What Exactly is Pastry Flour?

Pastry flour is a low-gluten, soft flour used to make biscuits, muffins, cookies, pies, and pastry dough. It contains approximately 8% to 10% gluten. Pastry flour is a type of flour used to manufacture pastries that bakes lighter, crisper, and more delicately. It’s a low-protein, low-gluten flour manufactured by combining or milling hard and soft flour to produce a tender, smooth flour.

What Exactly Is Pastry Flour

Pastry flour is a low-protein, high-starch flour. It has a protein composition between cake flour’s (average) 8 percent and all-purpose flour’s (10-11 percent). This indicates it’s comparable to cake flour but not identical to it. Low protein flours create less gluten when handled, making them ideal for pastry and other baking applications where a soft finished product is sought. If you don’t have pastry flour, make your own by combining half cake flour and half all-purpose flour in a recipe.

What Exactly is Pastry Flour?

Pastry flour is made from soft white wheat or soft red winter wheat, and it is a soft flour. This decreased protein content (gluten is the protein) and finer texture results in a softer, finer crumb in baked items. Consider this: more protein results in long gluten strands and greater flexibility. High protein flours produce huge air bubbles, a more open crumb, and a chewier texture when combined with yeast, a potent leavener.

When less protein is mixed with weaker leavening ingredients like baking powder and baking soda, the outcome is softer and more tender dough with fewer bubbles and less flexibility. Pastry flour is commonly used to make cookies, muffins, pastries, pancakes, biscuits, doughnuts, croissants, Danish and puff pastry, and pie doughs.

Pastry flour is a low-protein flour used to manufacture pastries lighter and more delicate than all-purpose flour pastries. It makes soft pastries and chewy cookies, and great pie crusts. Biscuits, cinnamon buns, pancakes, and pie crust dough are just a few classic recipes that employ pastry flour. It’s usually used in baking when the leavening agent is baking powder or baking soda. For bakers who wish to utilize whole grains in their dishes but require a softer touch, we propose our Whole Wheat Pastry Flour.

Full-force whole wheat flour is excellent for bread dough, but it can be too heavy for cookies and muffins. Our whole wheat pastry flour is made from soft white wheat, with less protein (gluten) than hard red wheat whole wheat flour. We provide whole wheat pastry flour, organic whole wheat pastry flour, and unbleached fine pastry flour for your pastry baking needs.

Pastry Flour vs. Cake Flour

Cake flour is a low-protein flour commonly confused with pastry flour, and they’re also fairly similar. Cake flour typically contains 7.5 to 9% gluten, and pastry flour contains 8 to 10% gluten. As you can see, depending on the exact brand, there is some overlap.

While a professional baker might keep both cake and pastry flour on hand, it won’t make much difference to the home chef. In actuality, pastry flour can be used for both cakes and pastries. However, don’t try to bake bread using pastry flour because it won’t create the necessary structure.

How to Cook with Pastry Flour?

It’s crucial not to overdevelop the glutens while making delicate baked items with a soft texture. The more you knead, stir, or otherwise work the dough, the more glutens you’ll generate. You’ll want to knead a firm, crusty bread or pizza dough for a long time to generate those long, elastic strands. When it comes to pastry dough, however, the opposite is true. Stir or mix for only as long as it takes to blend the wet and dry components, then stop. If you overmix your pastry dough, it will become tough and dense.

Like all forms of flour, pastry flour must be measured accurately, and the best way to do it is by weight. This is more exact than using cups or other volume measurements, and it ensures that your recipes turn out appropriately. Depending on the manufacturer, a “cup” of pastry flour might weigh 101 to 108 grammes. Using pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour in a recipe, use the entire 120 grammes.

Cutting solid lumps of fat, such as butter, lard, or shortening, into pastry flour is common for baking. Because the fat lumps generate the layers of flakes within the dough, this is the process you’d use to make flaky baked items like pies, pastry dough, and biscuits.

Pastry Flour

Pastry Flour


What does it Taste Like?

The flavour of foods made with pastry flour comes from two sources: one, the other components, such as sugar, salt, and fats, and two, the caramelization of starches that occurs when the dough or batter is cooked (i.e. when it turns brown in the oven). On the other hand, flour isn’t something you’d consume.

Pastry Flour Substitute

Pastry flour and cake flour are weak flours used to make soft baked items, and as previously stated, there is some protein overlap between the two. As a result, cake flour can substitute for pastry flour. All-purpose flour, designed to be used in various baked goods, might also work. It won’t be the most tender outcome, but it will suffice. Alternatively, you might use a mixture of all-purpose and cake flours equally.

Is Cake Flour the Same as Pastry Flour?

Differences Between Cake Flour and Pastry Flour

Cake flour and pastry flour differ primarily in how finely milled the flour is and how much protein it contains.

Flour Texture

Pastry flour is ground very finely, and it’s much finer than all-purpose flours, which are meant to handle many tasks. While all-purpose flour can be used to produce pastry, it will have a thicker texture than pastry made using pastry flour. You’ll probably note that the texture is more bread-like or floury than the crisp airy texture of good pastries. Although pastry flour is adaptable, it will always appear softer and airier than coarser flours, such as all-purpose flour or coarse ground semolina.

Cake flour has a finer grind than regular flour. When you feel cake flour in your palm, one of the first things you’ll probably notice is how soft, cool, and pillowy it is. If you can discover individual grains in this flour, you won’t be able to feel them. Even after sitting in a heated atmosphere, the increased surface area of the flour makes it feel quite cool or even cold. Those characteristics apply to pastry flour as well as all-purpose flour. When it comes to cake flour, though, it’s a different story. It’s much finer ground, so it’s even softer, cooler, and pillowy.

Protein Content

The protein in flour is what gives baked foods their flexibility and texture.

You look for pasta flours with a high protein (gluten) concentration, and why semolina flour is popular for crusty bread, pizza crusts, and pasta but not so much for pie crusts. A pastry is a pie crust. Even though it’s a solid and structured pastry, it’s designed to be light and buttery in most circumstances. Pie crusts made with high-protein flour aren’t as light and flaky as regular flour, and the texture will resemble shortbread or a thick cracker in the worst-case situation.

Pastry flours have a lower protein level, mainly because it’s manufactured with wheat varieties that are naturally low in protein. Pastry flour is commonly made from white flour, which has different properties. The differences between white flour and whole wheat flour will be discussed later, as they significantly impact the results you can expect from your flour.

Little protein indicates a pastry flour is particularly soft in terms of flour. Hard flours have a higher protein concentration, resulting in finished firmer or harder foods. This is significant because a lack of protein chains in your pastry reduces elasticity, making a crisp or airy crust and hardness, which allows for softness. As for the difference in texture, the distinction between pastry flour and cake flour is that cake flour has even less protein than pastry flour. A cake batter made with cake flour and one made with pastry flour yields two different cake textures. Both cakes will be delicious, but the one made using cake flour will be notably lighter and have more air pockets.

Take the same basic cake flour batter and replace it with bread flour. Even though the taste is the same, baked in muffin tins, one batter will most likely be very identifiably cupcakes, while the other batter will most likely feel more textured like a muffin. You shouldn’t use cake flour in place of bread or pasta flour, or even all-purpose flour. Any recipe that calls for kneading will be difficult to make with cake flour since there isn’t enough protein to form protein chains. The primary building component of bread texture is those protein chains.

Does Flour Expire?

Flour has a long shelf life, but it starts to go stale after 3–8 months. Because white flour has a lower fat content, it will last longer, whereas whole-wheat and gluten-free flour would spoil sooner. You may extend the shelf life of flour by properly sealing it, refrigerating, or freezing it. In most cases, eating outdated flour has no negative consequences. “Most of the time, nothing happens other than your baked goods don’t taste nice,” adds Knauer. However, there’s a danger that consuming outdated flour will get you sick.


Whole wheat pastry flour is made from whole grains and low protein content. Many whole-grain cookbooks advise bakers to use this flour since it is softer and finer-textured than conventional whole wheat flour, and baked goods created with it will have a consistency similar to those made with regular white flour. A decent replacement is to use half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour in your recipe. If the package is tightly wrapped, pastry flour can be stored in a cold, dry place for six to eight months, such as a pantry. If you live in a hot or humid climate, seal the unsealed flour bag in a large plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator.