8

I am aware of the bakers percentage used in bread, and I have used it successfully.

I am baking cookies at home as a hobby. I have collected few recipes from blogs, and they work great.

As I am now aware of the ingredients used for cookies, is there any bakers percentage which we need to keep in mind?

10

Not in the same sense as in bread, no.

First, in bread, there is one main ratio: liquid to flour. You can conveniently express any "additions" such as fat etc. as a percentage of the flour too, but they are additions, as in principle, you can make bread with water+flour only. The effects of these ingredients exhibit much less interaction than cookie ingredients, so you can look at each percentage separately and immediately gain some information about the bread.

In cookies, there are several problems. First, "cookie" is a much broader category. A shortbread cookie, a snickerdoodle, a lace cookie and a macaroon have basically nothing in common, structurewise. They need totally different ingredients to achieve totally different textures, and any ratio of ingredients makes sense within this type of cookie, but not across all cookies. In bread, you have a few exceptions (think knäckebröd), but mostly it is all variation of the same stuff.

Second, in cookies, ingredients interaction is more important. They are not made up of flour and water with a few ingredients to tweak the texture, they are made up of eggs, flour, sugar, fat, nuts, and a mixture of whipped egg whites, sugar and nut flour, glued with e.g. whipped ganache (for macarons) behaves in a totally different way from a mixture of stirred eggs, sugar and flour, baked and sprinkled with nut pieces over a chocolate glaze (spritzgebäck). You cannot turn one into the other by slightly tweaking the amount of an ingredient. You cannot say that there is an interval of "between x and y percent of ingredient i" in which a cookie turns out well.

If you concentrate on one specific cookie, it becomes much more manageable. There are ratio intervals there, and within that interval the cookie will work and outside of it probably not. But they are not all ratios of one ingredient to flour, because of the interactions. You need to express the ratio of all ingredients at once. It is still doable, and useful, if you can find a good resource describing it. But here comes the next problem: I don't know of a resource which does this. Macarons may be the exception, as they have so tight tolerances, so you can probably look at 2-3 recipes and will already know the limit of the acceptable ratios. But in cookies with more leeway, I suspect it is only literature aimed at industrial food technologists or even private knowledge in industrial manufacturers who have studied and written down that kind of information.

  • Wouldn't it make sense to use flour-to-fat instead of flour-to-water as the definining ratio in cookies/shortbreads/crumble/...? – rackandboneman Jul 10 '17 at 9:36
  • I have several professional baking formula books from when i was a professional baker and every formula in these books are in bakers percentages, cookies, cakes, muffins etc. – Alaska Man Jul 10 '17 at 23:48
  • @rackandboneman for some of them you could do it, but 1) where to you draw the line to those which have some fat but it doesn't play much of a role, and 2) it is not that informative, given the big range in texture you can achieve when you keep flour/fat constant but change liquid and sugar. I guess it's doable, but probably not helpful enough to have become a standard. – rumtscho Jul 11 '17 at 9:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.