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How to Calculate Dough for your Loaf tin

Updated: Feb 14, 2022



This post teaches you how to calculate the dough you need to make a perfect block of Shokupan loaf with your Pullman Baking Tin.


I started making Tang Zhong | Shokupan | Yudane based bread around 4 years ago and very slowly invested in all sizes of Pullman loaf tins for that purpose. For those of you who do not know what a Pullman Loaf tin is, they are the baking tins with a lid that enables you to bake a loaf of bread in to a perfect block.


I find that a lot of sources out there instructs to use a basic loaf tin with only the width and length as dimension and not a lot provides the depth of the tin, because this information is crucial especially if you are trying to bake a loaf that comes out as a complete block in the Pullman tin.





In saying that, I also understand that it can be rather difficult to give an exact amount of dough required for any loaf tins that are never really the same worldwide, and who really wants to invest in every single baking tins out there with only a slight millimetre in measurement difference? I almost went that far, but will power won me over 😊


Therefore, I have come up with a solution for this problem for you!


Before I get into how to calculate the amount of dough needed to capacitate a Pullman tin for a perfect block of bread each time, the calculation method provided below is based off my experiment with one standard Pullman Tin with the dimension of approximately 20cm x 10.5cm x 10.5 cm and only works for the recipe and type of bread that I will be baking with the specified baking tins. If you are going to make other bread recipe, you can however adapt the calculations with your own experimented loaf.


TOTAL WEIGHT AND FINAL DOUGH WEIGHT


Below is a table of content that shows you Four different loaves A, B, C, & D, and the recommended dimension for the Pullman Tin, and each loaf will have a different amount of each ingredients listed that gives you the Total Weight. Because human is never that perfect, it is impossible to say that if the weight of the total ingredients are 500g, we will end up with the exact amount. The loss in weight can be a combination factor of us losing some of the dough during handling and kneading, leaving some residue in the bowl, as well as due to evaporation of liquid, which will be common when we are preparing the Tang Zhong. What is left after the loss in weight during preparation of the dough will be the Final Dough Weight.


Because I am always curious, I have calculated an estimated of 8% loss in Total weight every time I make the recipe below. The % can be more or less but are usually around 8% and this is me scraping the bowl and my hands as diligently as I could and the amount of loss in weight can be different for you. So, in the table below, I will just use 8% estimated weight loss just as a guideline. So, if you ever wonder why your Final dough do not weigh the same as the Total Weight of all ingredients combined, this is probably why.


WHY DO I NEED TO KNOW THE FINAL DOUGH WEIGHT?

Final dough weight is essential to have a more accurate guideline on how much dough is needed to fill up a specific baking tin to make a perfect block of bread.


20cm x 10.5cm x 10.5cm Pullman Tin


As mentioned earlier, the calculations in this post is based on a Tang Zhong based dough. If you have not made a Tang Zhong or Yudane based bread before, you can visit my post on the two bread by clicking on the link. The Table below only applies for Tang Zhong method but if you want to use the Yudane method, refer to the below note on how to do that.


Other bread will rise differently and will require for you to do your own experiment and estimation. Tang Zhong and Yudane Bread are similar with only a slight difference. Tang Zhong requires cooking the liquid with the flour whereas Yudane only requires you to mix a small portion of flour with boiling water to make a stiff dough. This is apparent that if you are using the Yudane Method, you may end up with lesser weight loss since you are not cooking out the liquid to get to the gelatinized stage, but the ratio of water for each unit of flour is significantly lesser for Yudane, so that may just make it even with the Tang Zhong. For the purpose of making it less confusing, the calculation will be based off the Tang Zhong Method.


The percentage in the Table below is calculated on the Baker's terms where the total amount of flours in the recipe, including the ones you use for the Tang Zhong, equals to 100%. Percentage of other ingredients is based off the total amount of flours as a 100%.




TABLE CHART





WWB = Whole Wheat Baker’s Flour, BF = Baker’s Flour (12.5% protein), FDW = Final Dough Weight, TDW = Total Dough Weight


Loaf B is where the calculation is going to be based on.


Note:


* Instant Yeast (Instant Saf) is used in the recipe above. You can either add it straight in with the rest of the final dough ingredients with a longer proofing time. Alternatively, heat the milk to between 35-40˚C, then whisk in a teaspoon of sugar and then the instant yeast in the warm milk and leave at room temperature until yeast activity are detected or the top starts to become frothy. Your bread will rise quicker if warm milk is used in the recipe but do not over heat it above 40˚C.


* All the amount has been rounded up for easy measurement. A slight difference in decimal amount in the recipe will not affect the result in the bake.


* The Total Weight and Final Dough Weight is an approximation. Depending on how much weight loss you have in the preparation, the Final Dough weight can vary slightly. A 20 - 40 g difference in FDW will not have a significant impact on the final bake. Ensure that the Loaf is proofed correctly for a fail proof result.


* All Percentage (%) is calculated in Baker’s Terms where All Flours Combined is a 100% and other product % is base on the total amount of flour in the recipe.



17cm x 9.5cm x 9.5cm Pullman Tin


Calculating capacity for a Pullman loaf tin for a perfect block


When you need to determine the amount of dough needed to fully capacitate a Pullman loaf tin in order to make a perfect block, you first need to experiment with one standard Pullman tin and then work out how much Total Weight you will need to create a perfect block.


In my case, I have experimented with a 20 x 10.5 x 10.5 cm Pullman loaf tin and found that the perfect volume of dough for this specific dimension in the given recipe above is a 705 g dough in Total Weight. This means that all the ingredients that are needed to make the dough, including the Tang Zhong, when added together make up to 705 g.


You will notice that in the diagram above, I have two final calculations for the dough: Total Weight and Final Dough Weight. Total dough weight is like I have explained before, the total weight of all ingredients to make the dough added together. Final dough weight is the weight of the dough after they are made. The reason why there can be a difference in weight is explained earlier. In the case for our calculations, we will use the Total Weight as a guideline.


DIFFERENT FLOURS CAN CHANGE THE CALCULATIONS

As mentioned earlier, the base of the recipe uses White Baker's flour (Loaf B) with approximately 12.5% protein content. If you are changing the flours to different types or a combination of flours, the calculation shown below will not be accurate but can be used as a guideline for you to work out your new recipe.


In the Table, you will notice that I have Loaf B and C using the same Pullman tin with a dimension of 20 cm x 10.5 cm x 10.5 cm, but the Total Weight is different. Loaf C requires a slightly larger amount of Total Weight (850g) compared to Loaf B (705g) in ingredients and uses Whole Wheat Baker's flour in the recipe. This is because combining Whole Wheat flour in the recipe will cause the dough to not rise as much compared to the one that only uses White Baker's flour. Loaf C was tested as a separate experiment and is included in the table purely for your reference. If you do however want your base recipe to include Whole Wheat Flour, you will need to adjust the calculation base on Loaf C.


The below calculations will be based on Loaf B, using only White Baker's flour.






HOW TO DO THE CALCULATION


When starting the calculation, you need to determine in what measurement you want to calculate them in. In the natural nature of math, volume is often calculated in liquid algorithm (litres or millimetres). In the case of the final dough weight, because it rises during the baking process as well, this means that we are not actually filling the whole dimension of the baking tin with water but merely a part of the dough, as the tin will be filled up further as the dough rises during fermentation as well as during baking. Therefore, the measurement in liquid metric will not work in this case.


I know using the Volume Formula to calculate the capacity is a far fetch, but as we all know, dough rises to a certain extent and rises more during baking, therefore we are merely using this formula to work out how much dough we need to yield a complete block loaf of bread.


To make things simpler, it is best to measure the Volume as gram for the weight of the dough for this formula, since it makes sense to work out the dough weight in our case. I have tested the different baking tin with this formula, and they really work!


CHANGING AND SUBSTITUTING THE FLOURS OR LIQUID CAN CHANGE THE MATH


Before we get on with the calculations, be mindful of the ingredients in the recipe and the method or preparing the dough in working out the calculations, as using different types of flours for example can alter the way it capacitates the baking tin as well, since different flour or liquid used can affect the way the dough rises. Incorporating whole wheat baker’s flour for example, will require that you have a little more weight either by adding more water or having white baker’s flour to compensate for that downfall in your final dough since whole wheat flour do not rise as high compared to just white baker’s flour.



CALCULATION FORMULA AND EXAMPLE


A volume of a three-dimensional space is calculated with the following formula


Volume = Length (L) x Width (W) x Height (H)


In my case, I am using a tin that has the dimension of 20 cm (Length) , 10.5 cm (Width) and 10.5 cm (Height) and I know and have tested that the total Weight needed to make a perfect block of bread in that dimension loaf tin is 705 g.


 




* Remember that having a slight difference in weight by 20 -30g will not have a significant impact on the way the bread bakes in the tin.



These are shown in the Table Above:




 



And there you have it! I hope this post is able to help you figure out a perfect bake like it did for me next time you decide to invest in another loaf tin. :)




 

*The above is based on my own experience from the loaf tin and ingredients that I have used. There can be some inexactness due to ingredients used having different working properties and slight measurement differences. This is only a guideline for you and should not be taken as a definite solution for the subject. Different experiences in shaping the dough and how far you let your dough rise can impact on how it capacitates the baking tin as well.


*The above calculations were made for Tang Zhong based bread. Any other type of bread will require your own experiment as the make up in the recipe results in the bread’s rising capacity a little different. If you wish you use the Yuda