Consider simple dough, flour and water. For simplification we will disregard salt, sugar and any other additives. The question is, how do I guesstimate volume of dough, say, 1000gr of flour and 1000ml of water (consider that water/floor ratio for my theoretical dough is known). I'm well aware that different flours have different properties, for simplification, lets say it is GP or 00 flour, whatever it is called in your country. Is there some property like absorption ratio of flour? If there is one, the rest can be easily calculated.


Usually I mix water and flour (for theoretical dough, forget leavening agents and particular application, like bread, pasta, whatever) in 7:10 ratio - 700 ml of water with 1000 gr of flour. I want to fill with that dough a pan, lets say, 750 cm^3, how much flour and water I should use to get that volume of dough.

  • 2
    Dough for what? You're not adding any raising agent, and most unleavened breads use a lot less water than that (e.g. half as much water as flour by weight). Would you even have a dough rather than a paste at that water content?
    – Chris H
    Mar 27, 2019 at 20:15
  • I think I have to elaborate more, will update the question right away. Mar 27, 2019 at 20:34
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    I think the point Chris H was making is that, if it is a leavened dough, there is no answer. It is not about the pinch of leavener, it is that the dough changes its volume constantly during the proofing process (if yeast, but chemically leavened batter can also see some small changes before it is used). You can of course fill that pan with pasta dough, but you cannot bake a loaf of pasta in the pan. If you really only want to know how to "norm" your recipe such that you always produce exactly one loaf from this pan, this is empirically derived information which changes with the recipe.
    – rumtscho
    Mar 27, 2019 at 20:59
  • First, whatever leaving agent is used (yeast or chemical) the initial volume (right out of the mixer bowl) is the same as with no leaving agent. Second, yes, you hit the point, I want to produce exact amount of dough for particular pan. Empirical approach will work, but it is a) time consuming b) should be repeated for each recipe. Technically it is solvable problem to find a way to calculate it. Will update if I find something interesting. Hint: farinograph Mar 28, 2019 at 6:42

1 Answer 1


You can make a first-pass estimate of the volume of risen dough by roughly doubling the initial volume -- that's a rule of thumb that's often used for judging whether a dough has proofed enough to bake and/or punch down. Beyond that, there are way too many variables to give a concrete answer here -- the only answer that would be accurate is "it depends".

Bread dough is a living microbe colony. What you describe in your question is essentially an autolysis step -- mix water with flour and let it sit. Even that is going to have different absorption and gluten strand growth effects depending on how long it sits at what temperature. Autolysis is an early step out of dozens in a long process, with variables that include not just hydration and flour quality and protein content, but also particular yeast and lactobacillus strains, temperature during kneading, temperature during proofing, temperature during baking, kneading time, proofing time, pH of dough before and after knead, resting time after mixing before kneading, and probably several other "basic" items I'm skipping here.

And that's ignoring the effects of salt, sugar, oil, and other ingredients.

All of the above have major influence on the final volume, with chaotic effects in terms of the way early variations in process can affect the eventual outcome.

Baking is surprisingly complex biochemistry and physics.

  • 1
    Erm, I don’t think that the question is about rising dough? It’s comparable to cooking.stackexchange.com/q/27350/28879, asking for the combined volume of flour and water.
    – Stephie
    Nov 22, 2021 at 16:41
  • @Stephie The question is about volume of dough...which usually rises/changes in volume. This is probably the best answer kruzerkreig is going to get. Hopefully, he passed the class without this problem being solved.
    – gnicko
    Nov 22, 2021 at 23:50

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