I am currently in the middle of a challenge to bake every formula in the Bread Baker's Apprentice book (BBA). This book describes a principal called the Baker's Math Formula System where all ingredients are compared to the total flour weight in the formula as a ratio. (BBA referes to recipes as formulas.) By definition (or so I thought), the ratio for the total flour weight in a given formula is always supposed to be 100%.

The author includes this analysis for each formula in the book. Just last night, I looked at the Baker's Percentage for the Corn Bread formula in more detail and found that the ratio listed for the flour is actually 51.1%. How could this be if the total flour weight is supposed to be 100%? Would this have anything to do with the fact that this is a chemically leavened bread?

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  • thats my least favorite recipe in BBA
    – rfusca
    Jan 21, 2012 at 4:13

2 Answers 2


I decided to try to e-mail my question to the author, Peter Reinhart. As it turns out, there is a typo in the book!

"Together, the flour and cornmeal should equal 100%. It's the flour % that's listed wrong, not the cornmeal, because the total is 14 oz and the flour is listed as 8 oz. If you divide 8 by 14 you get 57.1%, which means the cornmeal is correctly listed at 42.9% So change the flour percent -- that's a typo I can see can easily happen since 1 and 7 are kind of similar looking and easily overlooked."

  • Awesome! Nice job emailing him.
    – rfusca
    Jan 21, 2012 at 17:58

I believe its expressed as a percentages of the all purpose flour, the cornmeal, and the chemical leavening. I'm not sure why the leavening appears to be included, but for the cornmeal and the flour - they're both elements that would provide the same role as flour in a traditional yeast recipe.

The cornmeal and flour together seems to be somewhat common as I found at least one more that expresses them together for 100.

Either way, if it makes it easier you can always scale all the numbers up so that the flour equals 100.

  • I agree those components add up to 100% (if you round up 99.76). It would make sense to me if the cornmeal and the flour equaled 100% but including the leavening doesn't make sense to me based on the definition. Jan 21, 2012 at 2:31

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