Have you ever baked where a recipe calls for pastry flour, but all you have on hand is all-purpose flour?
This can be frustrating, as the two flours vary in terms of usage, especially when it comes to baked goods.
Pastry flour is made from soft wheat and has lower gluten content than all-purpose flour which results in a lighter and more delicate texture.
While there may be times when substitution isn’t an option, nowadays there are plenty of alternatives when it comes to baking with pastry flour that don’t require running out to the store.
Here are five creative substitutes to consider if you find yourself without this special type of flour.
What’s Pastry Flour?
Pastry flour is a type of flour designed for baking pastry items such as cookies, cakes, and pies.
It is made from soft wheat and has a much lower protein content than all-purpose or bread flours.
The lower protein content in the flour helps keep your pastries from becoming too tough and dry.
You can usually find pastry flour at most grocery stores; alternatively, there are some great substitutes that can be used if you don’t have any on hand.
Pastry flour can be used to make all sorts of mouthwatering desserts, including cakes, cookies, pies and other pastries.
Its low protein content means you will get tender crumbly cakes as well as buttery cookies with light crispiness that melt in your mouth.
It stays together well without being too dense and makes a great tool for both beginner and experience bakers.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Pastry Flour
Pastry flour is a low-protein flour made from soft wheat.
It’s used to make cakes, muffins, and other pastries that are light and airy.
If you don’t have pastry flour on hand or altogether avoid using it, there are a few great substitutes that will give you similar results.
1 – All-purpose Flour
All-purpose flour is the most commonly used flour in many households because it is a very versatile ingredient.
It can be used for almost any recipe, including cakes, cookies, and muffins.
The protein content of all-purpose flour varies from about 8% to 11%, and it works well for pastries that need a moderate amount of rise and tenderness.
One cup of all-purpose flour contains approximately 4.25 ounces, or 120 grams, of flour.
To replicate the texture of pastry flour more closely, you may want to take out some wheat bran and germ from all-purpose flour before using it in your recipe.
2 – Cake Flour
Cake flour is the second best substitute for pastry flour.
It has a finer texture and a lower protein content (usually 8-9%) than all-purpose flour, which makes it great for baking delicate cakes and pastries.
You can also use it to make pie crusts – but be aware that it may not produce as flaky a result.
To substitute cake flour for pastry flour, measure out 1 cup of cake flour and remove 2 tablespoons from the measurement, then use in place of 1 cup of pastry flour.
3 – Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour, though not a true substitute, can be used in many recipes for pastries.
Although it contains more gluten than pastry flour and can create denser baked goods, it does add a distinct nuttier flavor if paired with the appropriate ingredients.
When using whole wheat flour, do keep in mind that you’ll need to increase the amount of liquid and fat to get the same results as pastry flour.
This is because whole wheat flour is heavier and drier than pastry flour and requires extra moisture to produce light and delicate pastries.
4 – Mix All-Purpose Flour with Cornstarch
If you’re looking for a simple 1:1 substitution in baking, an all-purpose flour with cornstarch mixture is the way to go.
All-purpose flour contains more protein, which helps create a nice texture and flavor in baked goods.
Cornstarch is cheaper than pastry flour but has less gluten than all-purpose flour resulting in a better texture and mouth feel.
To make this mixture, simply mix ¾ cup of all-purpose flour with ¼ cup of cornstarch for one cup of pastry flour.
Note that this won’t work as well if you are making something like layer cakes or other items that require structure and lift.
If using this combination for sweet recipes, use slightly less sugar than the recipe calls for as the cornstarch will add sweetness to the dish.
5 – Almond Flour with Rice Flour
Almond flour and rice flour can be combined to make a perfect pastry flour substitute.
This combination adds a nutty flavor to your pastries, along with the right structure and texture.
Almond flour contributes sweetness, while rice flour contributes mass, making this mixture ideal for works such as shortbreads.
The ratio of almond to rice flour should be 1:1 or slightly higher in favor of the almond flour.
Remember that you may need to adjust the amount of wet ingredients when working with vegan-friendly substitutes like this one.
When it comes to baking, pastry flour is often the go-to choice for creating tender and flaky pies and sweet treats.
However, if you don’t have pastry flour on hand or cannot find it in your local store, don’t panic.
There are a number of great substitutes that you can use, including all-purpose flour and cake flour.
For cakes, muffins and cookies, white whole wheat flour is an excellent alternative to pastry flour due to its lower protein content and slightly sweeter flavor.
It will yield the same light texture without any detectable change in taste.
Rice or almond flours can also provide similar results when used alone or combined with other gluten-free flours like oat bran or buckwheat.
The bottom line is that while pastry flour may provide the best results for some bakers, there are plenty of substitutes available to get the job done just as well.