Dear Home Ec 101:
What’s the difference between pastry flour and regular flour? I came across this– and looks like it’d be easy enough to do gluten free if I can just figure out which grain would best cross over to pastry flour.
~Wheatless in Wilshire
Supermarkets often carry four kinds of white flour: all-purpose, bread, cake, and self-rising. Pastry flour is often much harder to track down, but can be ordered online in larger quantities. You may have luck finding it in the frou-frou, higher end grocery stores. Just make sure you put your blinders on before entering and try to keep other over-priced goodies from jumping in your cart.
Pastry flour has a lower protein content than bread or all-purpose flour, about 8% – 9%. It contains slightly more than cake flour which runs from 5% – 8%. The protein content of the flour is partly responsible for the soft feel of cake versus the chewy texture of bread. In a pinch it is possible to approximate pastry flour’s protein content by sifting together two parts cake flour to one part all-purpose.
For gluten free pastry flour consider: 1 part rice flour, 1 part fine cornmeal, to 1 part potato flour and experiment with adding xanthan gum until you have the proper texture. (Approximately 1 tsp for every 9oz of flour). It is important to note if you are dealing with a highly allergic individual that xanthan gum may trigger a reaction in those allergic to corn.
Good luck with your gluten free treat.
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