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Pastry flour: Substituting and Uses


fiftydollars
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Whenever I need pastry flour, I never quite seem to find it and I am wondering if cake flour might be a decent substitute. Is this a good idea? Do I need to take anything into consideration? Would it perhaps be necessary to add an amount of a more glutinous flour (AP)?

Edited by fiftydollars (log)
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1 cup of all pupose to 2 cups of cake should get you close to pasty

                       Dave s

I find that if I just avoid direct sunlight I get much more pasty.

(sorry, couldn't resist :wink: )

Lol my damn R isnt showing up,Your the baker--this about right?

"Food is our common ground,a universal experience"

James Beard

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a 1:1 ratio is a fair substitute for some applications but it is not good for puff pastry.

You really need a medium gluten pastry flour for anything that has a high amount of fat incorporated into the dough so the dough will maintain its shape.

This site

lists the technical details of various flours.

I either order my pastry flour from one of the places that carries Progressive products or I also like Hodgson Mill whole wheat pastry flour (available at a local store) and Bob's Red Mill unbleached pastry flour which is available at just about every health food store around the country. I have also ordered from Fairhaven in Washington state that has several excellent products, including the best semolina flour I have ever found. And of course from King Arthur, however the shipping costs at KA are somewhat excessive in my opinion.

You can check to see if there is a Progressive source near you by chekcing their web site.

Progressive distributor info.

Also check Amazon: use one of the links at the bottom of the page and type in pastry flour.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Flour is milled differently today than it was in the past but the established categories all stem from two types of wheat - hard and soft.

From hard you get bread flour, from soft you get pastry/cake flour. Combining the two gives you all purpose.

Pastry and cake flour, being both milled from the same soft wheat, do not vary greatly in their protein content. One is bleached, the other is unbleached.

They can be substituted for each other successfully 1:1.

That being said, cake flour is vile. It's wheatiness, it's soul, it's essence has been entirely eradicated. Smell it/taste it next to an unbleached flour and the difference will be immediately distinguishable. Cake flour is disgusting. The only time cake flour should be used is in an application where it's whiteness is required (such as wedding cake). Otherwise, my recommendation is to avoid it at all costs.

Go the extra mile and get unbleached pastry flour (not whole wheat). Your baked goods will thank you for it. Call around to your local bakeries, there has to be one that will sell you a pound or two.

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Yes, I believe we have heard your rant against cake flour before - however, cake and pastry flour are not interchangeable. Pastry flour has more gluten than cake and less than all purpose. Here is what baking911.com has to say about pastry flour:

PASTRY FLOUR:  Is available in supermarkets and specialty stores and comes as either plain or whole wheat.  It is a low-gluten flour used in delicate cakes and pastries. Absorbs less liquid in recipes. It is from soft red winter or soft white winter wheat for use in biscuits, pancakes, pie crust, cookies, muffins and brownies, pound and sheet cakes. This flour is available either bleached or unbleached as well as whole wheat and regular. If you can't find pastry flour, there are some sources for it listed on this site. Generally, you can mix 1 cup of cake flour and 2 cups of all-purpose flour and get a good close protein mix to use for pastry flour, but it doesn't work as well.
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Pastry and cake flour, being both milled from the same soft wheat, do not vary greatly in their protein content. One is bleached, the other is unbleached.

The chlorination actually changes the way the flour absorbs water and binds to fat, so that cakes made with cake flour rise more evenly. You do pay a small price in terms of taste for this, though. But I don't see this as a big problem; most of the time in cakes you don't want a floury taste. In bread, where the wheat itself is the primary flavor, it's a different story.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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cake flour: the chlorination permits a higher ratio of fat and liquid, so much that one no longer tastes the subtlities of wheat.

bob's red mill carries a wonderful pastry flour, but last time i ordered some i paid more for shipping than for the flour itself.

happy baking

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  • 1 year later...

I'm in the process of trying an old fashioned cake recipe that calls for pastry flour. As I have lots of unbleached and untreated All Purpose on hand I would rather use this than buy a bag of pastry flour that I probably won't finish.

There appears to be two ways to substitute for Pastry flour. One way is to deduct 2 Tablespoons of all purpose flour for every cup called for. The other way is to replace the missing 2 Tablespoons with the same amount of cornstarch.

Has anyone tried these variations and how do they compare to regular pastry flour in the final product ?

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I'm not familiar with the cornstarch substitution. Pastry flour weighs less than all purpose, so a cup of AP will weigh a little more (about 1/2 ounce or so) than a cup of pastry flour. Therefore, deducting 2 tblsp. AP flour should give you the equivalent weight of pastry flour. Since I use a scale rather than volume measures, I just substitute equal amounts by weight. I'm guessing that the cornstarch substitution would lower the protein level and produce a more tender crumb.

Ilene

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I've heard of these substitutions. I use the -2 tbsp flour, +2tbsp cornstarch.

I picked this tip up from Jacques torres' book Desser circus

I do this everytime i make his genoise recipe (the best in my opinion).

I have never worked with pastry flour so i couldn't tell you the difference.

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King Arthur resisted producing a pastry flour for many years, and they suggested substituting 2 Tbl of cornstarch for an equal amount of flour in each cup used to lower the gluten.

SB (has done it with moderate success) :cool:

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Comedy of errors! I decided to make my cake with the cornstarch version and divided the usual recipe by 4 so that any poor results wouldn't be around long. Then I realized that the box of constarch in the back of my cupboard was actually a box of arborio rice!...so no problem I go with the two tablespoons of flour removed a la the other version.

Everything gets mixed up, into the buttered, floured rings and into the oven only to realize that my egg is sitting on the counter staring me in the face !!!

So I quickly remove the batter beat the egg and fold it back into the batter. I know...this ain't gonna be any kind of controlled test, but I've got two more batches prepped and ready to go with cornstarch tomorrow.

(The cake has risen well so far so who knows.)

Next time I won't watch 24 while doing a recipe for the first time!!

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For instance, King Arthur's Pie & Pastry Flour is an unbleached flour with 9.2% protein. Their cake flour, appropriately known as Queen Guinevere, is bleached and has only 8% protein.

SB :smile:

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Despite the comments above that Cake and Pastry flour are different all the brands that I have found available here (Vancouver) are called "Cake and Pastry Flour".

I would have to check the protein content as they must be blending to split the difference figuring there is not much of a home market for individual varieties here.

I'll soldier on with my adjusted AP flour as I prefer a slightly denser, moister crumb anyway.

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Despite the comments above that Cake and Pastry flour are different all the brands that I have found available here (Vancouver) are called "Cake and Pastry Flour".

I would have to check the protein content as they must be blending to split the difference figuring there is not much of a home market for individual varieties here.

I'll soldier on with my adjusted AP flour as I prefer a slightly denser, moister crumb anyway.

Hey - I have some Robin Hood flour I got in Vancouver that is Cake and Pastry, and I always wondered if I could use it is cake flour. I'll check the protein content too.

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