It may sound repetitive, but as a baker, learning about your flour is essential. Of course, checking what flour you need can easily be listed in a recipe and so you can just use it accordingly. But as you go on, there will be times that this flour may not be available or this certain flour is actually better for a particular recipe. Also, as we grow as bakers and cooks, we want to develop our own recipes, to use at home or to share with others.
Also, learning about flours and any ingredient is also fun and interesting. So now, let's take a fun time and get ourselves time to answer everything about what is a pastry flour. As the name suggests, this flour is mainly used to making pastries and also some cakes. Pastry flour is also called cookie or cracker flour in grocery stores. We will try to look at the main characteristics, difference from other flours, what substitutes we can use and what recipes or baked goods it is best to use.
#1 Pastry flour characteristics
First, flours mainly differ in their Protein or Gluten content, because the protein in the flour develops into gluten when it is mixed with water. We can see this happening when the flour starts to create a sticky, stretchy consistency. Gluten is what gives your baked goods its body. What we want to keep in mind is that when the flour has high protein (therefore high in gluten) it forms stickier and stretchier dough.
Now taking everything in place, let’s answer the question, what is pastry flour? Pastry flour is a type of wheat flour that is milled from soft wheat. It is available in the market as bleached, unbleached, organic, enriched etc. Pastry flour is a high starch, low protein, low gluten flour. The protein content in pastry flours lies at 9%. It is one of the flours in the market with the lowest protein content.
It is mainly used in tarts, pie crusts, brownies, biscuits and baked goods that need a tender and crumbly consistency. It is not recommended for you to use it in making bread or baked goods that use yeast because remember the protein content/gluten thing? This type of flour will not be able to give you a good dough or structure for your bread.
#2. Pastry flour uniqueness
What Is The Difference Between All-Purpose Flour, Cake Flour And Pastry Flour?
If you have been out there reading some blogs and articles about pastry flour, cake flour and all-purpose flour, chances are you encountered questions like "Is cake flour the same as pastry flour?" "Can you use all-purpose flour instead of pastry flour?" and so on.
The truth is these three flours are closely related with very close protein contents. Cake flour relatively has the lowest protein content among the three with 6%-8%, all-purpose flour has 10%-12% and pastry flour lies in between the two with 9% of protein.
Through and through, these differences are not that large, so in some recipes, you can actually interchange cake flour with pastry flour and still yield very good results. But if you are asking if they are the same, not exactly, putting it in place, you can use pastry flour when baking angel food cake, it will still make a decent cake but nothing compares to the consistency and yield of an angel food cake made with cake flour. Also, you can use all-purpose flour when making pie crusts or biscuits, sure it will give you a nice result, but it will still be better is you use pastry flour.
Pastry flour, unlike all-purpose flour, is not always available in supermarkets and grocery stores. There are stores that sell them online but in some cases, it is really hard to find. That is why it is also important to know the available substitutes that you can use if pastry flour is not available. Since pastry flour lies in the middle of all-purpose and cake flour, you can simply mix the two and make a good pastry flour substitute.
What you'll need:
- Equal parts of all-purpose flour and cake flour.
How to prepare:
- Mix the two and sift 2-3 times to incorporate well and avoid any lumps, then you're ready!
#4 Where Best To Use
So, What Are The Best Recipes To Use Your Pastry Flour?
- Cakes like carrot cake, brownies, Bundt cake and pound cakes. This cakes needs a tender texture but still feels velvety and fluffy.
- It is also perfect for cupcakes, muffins and scones. These baked goods need to be fluffy but also crumbly at the same time.
- Shortbreads, cookies, and crackers. If you want your cookies chewy and crumbly, shortbreads in the perfect consistency, and the best crackers, pastry flour is perfect for it.
- As always mentioned, pastry flour is great for pie crusts as it comes out with a crunch but still chewy but just right not to make it doughy o hard.
- You can also use pastry flour in making gnocchi a potato based, pillow like fluffy pasta. The pastry flour will give the gnocchi a good fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth consistency.
- This flour will also go well for rice cooker cakes and skillet bread as it can give it a good form and better texture. As what was said earlier, this flour will not be suitable for making bread that needs rising or needs yeast as a leavening agent.
So there, I hope that you enjoyed learning and getting ideas about pastry flour. Always remember that baking is something that you do at your own pace and style, though some flours are recommended, the final decision on what is best to use for your dishes and baked goods is always to your preference.
Hope you enjoyed this list and finally cleared up some questions. Do not forget to share it to your baking buddies, family and friends who are into baking and this kind of stuff. Have fun baking. Cheers!