Multiplying batches of dough is an important part of sharing sourdough bread with others. Whether you want to bake some batches of loaves with neighbors or invite people over for sourdough pizzas, you’ll need to effectively plan how to make the correct amount of dough.
In this post, I’ll share how I multiply a batch and give you a sample formula. An important note is that using grams is essential for easy and accurate multiplying.
How to increase a batch
To increase the quantity of the dough, multiply each ingredient in grams by the amount you want to increase it by. But first, take note of the yield for each recipe version.
For example, one recipe of Sourdough Rustic Bread Master Recipe makes 1 large loaf.
So if I want to share 4 loaves with my neighbors, I would multiply each ingredient by 4:
- 370 grams water * 4 = 1,480 grams
- 100 grams active starter * 4 = 400 grams
- 100 grams whole wheat flour * 4 = 400 grams
- 400 grams bread flour * 4 = 1,600 grams
- 10 grams salt * 4 = 40 grams
You will have some very happy neighbors!
You can also divide a large loaf into smaller sizes to spread the love further with the same amount of dough. Rather than making 4 large loaves, you could make 8 half loaves, or even smaller mini loaves.
Increasing the starter
I’m often asked about increasing your amount of starter for a large batch.
For sourdough recipes that use a 100% hydration starter (most of them do, including the one in our example), look at the amount you will need (400 grams in our example), then divide that number in half to find the amount of flour and water you will need to mix with a tablespoon of your old batch of sourdough starter.
To make the 400 grams of starter in the example above, you would prepare a large fresh batch of sourdough starter (also known as a levain) by mixing 200 grams water, 200 grams flour, and one tablespoon of sourdough starter.
How to divide a large batch
To divide a large batch of dough, put a large empty bowl on your food scale and tare it.
Taring is when a button is pressed to remove the weight and bring the scale to zero.
With the scale reading zero, add all of the dough to the empty bowl. Take the total weight of the dough then divide that number by the quantity of breads/rolls/pizzas you plan to make.
If my dough weighs 3,920 grams and I plan to make 8 half-size loaves…
3,920 grams of dough / 8 loaves = 490 grams of dough each
I must divide my large batch of dough into 8 pieces of dough that weigh 490 grams each.
Can’t I just eyeball it?
Of course you can!
However, take time in trying to get your pieces of dough approximately equal.
Some recipes like rolls or baguettes that are all baked at the same time should be as uniform as possible so that the baking stays consistent without some items overbaking while others need more time.
Share the love, even imperfect loave
See what I did there? 😉
Sharing your bakes might feel intimidating if you are still getting the hang of sourdough baking, but you are offering the people around you a beautiful gift.
They are receiving something that will not only feed their hunger, it will create a beautiful memory and a sense of honor at receiving what you carefully crafted over the span of a day.
It might not look the way you’d hoped, but it will bring a sense of joy and thanksgiving to the people you share it with.
In my classes, I share how my business name was inspired by Jesus feeding the 5,000. Did you know the bread that he blessed and multiplied were barley loaves?
Barley loaves were the food of the poor. This meager offering was brought by a little boy but in the hands of Jesus, his humble lunch fed thousands!
Don’t underestimate what a simple, humble act can do!