Imagine biting into a freshly baked croissant or a flaky biscuit that just melts in your mouth. Have you ever wondered what makes these baked goods so delicate and tender? The answer lies in the flour used to make them… pastry flour.
In this article, we’ll dive into pastry flour’s unique characteristics and how it differs from other types of flour.
But first, what is pastry flour?
What is pastry flour?
Pastry flour is a type of flour that is often used in delicate baked goods, such as cakes, cookies, and pastries. It is made from soft wheat varieties that have a lower protein content, which results in a lighter and more tender crumb, making it perfect for delicate baked goods.
Pastry flour is made by milling soft wheat berries, also known as pastry wheat. The wheat is first cleaned and then tempered, which means it is allowed to rest and absorb moisture. This process makes the wheat easier to mill and results in a finer, more consistent flour. The wheat is then ground into flour using a series of rollers, and the bran and germ are sifted out to produce a lighter, finer flour.
It’s important to note that pastry flour is not the same as cake flour, although they have similar characteristics. Cake flour is made from even softer wheat varieties and is even more finely milled, resulting in an even lighter texture and a more tender crumb. However, both pastry flour and cake flour are great choices for delicate baked goods that require a light touch.
What’s the difference between pastry flour and regular flour?
Pastry flour is made from soft wheat varieties that have a lower protein content than all-purpose flour. Typically, pastry flour contains around 8-10% protein, whereas all-purpose flour contains around 10-12% protein. The lower protein content in pastry flour results in a more tender and delicate crumb, making it perfect for delicate baked goods like pastries, cookies, and biscuits.
On the other hand, regular all-purpose flour is a blend of hard and soft wheat varieties and contains a higher protein content than pastry flour, making it more versatile and suitable for a wide range of baking applications, including bread, pizza dough, and cookies.
Benefits of pastry flour
Pastry flour is a must-have in any baker’s pantry for a good reason.
Pastry flour has a finer texture than all-purpose flour, resulting in a more delicate crumb in baked goods. But it has a slightly higher protein content than cake flour, which makes it better suited for recipes that require a bit more structure, such as pie crusts and cookies.
Pastry flour also has a lower gluten content than all-purpose flour, which helps produce a tender, flakier crust. So, if you’re looking to make a pie crust that is both tender and flaky, or a cookie that has just the right amount of chewiness, pastry flour is the way to go!
Pastry flour nutrition facts
|Flour (¼ cup)||Calories||Carbs||Fiber||Sugar||Fat||Protein||Glycemic Index|
|Pastry flour||120||26 g||1 g||0 g||0.5 g||43 g||Likely high (similar to AP flour)|
|All-purpose flour||120||24 g||1 g||0 g||0.5 g||4 g||85|
How to bake and cook with pastry flour
You can substitute all-purpose flour with pastry flour in recipes that require a lighter texture, such as cookies and pastries (things made with dough that contains flour, water, and shortening). Keep in mind that pastry flour is not recommended for recipes that require a higher protein content, such as bread.
As I mentioned, pastry flour makes the BEST pie crust! Pastry flour can entirely replace all-purpose flour in your favorite pie crust recipe, giving it a wonderfully flaky, tender feel.
You can also blend pastry flour with other flours, such as all-purpose flour, to achieve a lighter texture in baked goods.
Keep in mind that pastry flour absorbs less liquid than all-purpose flour, so you may need to adjust the liquid in your recipe when using pastry flour. Start with a small adjustment and add more liquid if necessary.
Popular pastry flour baked goods and dishes
- Danish pastries
- Puff pastry
- Tart shells and pie crusts
How to make pastry flour at home
It’s possible to make pastry flour at home with just two simple ingredients: all-purpose flour and cake flour.
Here’s a recipe for making pastry flour at home:
- Measure out 2 cups of all-purpose flour and place it in a mixing bowl.
- Add 1 cup of cake flour to the bowl.
- Use a whisk or fork to thoroughly combine the all-purpose flour and cake flour until evenly mixed.
- Sift the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to ensure there are no clumps and the two ingredients are well incorporated.
How to store pastry flour
Pastry flour has a shelf life of about 6-12 months. Once opened, transfer the pastry flour to an airtight container to prevent moisture and pests from getting in. Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and use within the expiration date on the package.
Homemade pastry flour should be stored in an airtight container, labeled with the date and type of flour, and stored in a cool, dry place. Use within 3 months for optimal freshness.
What are the best substitutes for pastry flour?
You can use a mix of all-purpose flour and cake flour instead of pastry flour for the same light, delicate texture. For every cup of pastry flour called for, use 2/3 cup of all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup of cake flour.
If you want something a bit healthier, check out whole wheat pastry flour.
And for gluten-free pastries, you can mix up gluten-free all-purpose flour, cornstarch, and dry milk powder to mimic the properties of pastry flour.
No, pastry flour is not the same as all-purpose flour. Pastry flour has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour, which makes it ideal for baked goods that require a tender and delicate texture.
To make pastry flour from all-purpose flour, simply mix 2 parts all-purpose flour with 1 part cake flour, whisk to combine, and sift the mixture to remove any lumps.
Pastry flour has a protein content of around 8-9%, while cake flour has a protein content of around 7-8%. Pastry flour is often used for baked goods that require a tender and delicate texture, while cake flour is even lower in protein content and is typically used for cakes that require a fine crumb structure.