Pastry Flour Is Your Key to Light-and-Tender Baked Goods

All-purpose flour may be your go-to when baking, but sometimes it’s another type of flour‘s time to shine. Like pastry flour, for instance: if a lighter, more tender pastry is what you’re after, here’s why you should keep a sack of this low-protein flour in your pantry.

What Is Pastry Flour?

Pastry flour falls in the middle of all-purpose and cake flour, with a protein content around 9 percent (compared to all-purpose flour’s 11 percent). It’s designed to give your goodies structure so they don’t fall apart, while also keeping them tender.

The flour is easy to find — it even comes in a whole wheat option that falls between regular whole wheat and all-purpose flour — and it’s a great choice for cakes, cookies and muffins. Basically, if you’re baking something that isn’t bread (which demands the elasticity that comes with a higher-protein bread flour), pastry flour is an excellent ingredient to turn to.

Good to Know
Cake flour can be a better choice for cakes with an extremely light texture, such as angel food cake or a melt-in-your-mouth pound cake. This is because it has a protein content of just 7-8 percent.

How Do I Substitute Pastry Flour?

You can usually replace all-purpose with pastry using a 1:1 ratio. So the next time you’re baking a batch of muffins or mixing some cake batter, use pastry flour instead and see how the results compare with your original recipe.

On the other hand, if your recipe calls for pastry flour and your stock has run out, make a substitute by whisking 1 cup of all-purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons (14 tablespoons) with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. This mixture will have a lower protein content than straight all-purpose flour, producing more tender baked goods that are similar to what pastry flour itself would produce.

And if you’re fresh out of pastry flour but have cake flour on hand, substitute it by adding an extra 2 tablespoons of cake flour to your recipe.

Learn More Now

Discover more must-know intel and expert-level tips for baking in our class, Startup Library: Baking & Pastry.

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