Everything You Need to Know About Pastry Flour

It's no secret for passionate bakers that many types of flour are available for various baking needs. Pastry flour, in particular, is a popular choice among bakers, given its low protein content. Understanding the distinctive benefits of using pastry flour is crucial for achieving the ideal texture in your baked goods. We'll define pastry flour, distinguish it from cake flour, and provide a convenient alternative for when you run out of pastry flour.

What Is Pastry Flour?

What is Pastry Flour

Pastry flour is flour with around 8-10% protein content, which is less than the 10-12% in all-purpose flour. While the amount of protein in pastry flour varies from brand to brand, pastry flour typically has less protein than all-purpose flour. You may also see some bakers refer to pastry flour as cookie flour.

Pastry Flour Uses

The more protein your flour has, the more dense or chewy your baked goods will be. Because of its comparatively low protein content, pastry flour is ideal for making pie crusts, biscuits, cookies, French pastries, and other flaky baked goods. Protein helps to give your finished product structure, so flaky or airy recipes tend to call for lower-protein flour. Using a different type of flour with a higher protein content could make your baked goods tougher or chewier than desired.

Is Pastry Flour the Same as Cake Flour?

No, cake flour and pastry flour are not the same. With 7-8% protein content, cake flour has even less protein than pastry flour. Plus, cake flour is bleached during milling to weaken its proteins. As a result, cake flour is best for making ultra-light baked goods, such as angel food cake and chiffon cake. Using cake flour instead of pastry flour may cause your baked goods to fall apart from lack of structure. Be sure to use a food scale when measuring either type of flour to get the most accurate measurement.

Pastry Flour Substitute

Pastry Flour Substitute

If you need a substitution for pastry flour, there are a few alternatives that you can use. However, these options are not guaranteed to serve as a perfect substitute for pastry flour, so there is a chance that they will produce a different texture than your recipe intends.

Substitute Pastry Flour with All-Purpose and Cake Flour

To create the most reliable substitute for pastry flour, combine 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour with 1/2 cup of cake flour for every 1 cup of pastry flour needed.

Substitute Pastry Flour with All-Purpose Flour and Corn Starch

If you don’t have cake flour, you can substitute 1 cup of pastry flour for 1 scant (slightly underfilled) cup of all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons of corn starch.


Pastry flour is a versatile ingredient perfect for creating baked goods such as pie dough, cookies, and biscuits. It has a protein content lower than all-purpose flour and higher than cake flour. This unique balance makes pastry flour an excellent choice for achieving a flaky and light texture in your baked treats. If you don't have pastry flour readily available, you can consult our helpful guide on substituting it with a blend of all-purpose flour and cake flour or all-purpose flour and corn starch.

Posted in: Bakeries|Kitchen & Cooking Tips|By Christine Potts
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