can be learned, and made to be useful. How do we express the above ratio as a percentage? It’s tempting to say that 1 is 33.3% of 3, but that would be wrong in the first two examples. The first two examples above have four total parts. There’s three times as much of one compared to the other. 1 is 25% of the total, and 3 is 75%. The use of percentages is very clear. Percentages are also easy to express mathematically, and to utilize in equations. *The Kitchen Formula Calculator* does that.

The actual ingredients list, and the quantities of ingredients used to make Pork Green Chile are flexible, reflecting a cook’s style, and preferences, or whim. If you change ingredient quantities, but retain the ratios of each to the other, you’ve not changed the recipe, you’ve simply changed the yield. To change a recipe, you have to change the ratios of ingredients, or change the list of ingredients, or both. Ratios are the mathematical superstructure of a recipe. Ratios are recipe logic.

**Why are Baker’s Percentages vital, but understanding Cook’s Percentages is not?**

The difference between the recipes cooks use, and bread formulae that baker’s use is there’s greater leeway for a cook to adjust the ratios of recipe ingredients without fundamentally changing the resulting product, and most importantly, ratios of ingredients can be changed *during* the cooking process. In fact, adjusting the ratios during cooking is advisable methodology. Taste it as it cooks, add more of the critical ingredients as deemed necessary, not all at once to start. This is why “salt to taste” is a common proviso. Such in-process tinkering is not the case for most baked pastry items, and never for bread once in the oven. The formula must be properly assembled prior to baking. You don’t get a Mulligan. There’s a little bit of truth in the statement “baking is Science, cooking is Art”.

Just because you do not need to think about, or even know that such things as Cook’s Percentages exist to cook well, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know how they can be utilized. Understanding the mathematical structure of a recipe means you can use it productively. The time wasting, often error prone process of doing recipe yield re-scaling is eliminated. As noted above, it was a prime cause for developing the recipe writing tool you are reading about. It might be helpful to understand the rest of this article by opening the tab titled “kitchen fc v4 template”.

**Cook’s Percentages Explained - The Mathematical Basis for both Calculators**

Akin to Baker’s Math, and Baker’s Percentages in that it forms the logical structure of the recipe, *The Kitchen Formula Calculator* uses what I call Cook’s Percentages. Unlike bread formulae, kitchen recipes have no single formula basis such as flour serves for Baker’s Math. In Baker’s Math, the ingredient weights are calculated with reference to the total weight of flour used. Baker’s Percentages for all ingredients are an expression of the ratio between the ingredient weight, and the weight of total flour used. Bread formulae proceed from stipulated Baker’s Percentages for all ingredients to derive the weights for all ingredients. Baker’s do not write recipes using ingredient weights, they use Baker’s Percentages. By stipulating a Total Dough Weight desired the individual ingredient weights can be derived.

In Cook’s Math, the Cook’s Percentage for an ingredient is the ratio that the ingredient represents as a portion of the whole formula. There’s no reference to any other ingredient to determine the value. Each ingredient is expressed as a certain percentage of the whole. Each would be a slice of pie in a Pie Chart. The total of all ingredient Cook’s Percentages equals the *Total Formula Cook’s Percentage. *This total is reported at the bottom of the column titled *Cook’s %*. Unlike Baker’s Math, and Baker’s Percentages, the *Total Formula* *Cook’s Percentage* always adds up to 100%, never more, never less. In Baker’s Math the Total Formula Baker’s Percentage always adds up to *more *than 100%. This is the singular feature that differentiates Baker’s Math from Cook’s Math. All of the values for ingredient *Cook’s %*, and the *Total Formula Cook %* are calculated automatically by the Kitchen Formula Calculator. It is impossible for a recipe entered in the Kitchen Formula Calculator (or RCTv1) not to total 100% at the bottom of the *Cook’s %* column.

The values for each ingredient Cook’s Percentage is derived based upon the ingredient’s weight compared to the Total Formula Weight. The calculator figures out the values of each ingredient’s Cook’s Percentage using a simple formula that is part of the embedded spreadsheet calculating formulae.

*Ingredient Weight ÷ Total Formula Weight = Ingredient Cook’s %*

*(given 625 grams water and 1000 grams total formula weight, the Cook’s % of water = 62.5%)*

The *Recipe Category Template* was made necessary because most households don’t do menu writing, and don’t hand out packets of menu responsibilities to the inhabitants. Home cooks just need a convenient place to write or record recipes, and to categorize them so they are easy to find when needed. The RCT allows the user to organize recipe entries by category. It’s exactly the same thing as the KFC, but instead of titling tabs to enter single menu item plate data, the tabs are titled by *type* of recipe. The KFC has professional kitchen utility. The RCT has a more home cook appeal, but can also be used by Chefs to bring order to a repertoire of recipes that vastly eclipses the home cook’s. Since they are otherwise identical, understanding how to use either one, means you also understand the other. Set up the Recipe Category Template on a separate spreadsheet file, then set up tabs titled by category.

**What exactly does a Kitchen Formula Calculator do?**

The KFCv4 was designed to be a Chef’s tool for writing, recording, testing, developing, and recipe costing. By duplicating the template on successive tabs, a single menu item’s recipes (and their sub-recipes) can be written and recorded. It is an error free method of doing the work, and it’s simple to use. The tool itself is accurate to whatever increment of grams (or imperial measure) you want. Besides its advantage for writing new recipes, or recording ones already in hand, it was designed to flawlessly, and instantaneously upscale or downscale the yield of any recipe entered. *This is one of its most useful features.* Revising recipes to produce more or less than it does is something that happens in every kitchen regularly. The Kitchen Formula Calculator and its offshoot, the RCT, do it with a single bit of data input required. The required data input is whatever the new recipe yield (Total Formula Weight) is desired to be. One entry and click, the entire recipe updates with new ingredient quantities.

**How Does the Kitchen Formula Calculator work?**

The user enters data for ingredients, and ingredient weights into two side by side columns of the recipe table. There’s also a column to enter a recipe if it’s written using volume measures, but volume measures must be converted to gram weights. The calculators demand weights, not volumes, Specifically, metric weights (grams) are required. There’s no way to utilize a volume to perform calculations. There’s more about this in another post on this blog. Once the user has entered the ingredients list, and their gram weights, the calculator calculates the ingredient Cook’s Percentages. The calculator continuously updates. With every new piece of data entered for an ingredient weight, the entire table updates. The values for ingredient cook’s percentage change with every new data entry. When all ingredient weight data has been entered, the final values of each ingredient Cook’s Percentage are displayed.

Totals for *Total Formula Grams*, and *Total Formula Cook’s Percentage* are tabulated at the bottom of the respective columns. The Total Formula Grams*,* is auto-filled into the cell in the upper left corner of the table that is titled *Total Formula Weight*. TFW is the formula yield. It’s a number of grams. All of the data, and calculated values from the recipe table are auto-filled into the subsequent tables used to Re-Scale, Re-Formulate, or to perform Recipe Costing. Very little other work is required of the user. For Re-scaling the recipe yield, simply enter in the desired new weight in the Total Formula Weight cell. Everything is immediately updated to display all ingredient weight changes. To Re-Formulate a recipe simply write in whatever new gram weights of ingredients you want, and to add or delete ingredients, just type over the auto-filled ingredients list.

**Why use metric weights?**

Kitchen recipes are commonly written using volume measures, or weight measures, or a combination of both. This is so in America with standard measures, in the UK with imperial measures, and in all other places that use the metric system. Only metric weights are used by these calculators. The calculators have columns which automatically convert grams to ounces, but the ounce column is not used in calculating formulae. Metric volume measures must be converted to the equivalent gram weight. By using gram weights for ingredients, Cook’s Percentages can be divined. Grams are very small creatures, 28.35 gram = 1 ounce. This makes measuring precise. And recipe costing, if you have to do it, is easier. Not easy, but easier.

I will not rehash the lengthy article I’ve written about why things based on the numbers 1, 10, 100, and 1000 make better sense than things based on the numbers 16 for weights, or 12, 36, 1,760 or 5,280 for distances, or why there need be 16 tablespoons, or 48 of teaspoons to fill a cup. This seems an obvious choice. Nevertheless, digital scales have been invented that enable the cook to convert ounces and pounds to grams with just the push of a button. If you are a cook, you need a scale. All cooks need scales. Chefs use scales. Be like Chef! Get one! They’re cheap.

With this in mind, the Kitchen Formula Calculator proceeds from the specified gram weights of ingredients to derive the Cook’s Percentages for each ingredient. Recipes entered using any volume measures need to be converted to weights. If volume measures are used, as is often the case, then an ingredient volume to weight conversion table has to be referenced. The Unabaker has created such a table. It is included as a separate tab in this worksheet. There are other such references on the web that are more extensive.

Many cooks might simply use the calculator to record recipes using the ingredient volume measures plus weights that still typify most recipe writing, and that’s fine. It really is up to the user, but doing so sacrifices one of the calculator’s features, viz being able to re-scale the recipe very pain free. It takes some work, but it’s better to convert any standard or imperial measures to a value of metric weight. For example, when you are preparing the recipe ingredients according to quantities required, you put the teaspoon full of whatever it is, or the tablespoon, cup or quart of it into a receptacle on a digital scale that has been zeroed to eliminate the weight of the receptacle, and then mode set the scale for grams. The scale reports the gram weight of the ingredients in the receptacle. Note the gram weight. Enter it into the calculator table, and that’s how you eventually develop an ingredient conversion table. Metaphysical measures such as pinches can be guesstimated (or ignored), but list the ingredient in the table, and don’t forget to pinch it for adding to the recipe mix.

There is a column to enter volume measures, if any, for each ingredient, and one for the converted values in grams. Once this is done, using the Re-Scaling calculator, the cook can easily, instantaneously, and automatically adjust the recipe yield as desired depending on perceived needs.

**The Design & Function of The Kitchen Formula Calculator**

It’s important to note that the tables contain color, and grey-filled cells, and other cells that remain white. White cells are for the user to enter data. Color, and grey-filled cells contain the formulae that do the calculations. The color and grey-filled cells are where the calculated results are displayed when data entry is performed. Never enter data into these cells. If you do, then simply go to the menu bar, click Edit, then click “undo” as many times as necessary to recover. Note also that there are short notes attached to each table next to to the Total Formula Weight cell (in the upper left of the table) that explain what sort of things each table is designed to do.

The template is duplicated, and the duplicate used to enter recipes. The template itself remains blank. A convenient way to use the calculator is to duplicate the template onto as many tabs as you have categories of recipes. This way you can record numerous recipes of the same category on one tab. It is up to the user to determine what categories are needed in order to properly organize, and keep readily at hand the user’s entire collection of recipes. Instead of having a recipe file with dozens, maybe hundreds, or in the case of a professional Chef’s career, thousands of tabs with single recipes, your file will consist of category tabs that collate entire sets of recipes for similar type preparations, and puts it in one place. The worksheet can be easily edited. The user sets up categories that make sense for one’s needs. Sauces, Soups, Cookies, Pie Fillings, Pastry Doughs, Cold Desserts, Italian Recipes, Mom’s Recipes, etc etc. As the numbers of category tabs increases, these can be shifted around alphabetically. Scrolling within a category tab to find what you’re looking for is simple.

The actual layout of *The Kitchen Formula Calculator* consists of three blank recipe writing tables, and one recipe costing table that appear side by side from left to right across the page. The tables are interconnected. Enter data in the first table, and most of the data is auto-filled into the other three tables. The tables are titled *Reverse Engineering Calculator, Re-Scaling Calculator, Reformulation Calculator, *and* Recipe Cost Calculator.* The tables each feature 16 ingredient lines, enough for even complex recipes. You can easily add more ingredient lines to a table by adding rows if necessary. Unused, unnecessary rows can be hidden to neatly tailor the look of the table. The recipe cost table is something most home cooks will never use. If so, the entire table can be hidden by hiding the columns it resides within.

The* Reverse Engineering* table is the first table, and it’s where a user either writes a recipe from scratch, or records a recipe already in their collection. Oftentimes, a recipe entered into the Reverse Engineering table has been tested, and known to work, so the only other thing to do might be to re-scale it to produce more or less total yield as needs change. “Reverse Engineering” simply means that the Cook’s Percentages are unknown, but they can be derived from data that the user types into this table. It is a term that makes better sense in the bread formula calculator, but I use it here to preserve lexicological parsimony. In the next section I explain in a little greater detail what’s meant by Reverse Engineering. Anyone familiar with *The Unabaker’s Master Formula Calculator* will see the similarities in design, graphical layout and function.

Next to the Reverse Engineering table is the *Re-Scaling* table. It’s very simple to use because all of the data required in all the cells of this table is auto-filled from what’s been entered into the Reverse Engineering table. The Re-Scaling table allows the user to instantaneously upscale or downscale the yield for the recipe that has been entered in the Reverse Engineering table. Simply enter a new Total Formula Weight.

Next, there is a *Reformulation* table which enables the user to make whatever tweaks to the ingredients list, or to ingredient weights as desired once a recipe is prepared, tested and tasted. It can also be used simply to round up, or round down gram weights. This table is useful for recipe development, and for cook tests of a recipe under development. Both home cooks, and professionals do this every time they first use a recipe, whether it’s one they wrote, or one they found in another source. “I like The Unabaker’s Brownie recipe, but I think it needs more cocoa, a bit less sugar, maybe a tad more vanilla”. So be it.

Finally, there’s the *Recipe Costing* table. This is a necessary table for professional chefs, but not for home cooks. The table only requires that the ingredient costs per gram be entered, but to do that the user has to perform costings of all ingredients. This is done separately because ingredient costing is a step that is not provided for in the current iteration of the calculator. Done separately, the results are simply reported in the Recipe Costing table. To do recipe costing is a pain in every Chef’s neck.

Together the four tables comprise, an error free calculating tool. The idea is for a user to repeatedly duplicate The Kitchen Formula Calculator template on as many new tabs as there are numbers of categories. Each cook will have a different idea about what categories are set up. Once a category tab has been set up, the user can begin entering recipes of that type. The template has been initially designed to be able to write/record five recipes on each tab. It can be easily expanded to write as many more per tab as the user’s needs may require. Simply copy/paste the tables into rows below every time you need to add another recipe to the category.

**What is Reverse Engineering?**

As noted, it simply means that the ingredient ratios are unknown, but they can be derived from data that the user types into this table. This makes more sense for the bread calculator because bread formulae are most of the time conceived and written starting from baker’s percentages for each ingredient to derive ingredient weights. Why then is there a Reverse Engineering table in *The Unabaker’s Master Formula Calculator*? Often times a baker comes across a bread formula that looks really good, and wants to try it, but the writer of that formula wrote it incompletely, giving only ingredient weights. This is very common, even in some cookbooks. So, the RE table in that calculator can “reverse engineer” the Baker’s Percentages by entering the ingredient weights given in the incompletely written bread formula. The calculator figures out the ingredient Baker’s % values based on weights entered.

Normally, the work flow of a bread formula goes from the ingredient Baker’s % to ingredient weight values. Reverse Engineering means you reverse the flow of the calculation from ingredient weights to ingredient Baker’s % values. *The Unabaker’s Master Formula Calculator *thoughtfully created this unique way of translating incomplete recipes found in many sources, and converting them into formulae that make sense for bakers. This is an innovation that had not existed until The Unabaker came along.

That’s all well and good, but the fact is that kitchen recipes, never ever rely on Cook’s Percentages to figure out ingredient weights. Recipes other than for bread are always written using volumes, and/or weights, or combinations of both. No ratios need apply. So why is there a Reverse Engineering table in the Kitchen Formula Calculator? I could have given it another name like *Recipe Writing* table (that’s precisely what it’s for), ignored the mathematical framework of the recipe, and simply designed the Kitchen Formula Calculator as another handy recipe writing and recording tool. However, as noted, The Unabaker wanted to be able to see the mathematical framework of a recipe, both for the logical understanding, and appreciation of that, but also for a very simple practical purpose, to be able to re-scale any recipe flawlessly, and instantaneously. To do that, the ingredient ratios that exist like a shy child behind the recipe had to be made to come out and play. The Reverse Engineering table in the Kitchen Formula Calculator does so. Unlike the baker, no cook will ever write a recipe that begins by specific Cook’s Percentages to derive ingredient weights. Nevertheless, these ratios have a valid application.

The way The Unabaker wrote the formulae that power all of his calculators is one way of doing it. I could have done it otherwise. This is mathematics, so there are mathematically equivalent ways of arriving at the same result. What was chosen was the simplest mathematics. Spreadsheets are not rocket science. The formulae for doing most recipe calculations are not complex. *The Unabaker’s Master Formula Calculator* had already been designed, and refined over the past 20 years, and the lexicon it uses evolved along with it as well. It seemed obvious to make the new Kitchen Formula Calculator follow a very clear, and well-developed format, employing the same lexicon, even if, in the case of “reverse engineering”, it’s not perfectly appropriate. The rare cooks and bakers that stumble upon this work, and become familiar with all of the calculators would understand the value of logical, and linguistic symmetry.

**Why these Calculators? Why Should I use them?**

A professional kitchen guide (aka Kitchen Bible) is the basic recipe reference used by professional chefs in their kitchens. The Kitchen Formula Calculator, and the Recipe Category system presented here is a very useful and organized way to assemble such a guide. Home cooks do the same thing, but with typically less rigor. A kitchen drawer full of clippings, a binder of stuff, a box of index cards, napkin jottings, computer files, bookmarked links to various website resources, archived emails and WhatsApp chats etc. All cooks face the same issue which at some point becomes an organizational task, usually neglected, to keep things straight and readily at hand. The organizational idea behind all of The Unabaker’s formula writing tools is to create one standard format for writing or recording recipes. Tabs can be created for as many categories as needed for one’s kitchen operation: soups, sauces, dips, pickles, breading, fish, meat, 2024, party ideas, mom’s recipes, kitty cat, etc, and the same goes for the many different categories of pastry production. As many categories as desired can be set up quite simply.

An example of how and why to use the calculator tools is the ongoing task of converting my entire Pastry Shop recipe guide which I’ve used, and added to over the past 45 years. Those recipes were written using a mix of weights, and volume measures, typical of American kitchens: teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, quarts, ounces and pounds. The recipes are written to yield large production quantities of the products. I still use many of these recipes. I know them well, and they are reliable, but every time I do so, I must convert the yield from 10 pies, or cakes, or batter enough for 150 crepes etc to realistic home needs. This is what made me start to think how to design a calculator that would do this quickly, and accurately, and to store the work for use again. I came up with the Kitchen Formula Calculator, and the concept of Cook’s Percentages to make it work.

The process of inputting the original big yield recipes into my Reverse Engineering calculator, and then using the Re-Scaling table to revise the yield to produce just enough for a single 8” cheesecake became simple. There are too many recipes in my old Pastry Shop guide to want to sit down, and do data entry endlessly. Instead, I do it as the urge to make something from that guidebook strikes, and it takes only a few minutes to do it. After which I can re-scale the original to something more realistic for home baking purposes.

**Summary**

Take a look at the four calculating tables again. Note how they look almost identical, and note how little, and where they differ. The Re-Scaling table has all of the exact same data displayed in all of its cells, as the Reverse Engineering table, except for one cell, namely the Total Formula Weight. The Reformulation table has the exact same layout as the previous two tables, and it looks just like the Reverse Engineering table. The Total Formula Weight in both tables is an auto-calculated value, and both leave the ingredient gram weight columns blank for data entry. When you copy/paste the ingredient gram weights column of the Reverse Engineering table into the corresponding column in the Reformulation table, it will look precisely the same as the Reverse Engineering table. The user can proceed to revise as many ingredient weights as desired (in the Reformulation table), and/or type over the ingredient names to add, or delete different ingredients. With every edit, the Reformulation table updates accordingly.

Note that the Recipe Costing table is also very similar, but because it has a very specific task to perform, appropriate columns, and calculating formulae apply. The Recipe Costing table is a feature for Chef’s, and requires the Chef to perform separate calculations for each ingredient. The home cook will likely never use it except as a matter of interest to see how it works.

The v4 appended to the name of *The Kitchen Formula Calculator* indicates that it has been evolved from three previous iterations. It took me a few to get to what I wanted it to be, and to do. I do not see any changes necessary at this point. What remains for me is the ongoing task to add my recipes to category tabs. I can do it at my leisure as I use a recipe, or what's more likely given my habits, I’ll sit down one week and get it all done, then never have to scroll through hundreds of tabs to find the one I need.

These are easy to use tools. If you have not had enough yet, then read about Baker’s Math below.

**Appendix**

**Baker’s Math Explained**

All of bread making revolves around a singular ingredient, namely flour. Baker’s Math uses the total weight of flour used in a bread formula as the basis for deriving all other ingredient weights. It does this mathematically by comparing the ratios of all ingredient weights to the total weight flour used. *The Unabaker’s Master Formula Calculator* v17 is a spreadsheet wherein all the required math has been done, and embedded as calculating formulae. The user simply enters data such as Total Dough Weight desired, and then specifies either ingredient Baker’s Percentages, or ingredient weights depending on whether the table used is the Master table or the Reverse Engineering table. Everything else is done automatically. It’s extremely accurate, error free, and not hard to figure out how to use.

Bread formula ingredient ratios are expressed as ingredient Baker’s Percentages. The Master Formula Calculator uses Baker’s Percentages to derive ingredient weights. This is the normal direction of the work flow when writing a bread formula. The problem is that many recipes you might encounter fail to write the formula with Baker’s Percentages stated. Therefore, The Unabaker designed a way to reverse engineer such incomplete formulae to derive the ingredient Baker’s Percentages if only the ingredient quantities are specified. To my knowledge there is no such tool available anywhere else. It’s an entirely innovative device. Just as for the Kitchen Formula Calculator, there is a Reverse Engineering table that can be used to figure it out.

Baker’s Math uses the *total weight of all flours* used in a formula as the formula basis for determining the other non-flour ingredient weights in the formula. Whether a formula has known or unstated Baker’s Percentages, the Master Calculator can be used. Baker’s Percentages have to be known to fully use the tool. Just as for The Kitchen Formula Calculator, this is how re-scaling the formula yield can be done.

Every ingredient in a formula has a baker’s percentage value. Flour is the most important because it’s the formula basis. The baker’s percentage of *Total Formula Flour* is always 100%. It’s the formula basis. Every other ingredient’s baker’s percentage is a ratio of that ingredient’s weight to the weight of Total Formula Flour used. The peculiarity of Baker’s Math is that all bread formulae always adds up to *more* than 100% Total Baker’s Percentage because flour alone is 100%. More complex bread formulae can easily total over 300%. A basic Sourdough or Poolish bread formula (Pain Ordinaire) will likely total no more than 167% to 177% depending upon the degree of hydration (percentage of water) a baker uses. There’s no need to puzzle over this oddity because the calculator knows what to do.

Understanding the concept of Baker’s Percentage is a mathematical way of understanding a bread formula, and for comparing and analyzing different versions of the same type bread made by different bakers. When the mathematical structure is understood, baker’s can predict certain things about the final product: it’s texture, dough feel, the physical process phenomena that occur during baking, and also how the mixing and handling will change depending upon the recipe hydration (amount of water ratio used), and if other things like eggs, or some type of fat have been added. The baker’s percentage for any ingredient simply means the ratio of the weight of that ingredient to that of Total Formula Flour.

To illustrate things, a simple bread formula such as typical French bread, aka Pain Ordinaire, calls for 1000 grams of total flour, 650 grams of water, 20 grams of salt, and 10 grams of yeast. Bearing in mind that Total Flour always has a baker’s percentage of 100%, this formula has a mathematical structure as follows: 100% flour, 65% water, 2% salt, 1% yeast. Added together, there’s a Total Formula Baker’s Percentage of 168%. These ratios comprise the mathematical structure of the formula. The ratios of the ingredients *are* the recipe. What actual ingredient quantities be required is logically irrelevant, even though it’s a practical necessity to know. We can know them by simply specifying how much Total Dough we desire to make. If the *Total Dough Weight* desired is 2000 grams, then the amounts of each ingredient can be determined using a simple formula.

*Total Formula Weight ÷ Total Formula Baker’s Percentage = Total Flour Weight. *

Consequently, all other ingredient weights are simply calculated.

*Total Flour Weight x Ingredient Baker’s Percentage = Ingredient Weight.*

In the example above the Total Dough Weight desired is 2000 grams, and the Total Formula Baker’s Percentage is 168%. To determine the weight of flour in the above example the calculation is as follows: *(2000 ÷ 168) x 100 = 1190.47 grams*. You must multiply the value of the parenthetical equation by 100 if you use the number 168, or a mathematically equivalent way of doing it is to change that formula to 2*000 ÷ 1.68 = 1190.47.* Both methods make the same calculation, but differently, and yield the same value. Calculating the weights of the other ingredients is simply a matter of multiplying the weight of total flour, i.e. 1190.47, times each ingredient baker’s percentage:

*water = 1190.47 x .65 = 773.8* *salt = 1190.47 x .02 =* 23.8* yeast = 1190.47 x .01 = 11.9*

Obviously the baker would round the values to 1190 + 774 + 24 + 12 = 2000.

Baker’s Math requires that the Total Baker’s Percentage of all flours called for in the formula always adds up to 100%. If more than one flour is used, then each flour ingredient represents a portion of the 100% of Total Formula Flour. For example, French T55 = 70%, T65 = 25%, Light Rye = 5%.

Baker’s Math is the logical framework of a bread recipe. Ingredient weights are always derivative values, fluctuating according to the Total Dough Weight of the formula that’s specified by the baker. Every day in a bakery, the TDW for the baker’s formulae can change depending on that day’s projected sales volume for each product, or simply by the whim of the baker. The logical structure of the bread recipe is the same until the baker changes the Baker’s Percentage value for any of the ingredients. If you change the baker’s percentage value for any ingredient, you have changed the formula because even a small change to one of the percentage values causes all of the remaining percentage values to change. Baker’s usually think about bread formulae in terms of the Baker’s Percentages, not the ingredient weights. Cooks don’t ever think this way. Recipes are written in ingredient weights, or in volume measures, or both, and Cook’s Percentages are unknowns.

It is commonly understood that a recipe is simply a list of ingredients and their quantities, plus a specified method of putting it together. “Quantity” can be variously expressed either in volumes required (teaspoons, tablespoons, cups,) or by their weights (ounces, pounds, grams, kilograms). This common perception is not correct. In fact, the ratios of ingredients *is* the recipe. They comprise the logical structure of the recipe. Ingredients must be expressed as weights in order to use Baker’s Math (and to provide the mathematical basis for The Unabaker’s Kitchen Formula Calculator). Ingredient weights are always merely derivative values, fluctuating depending upon the total yield (Total Dough Weight) specified for the formula. The ratios, however, remain the same, until they are changed by the baker. When the ratios, i.e. the Baker’s Percentages change, the formula changes.

These ratios are the underlying logic, the mathematical basis of the baker’s formula. If understanding this, then it becomes a fairly simple task to write a new formula based upon changed ratios, and a stipulated Total Dough Weight desired. This is a very common daily production management scenario in professional shops. Determine how much of each of the bakery’s offerings is required to meet the day’s expected sales, and scale the total yield up or down accordingly. Baker’s Math and Baker’s Percentages are a special way of designing formulae. Total Dough Weight, and Ingredient Baker’s Percentages are the foundational data required.

**A Final Word**

Imagine this! A baker writes a formula that specifies 100% flour, 85% water, 2% salt, 1% yeast and 5% oil. Can you guess what he is making? Most bakers can tell you it’s Focaccia bread. That’s how burrowed in is the concept of Baker’s Percentages in the brains of bakers.

If using *The Unabaker’s Master Formula Calculator, *the baker can plug these percentages into the table, and type in a Total Formula Weight. Doing so the baker will get an immediate report about the precise ingredient weights to use. How much to yield depends on how much baker expects to sell, but the value for yield, i.e. Total Formula Weight could be something silly like 103.347 grams for a single Focaccia roll, or it could be silly in the other direction, 10,285.37 grams. Either way the Master Formula Calculator will precisely calculate all ingredient weights to whatever decimal point is desired. In either case the total gram weight of the two formulae will be reported at the bottom of the *grams* column in the tables, and it would be exactly 103.347 and 10285.37.

Now imagine this! A cook writes a recipe for Pork Green Chile. The cook has not the slightest clue about Cook’s Percentages, so of course, cook specifies something like this:

*5# pork shoulder, cut in large chunks*

*3/8 cup garlic, chopped*

*3 large yellow onions, chopped*

*6-8 pc dried green chili, seeds removed*

*1 tbsp crushed roasted coriander seed*

*1 tbsp crushed roasted cumin seed*

*2 or 3 sprigs Mexican oregano*

*1 or 2 sprigs epazote*

*2 tsp ground black pepper*

*1 small chunk of piloncillo*

*1/2 cup roasted Masa Harina*

*5 btl Tecate Beer*

*4 qts water*

*1 big bunch of cilantro, chopped*

*salt to taste*

Can you figure out the mathematical profile for this recipe? What are the Cook’s Percentages? No, of course you can’t. Can you upscale it in your head by a factor of 2.3? Probably not. That’s why you need *The Kitchen Formula Calculator.* What most cooks *can* do is to figure out a methodology for cooking it based on their experience. Most cooks could identify this as some type of stew, a spicy one, probably Chile, and they could make a representative rendition.

After reading this entire article, if you are not injured sufficiently already, you can harm yourself more by checking out the YouTube channel The Unabaker. I am not advising anything, I’m merely reporting.

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