Pastry flour

Joined Mar 3, 2002
How many of you use pastry flour for pie/tart dough? If not what do you use it for if you use it?

Are there any special considerations when using the pastry flour?

Having IMHO "perfected" :lips: my basic pate brisee crust using KA all-purpose flour to a tender, flaky crust, I'm now turning to pastry flour. Recently I was baking pie at my DIL's and couldn't find KA a-p in her town, so I got some of the loose-in-the-bin organic pastry flour at a natural foods store there.

I found it more tender, less flaky, using the same proportions of fat:flour:water and the same basic procedure. It turns out wetter, so I will cut back the water a bit, but I have to report that generally, I think that it's better with the all purpose. Nevertheless, I'd like to play with using pastry flour a bit. After all, my first ever pie crust was like a wooden board. I had to get out the Skilsaw to cut through it. :eek:
Joined Jan 5, 2001
In school, we were taught to use pastry flour too. They said it yields a more tender product. I'm still skeptical though, but haven't exerimented enough with it to give you a definite answer...
Joined Aug 4, 2000
Pastry flour is lower in protein content than typical AP flour. The lower the protein, the less water it requires.
Joined Dec 4, 2001
Also, because of the lower protein content it develops less gluten and therefore makes a more tender crust.
I make my own by mixing APF with cake flour at a ratio of about 3 to 1. It seems to work pretty well.

Joined Mar 12, 2001
i read on a gov. web page that 1 C pastry flour= 7/8C all purpose flour. Gluten content on pastry flour is about 7-9% I think. Bread flour is up to 15%.
Joined Jun 28, 2001
This is a dumb question, but are you sure you bought WHITE pastry flour from the health food store? Every health food store I have been to across the country does not sell white pastry flour, only whole wheat, whether in bulk or in packages on the shelf. So if indeed you bought white pastry flour from a health food store, that would certainly amaze me and please tell me what store you bought it from. If you bought whole wheat pastry flour that would make sense why it didn't work out.
Joined Mar 3, 2002
The store had both organic white pastry flour and whole grain pastry flour. I misspoke when I called it a health food store. It's more of a natural foods store: organic vegetables, etc. Somewhat like a small independent Fresh Fields.

Also, my crust did "work out" in the sense that I got compliments specifically on the crust as well as the fillings. But of course we are all our own severest critics, and I didn't think it was as good as the ones I make with all-purpose flour. It was very tender, but not so flaky. (With the ap flour, the little "cookies" I sometimes make from the leftover dough will puff up to 1/2 - 3/4" .)

Some of the comments from Jill, Jock, & Cocopuffs confirm me in my suspicion that I need to use less water with the pastry flour.

Thank you all for sharing your knowledge with me. It's wonderful to be able to get into these details of materials and techniques.
Joined Jan 15, 2001
I can work with either one professionally, but I prefer unbleached pastry flour. I use it for all our piedoughs, pate sucree, cookies, brownies, bars and some butter cakes.
Joined Mar 3, 2002
Actually, Angrychef, it was organic unbleached. I said white to distinguish it from the whole grain which I also bought some of (yet another misspoke).

BTW, are there any special tips for using the whole grain pastry flour? Half and Half? Do you get a flaky crust from it? Almost any whole wheat pastry I've tasted didn't have a very good texture.

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