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Convert & Scale a Recipe

Recently, new member Beckamojo over on the Mellow Bakers enquired about getting a white sandwich bread recipe to use in her 13 in x 5 in x 5 in Pullman pan.  She was having a few issues with her trials at making a Pain de Mie from a US (cups-based) recipe including not knowing how much dough she needed for her large Pullman. Jacqueline, another Mellow Baker, asked if Becka had digital scales so she could be more precise than her original use of cups for measuring. We would also need to look at proofing times and make sure her process didn’t end up with over-proofed dough.

I did a little hunting and this is what I suggested:

Hey Becka,

Check the King Arthur recipe for a Pain de Mie which is suitable for a 13 x 4 x 4 pan. It is a bit smaller than your 13 x 5 x 5 pan so you’ll want to increase the amounts which are, fortunately, given in weights as well as volume. With luck, they will someday upgrade to include grams, in spite of the general American public’s dogged resistance to embracing the so-much-simpler metric system.

Let’s have a peek and break it down here so you can see what is going on.

Their original recipe reads:

2/3 cup (5 3/8 ounces) milk
1 cup (8 ounces) water
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) sugar
1/4 cup (1 1/8 ounces) Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) potato flour
4 3/4 cups (20 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast

So first we need to convert the above to something simpler: grams. Let’s start with the milk:

5 3/8 oz. Ugh, fractions in odd numbers.

We begin by finding out what that ounce fraction is in percentages, so we take the 3 and divide it by 8:

3 ÷ 8 = 0.375.
Let’s round it up and go with .4 then.

Now the milk is 5.4 ounces instead of 5 3/8. But we want grams. The formula to convert ounces to grams is:
Ounces x 28.35 = grams
(You may want to make note of that, it’s hugely handy; I wrote it on a bit of tape and stuck it on my kitchen calculator until I remembered it by heart)

5.4 x 28.35 = 153 grams.

Now we know the recipe needs 153 grams of milk. Next! 8 oz water:

8 x 28.35 = 227g water

Let’s zoom through the rest:

3 x 28.35 = 85g butter

Teaspoons… let’s leave those for a bit.

1.25 x 28.35 = 35 g sugar
1.125 x 28.35 = 32 g dry milk
1.25 x 28.35 = 35 g potato flour
20 x 28.35 = 567 g AP flour

Teaspoons… some of this needs research. The staples you may want to keep note of: teaspoon and tablespoon weights of salt, yeast, sugar, vanilla. If it helps:

  • a US teaspoon is  5 mL
  • a US Tablespoon is 14.7 mL

I happen to know that a teaspoon of salt is ~6 g so 6 x 2.25 = 14g salt

Instant Dry Yeast is 3.1g per teaspoon so 2 teaspoons is 6g.
A “packet” of yeast contains anywhere from 6 to 17 grams, depending on location and manufacturer: they’re all over the darned map. Instead, go by the general rule that you use 1% of the FLOUR WEIGHT in Instant Dry Yeast and you should be good. Here, the flour weight is 567g, so 6g is ~1%. If you were to use ACTIVE Dry Yeast, you’d want to use 1.5% instead. Instant Dry is better.

Let’s regroup:

milk: 153g
water: 227g
butter: 85g
salt: 14g
sugar: 35g
dry milk: 32g
potato flour: 35g
All-Purpose Flour: 567g
Instant yeast: 6g
Total weight: 1154 grams

Since this amount is for a 13 x 4 x 4 pan, we need an extra inch to fill your 13 x 5 x 5 or increase the amount by 56.25%.

Therefore we need to get each of the above weights up to 156.25%:

milk: 153 x 1.5625 = 239 (I have a % button on my calculator so that makes it easier: 153 + 56.25%:

milk: 239g
water: 355g
butter: 133g
salt: 22g
sugar: 55g
dry milk: 50g
potato flour: 55g
All-Purpose Flour: 886g
Instant yeast: 9g
NEW total weight: 1803 grams

NOTE: I had originally miscalculated the new percentage as 125% which accounted for a pan size of 4 x 4 increased to 4 X 5. However, sharp reader Erica (see comments bellow) caught the mistake. We need to calculate an increase from a 4 x 4 pan to 5 x 5 which is 56.25% more.

Now, you can follow the directions given on the King Arthur page and have the right quantity of dough for your Pullman pan based on their recipe. Use either the hand or mixer method (if you have one) the bread machine is probably not big enough to take all that dough.

Tips:
• After your bulk proofing (the first one), divide the dough evenly into 5 pieces (1803 ÷ 5 = 360g each). Roll each into a ball and let them rest for at least 15 minutes under cling film.
• Flatten each piece into a rectangle. Roll up into a log about 5″ wide.
• Oil or spray the walls and the lid. Place the 5 dough logs evenly in the pan. Let it rise again until the dough is 90% from the top of the pan, about 30-40 minutes (depending on how warm your kitchen is).
• Bake as per instructions

This not only gives a pretty loaf, you can then split the loaf in sections and freeze what you won’t use for a while. This is handy for a very large pan like yours.

  
Tips steps and Images from: Albertitto’s Kitchen

To close:
• we found a white bread Pullman recipe, with weights!
• we’ve learned how to convert it to grams and
• scaled it up to 156% to suit your larger pan.

All that’s left now is for you to give it a go and see if you like the resulting bread! If you do and the size is good, you now know you need a recipe that will give about 1450 grams of dough. Found a Challah bread recipe that gives you a 750g loaf? You can make that suit your pans easily.

=====================================

Now we will wait and see what Beckamojo makes of this information. My hope is that she, and other visitors to the site, can feel comfortable looking at a recipe and giving a whirl at modifying it to their needs. Hey, if I can do the math, most anyone can. And I’ll admit readily that math was my very worst subject in school.

Questions or comments? Don’t be afraid to post them below!

2 thoughts on “Convert & Scale a Recipe

  1. Erica

    I recognize this is an older post and the person who requested the information has probably done with it already, but I was curious about your math. A 13x5x5 pan increases from a 13x4x4 pan in two dimensions, effectively 13×25 rather than 13×16. Wouldn’t you want to scale up to about 155%, given that extra dimension? Or did you account for only one of the two dimensions expecting flatter/shallower loaves, or an airier crumb?

    Thanks!
    Erica
    Erica recently posted..The belated announcementMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      Erica,

      Thanks for your comment. You are indeed correct; I miscalculated and accounted for extra space in only one direction when there are two directions to fill.

      Given the length stays the same, we don’t need to worry about the 13″. That leaves us with a 4 X 4 dimension to start and a 5 X 5 as the goal. So 16 square inches should become 25, which is actually 156.25%, not 125% as I had written which calculated a new size of 4 x 5 (20 square inches) not the correct 5 x 5 (25 square inches).

      Good catch! I will update the post to clarify.

      Reply

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