Using baker’s percentage (baker’s math), a simple way to both scale recipes up and down, and to adjust the balance of ingredients within a recipe.

Using this method, the weight of the flour is 100%; and other ingredient amounts are shown as a percentage of that, by weight.

For example: If you’re making a batch of muffins using 2 cups (8 ounces) whole wheat flour, and you’re adding 3 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) brown sugar, then your sugar level is 44 percent (3 1/2 รท 8 = .44; i.e., 3 1/2 is 44 percent of 8).

Key ideas:

  • Reducing sugar in muffins affects not just their sweetness, but their texture and volume.
  • Reducing sugar to 50 percent in muffins that begin with a higher amount of sugar (over 50 percent) will yield muffins with sufficient sweetness; moist, tender texture, and balanced, interesting flavor.
  • Reducing sugar in muffins whose recipe calls for a lower amount of sugar to begin with (50 percent or lower) will yield muffins with bland flavor and increasingly poor (dry, tough) texture.
  • Topping lower-sugar muffins with a sprinkle of sugar adds a nice hit of sweetness in each bite while only raising the sugar level of the muffins slightly.