In practice, bakers tend to group ingredients into three categories based on their level of usage in formulations: major, minor and micro. Major, also termed “bulk,” ingredients make up the majority of the formulation. Flour, for example, constitutes around 55 to 60% (formula weight) or more of bread’s raw materials. Minor ingredients typically range from 5 to 10% (formula weight), and micro ingredients are those added at 5% or less.
This classification came about when bakeries started installing automated ingredient handling systems. Return on investment came rapidly for capital spent on the silos, scales, sifters and control systems suitable for storing, portioning and dispensing bulk ingredients. The payout for automating the handling of ingredients used at lower rates was not as fast, so installation tended to lag. Manual scaling and hand-add delivery usually characterize the handling of minor and micro ingredients. A good number of large bakeries do automate their ingredient systems through the micro level, but it is far more common to find only the bulk materials dispensed through computerized systems.
For this reason, the discussion of bakery ingredients will follow a major, minor, micro format. Also presented will be coverage of characterizing ingredients, of ingredient systems such as bases, concentrates and mixes, and of ingredient replacement and substitution.
More on this topic can be found in “Baking Science & Technology, 4th ed., Vol. I,” Page 113, by E.J. Pylerand L.A. Gorton. Details are found in our store.