Pastry flour can mean the difference between delicious light flaky layers and heavier, more dense pastry that can be tough. The problem is, specialty flours can be hard to find, and rather expensive. Luckily, you can make your own pastry flour with just a couple of simple, inexpensive ingredients.
Difference between Flour Types
First of all, I’ll bet you’re wondering what the difference is between the different flours. The answer, my friend is the amount of protein. To put it into perspective, here’s the approximate amount of protein for each flour:
Bread Flour: 14 – 16%
All-Purpose (AP) Flour: 10 – 12%
Pastry Flour: 9%
Cake Flour: 7-8%
Of course, these amounts vary by brand, as well as by region or country! Pastry flour has only a nine percent protein content. The lower protein content ensures that the baked goods will have a lighter, flakier dough. It’s perfect for scones, biscuits, pie or tart crusts and even quick breads.
The protein content in the flour is directly related to the amount of gluten that is formed, which affects the texture and structure of the finished product. Flour that contains lower amounts of protein have less gluten, whereas flours with higher protein have more gluten, such as those in yeast breads.
If you want to make the perfect pastry here’s the do it yourself ratio to make your own pastry flour:
Homemade Pastry Flour Recipe
For 1 cup of Pastry Flour You’ll Need:
3/8 cup of All Purpose Flour (6 Tbs)
5/8 cup of Cake Flour (10 Tbs)
for 4 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 1/2 cups of Cake Flour
Alas, what if you don’t happen to have Cake flour? You can take 1 cup of all purpose flour, remove 1 tablespoon of the flour and add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. This mixture will result in a slightly tougher flour.
One of our favorite recipes calling for Pastry flour is homemade puff pastry.