Pastry flour & Cake flour

31
10
Joined Dec 1, 2009
Is there a real big difference between pastry and cake flour? If I use pastry flour for pie crust instead of all-purpose will it change the texture of the crust.
 
108
10
Joined Aug 7, 2009
pastry flour has less gluten then cake flour . gluten provides structure to the cake/bread. the lower the gluten then the lighter and fluffier the texture it tends to give on the product.
 
6,367
128
Joined Feb 1, 2007
pastry flour has less gluten then cake flour

How can that be? They're both milled from the same soft winter wheat. And they're milled much more finely than all purpose (Swans Down claims 27 times more finely).

I was always under the impression that they were just different words for the same product.
 
8,550
207
Joined Feb 13, 2008
Throughout most of America cake flour is 5% - 8% protein, pastry flour is 8% - 9%, and AP flour is 9% - 12%.

For my money, pastry and softer AP flours are best for pie crusts. Cake flour is too soft. Hard AP and bread flours are too hard. Pastry flour is also very good for biscuits; and to my mind it's the softness of the flour that distinguishes "Southern" biscuits from the generic.

I make my own pastry flour by mixing Swan's Down (skosh less than 7%) with King Arthur AP (un petit peu more than 11%), 50/50. Its close enough for government work. Another way to "convert" AP to pastry or cake flour is by subbing corn starch (0%) for some of the AP.

BDL
 
108
10
Joined Aug 7, 2009
*shrugs* maybe there are several classes of winter wheat that are grown at different temperatures which may explain different gluten levels.
 
1,839
11
Joined May 29, 1999
cake flour is processed with cholorine gas which "fractures" if you will, the surface of the starch allowing it to take on more moisture - making it High Ratio. ( great for a roux )
This will also help it to tend toward an upward movement while baking while pastry flour tends more toward spread and does not take on as much moisture.

Pastry flour instead of AP flour will lead to a more tender product.

Hope this helps!
 
31
10
Joined Dec 1, 2009
Thank you everyone for all the information. I have learned more here than reading my baking books. That only problem now is my husband is going to steal my cake flour to make gumbo. :)
 
31
10
Joined Dec 1, 2009
He makes fantastic gumbo but there is only four of us and he makes enough for fifty.
 
44
12
Joined Aug 8, 2010
Cake flour "and" pastry flour are both "soft" flours containing lower amounts of protiens and thus produce less gluten which results in a more tender product. Harder flours such as straight flour, pattent and clear flour are high protien/gluten producing flours suited for crusted breads. General purpose flour is formulated to be slightly weaker than bread flours (hard) so that it can be used in pastries as well. A professional baker however, prefers to use flours that are formulated for specific purposes because these give the best results.

The difference between "pastry" flour and "cake" flour is that pastry is slightly harder and is used for pie doughs and some cookies, biscuits and muffins. Using pastry flour instead of "all purpose" or "general purpose" flour will deffinately result in a different texture... a better one!
 

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