Pastry Flour Substitute

Pastry Flour Substitute. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

If a recipe calls for pastry flour, and you don't have any in your pantry, use one of these pastry flour substitutes in its place:

Best Option:

1/2-cup all-purpose flour combined with 1/2-cup cake flour. This will create a flour with a protein content that is very close to that of pastry flour. If you want a more precise match (and don't mind a bit of measuring), use 3/8-cup all-purpose flour and 5/8-cup cake flour.

Still Good:

If you don't have cake flour, use two Tablespoons corn starch, combined with enough all-purpose flour to make a cup. Your baked goods will be a bit tougher (due to the extra protein), but will still be quite good.

Use either substitute to replace one cup of pastry flour. Double or triple this substitute as needed to arrive at the amount of flour your recipe calls for.

What is Pastry Flour Anyway?

It's flour with 8-10% protein. King Arthur's pastry flour has 8% protein. Other brands may have a little more. So, why does any of this matter? Because the amount of protein in the flour you're using plays a big part in how light or dense your baked goods come out. Flours with more protein, make denser,chewier baked goods. Flours with less protein make lighter, airier baked goods. Pastry flour is a relatively low-protein flour that has been specially-formulated for use in things like biscuits, scones -- and as the name hints -- pastries.


So, while a lot of hard-core bakers will swear by the necessity of pastry flour, most home bakers will probably be just as happy with the results they get from all-purpose flour. You can make perfectly good biscuits from all-purpose flour, and you'll save money doing it that way. Specialty flours, like pastry flour cost more -- often a lot more.

Measure Your Flour Properly

If you want light, airy baked goods, without pastry flour, take the time to measure your flour properly. While it's a smidge faster to dig a measuring cup into the bag of flour, you'll put a bunch of extra flour into your recipe, if you do it that way. And nothing makes a cake or biscuit dense faster than too much flour. To match the measurement intended in the recipe, use a spoon to scoop the flour into the measuring cup. Then, level off the top, before adding it to your recipe. This simple skill can turn a good baker into the best of bakers.

More Flour Substitutes

Here are some other flour substitutes you can turn to when a recipe calls for a type of flour that you don't have on hand: 

See Also: How to Store Flour Properly

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