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What Is Pastry Flour?

If you're an avid baker, you know that there are many different types of flour. Pastry flour is one of the most common types of flour used in baking, but what exactly sets it apart from other flours? To ensure that your baked goods have the perfect texture every time, it's important to learn the unique advantages of using pastry flour. We'll explain what pastry flour is, clarify the difference between cake flour and pastry flour, and share a simple substitution for pastry flour for when you don't have it on hand.

What Is Pastry Flour and What Is It Used For?

Pastry flour is flour with around 8-10% protein content, which is less than all-purpose flour’s protein content of 10-12%. While the amount of protein in pastry flour varies from brand to brand, pastry flour will generally have less protein than all-purpose flour. You may also see pastry flour referred to as cookie flour.

What is Pastry 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 crust, pastries, biscuits, cookies, and other light baked goods. Protein helps to give your finished product structure, so flaky or airy recipes will tend to call for lower-protein flour. Using flour with more protein content in place of pastry flour 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 a protein content of 7-8%, cake flour has even less protein than pastry flour. Plus, cake flour is bleached to further 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 in place of pastry flour may cause your baked goods to fall apart from lack of structure.

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.

Pastry Flour Substitute

Substitute Pastry Flour with All-Purpose and Cake Flour

To create the most reliable substitute for pastry flour, combine ½ cup of all-purpose flour with ½ 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 on hand, you can substitute 1 cup of pastry flour for 1 scant (slightly underfilled) cup of all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons of corn starch.


With a protein content that is lower than all-purpose flour but higher than cake flour, pastry flour is ideal for making baked goods like pie dough, cookies, and biscuits. When used in these recipes, pastry flour will help to yield a flaky and light texture. If you don't have pastry flour on hand, refer to our guide and learn how to substitute pastry flour with a mixture of all-purpose flour and cake flour or all-purpose flour and corn starch.

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