Pastry flour is a high-starch and low-protein flour type that primarily finds use in several baked goods. It comes with a soft texture, which many bakers and users tend to prefer.
There is no doubt that pastry flour has become even more prevalent in today’s cooking space. People are looking to experiment more with components and ingredients, and pastry flour has become a rampant baking component. However, like every other cooking ingredient, you can want to substitute it from time to time.
So, what is the best substitute for pastry flour? Yes, there is. While there are several options available, you will find that all-purpose flour is the best substitute for pastry flour. All-purpose flour contains a similar content of protein, and it has a somewhat similar structure as well. So, it feels almost like you’re using the same thing.
However, there are application methods, which we’ll look into below.
An Overview of Pastry Flour
Pastry flour is a low-protein four variant that is primarily made of soft wheat. It contains about 8 to 9 percent protein, although some might vary as well.
One of the primary reasons why pastry flour has become so popular is its less protein content. With less protein, the flour provides less gluten. This means that you can make pastries that are lighter and which come with a more tender feeling.
Most times, we use pastry flour to make cookies, crusts, pastries, biscuits, and other baked goods. Some bakers also use the flour in making leavened pastries with baking powder or soda. Pastry flour has become less of a component in making pastries that are leavened with yeast. This is primarily because the flour doesn’t have enough protein to create the required elasticity for yeasted baked goods.
Why Replace Pastry Flour?
- You want to change your palette: If you’ve been baking for a long time, you could want to switch your palette and do something different.
- Non-availability for your baking: Sometimes, you could find that pastry flour isn’t available. So, instead of waiting around, you could get a substitute for it and go with that.
- Possible allergies: Although it isn’t so common, some people could be allergic to pastry flour. If that is the case, you will need to find a substitute that works just as well and incorporate it into your baking.
Options for Pastry Flour Substitutes
If you’re looking to find something different, you might want to try any of the following options:
Best Overall Substitute for Pastry Flour: All-Purpose Flour
As explained earlier, all-purpose flour has a significantly similar structure to pastry flour. When done right, you can easily capture the same essence of pastry flour with the all-purpose flour.
To use all-purpose flour, you merely need to combine ⅔ cups of the flour and ⅓ cups of cake flour. Along with the taste profile, you will also be able to get a flour that falls into the pastry flour’s protein range.
Best Substitute Without Cake Flour: Cornstarch
If you don’t have the cake flour, then you can easily use cornstarch. You merely need two teaspoons of cornstarch in a measuring cup. Front here, fill the rest of the cup with all-purpose flour, and make sure to level the top to take out any excess flour.
From there, mix the ingredients to ensure the cornstarch’s proper incorporation, and you’re ready to go.
Best Substitute for Pastry Flour when Making Bread: Bread Flour
Bread flour is actually quite similar to all-purpose flour. The primary difference is in the protein content. Bread flour comes with about 11 to 13 percent protein, which is a higher protein count than all-purpose flour.
In fact, bread four got its name because of its higher amount of protein, which is required in making bread. Thanks to the high protein count, you can make more gluten and give bread dough its elastic and stretchy properties.
Besides bread, you can also use this flour in pizza and other baked foods if you’re looking for a slightly thicker texture than pastry flour.
Best Substitute for Pastry Flour when Making Pasta: Semolina Flour
Semolina flour is a high-gluten variant of flour that has a coarse texture. That texture makes it particularly suited for making pasta. With semolina flour, you can make pasta from scratch. However, note that you can also use it to make bread, couscous, pizza, and cake.
When incorporating semolina flour into any baked goods and their recipes, you can essentially use it like any other flour form. You can combine it with wet and dry ingredients, and you could even use it as a thickener with soups and gravies.
Best Substitute for Pastry Flour when needing Thicker Pastries: Whole-Wheat Flour
If your recipe requires a cup of whole-wheat pastry flour, you could easily incorporate a cup of whole-wheat flour instead. Mix that with one tablespoon of powdered milk, and you have something pretty special.
This combination is pretty great because it provides the protein you need to distinguish between regular flour and pastry flour.