Flour Weight error margin

When using 50lbs of flour as your base, what room for error do you think you have before the dough actually changes?

49 lbs okay? 51 lbs okay?

If you are off by one pound in flour weight with a 50-pound flour weight dough, it won’t be a big deal, especially when we consider that the vast majority of operators never make an absorption adjustment with each new lot of flour. When you consider that flour absorption can and does change by as much as 3% from one lot to another, this amounts to being off on absorption (water added to the dough) by about 1.5-pounds (18-ounces) with a 50-pound flour dough size. Herein lies the issue though, if your flour is lower in absorption capacity than normal (it requires less water), and you happen to underscale the flour at the same time, you’re liable to see a significantly softer dough, leading you to react by adding additional flour to the dough in the mixing bowl. This is all fine, except for the fact that when you add that additional flour, you are also reducing the amount of each other ingredient in proportion to the flour at the same time, so now your dough may not perform quite the same, or there might be a change/difference in the finished crust quality that can’t be explained. It is for this reason that we always recommend that the flour be weighed. It just reduces one more unexplained variable.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor