Making your own pastry flour is a snap with our recipe and it is much better than store-bought as well as less expensive and healthier. Within minutes, you will have a special flour on-hand to bake your favorite pastries and pies with an incredible tender, light and flaky crust. What’s not to love?
Best Homemade Pastry Flour: An Essential Recipe for Baking
My sweet friends, today I am beyond thrilled to share my favorite recipe for Homemade Pastry Flour with you as part of the introduction to my How To Bake Series. It is a recipe that I have reverse-engineered based on the ratios that top experts in baking recommend for part bleached all-purpose flour and part cake flour (generally, also a bleached flour) to create a Homemade Pastry Flour that is unbleached. Before you begin making this homemade flour blend, I encourage you to read why you should use unbleached flour versus bleached flour in your baking to make an informed decision for yourself, your family and friends.
A few years ago, I had read that award-winning cookbook author Dorie Greenspan recommends a 3:1 ratio of bleached all-purpose flour to cake flour. She stated in a comment, over at Food52 several years ago, “The ratio we used to make pastry flour when I was working with the chefs on Baking with Julia was 3 parts all-purpose flour to 1 part cake flour. Whatever proportions you decide on, just make certain that the cake flour you use is NOT self-rising.”
On the other hand, Rose Levy Beranbaum, in her cookbook, The Pie and Pastry Bible, on page 7 states:
“To make your own pastry flour, if using a scale, do two thirds (bleached all-purpose flour) to one third cake flour by weight. If measuring by volume, use the following proportions: 4 cups of bleached all-purpose flour, measured by dip and sweep, and 2¼ cups of cake flour, measured by dip and sweep. (Stir the flours lightly before measuring and mix them well after combining to blend them evenly.) This will make 6¼ cups of pastry flour (almost 2 pounds).”
Meanwhile, others suggest a 1:1 ratio of bleached all-purpose flour to cake flour. So, which recommendation to follow? Honestly, it depends on the baker and the application as well as the desired result. So, I forged ahead taking everything into consideration and developed this outstanding recipe for Best Homemade Pastry Flour.
Based on Rose’s recipe and measurements, and given that the dip and sweep method she recommends generally yields 125 grams of flour by weight per cup, it is easy to discern that she calls for a total of 500 grams of bleached all-purpose flour (since 4 cups times 125 grams each equals 500 grams). She then calls for 2¼ cups of cake flour that generally measures 112 grams per cup for a total of 252 grams or so. This yields between 1½ to 2 pounds of homemade pastry flour. Essentially, Rose uses a ratio of 2:1 when measuring by volume—two parts bleached all-purpose flour to one part cake flour. She then blends them thoroughly before storing and using in recipes. In the end, my recipe for Homemade Pastry Flour was influenced and inspired by Rose’s ratio.
The secrets to my recipe are that I employ the use of Homemade Cake Flour using unbleached all-purpose flour versus using bleached cake flour. In addition, I use tapioca flour (also known as tapioca starch) versus the conventional corn starch used by many home bakers as well as professional bakers to make Homemade Cake Flour.
Relying on my gluten free baking experience and knowledge of the properties of these flours, I decided to add tapioca flour, a pure starch, to the unbleached all-purpose flour. Tapioca flour (also known as starch) effectively reduces the overall amount of gluten (protein) in the flour which helps create light and tender pastries as well as flaky pie crusts. Tapioca flour is a much better choice over corn starch and keeps the recipe corn-free. Corn is a major food allergen and this blog is all about supporting the food allergic community wherever it can. In fact, I was once very allergic to corn myself and have great empathy for those on a restricted diet that must eliminate all corn and corn-derived additives containing sulfites.
My friends, in addition, I am all about making things simple—especially for you in your own baking. In fact, I am all about using the purest ingredients in baking. Therefore, I set out to develop a Homemade Pastry Flour that is the absolute best when it comes to both ease of use and high performance in baking as well as using the finest ingredients.
Furthermore, I wanted the math and measurements to be simple and easy to follow—no matter the size of batch you wish to prepare and no matter which method of measuring flour you prefer. In fact, all of the math has been done for you in both volume measurements when using cups or by weight if using a kitchen scale. Simply read in the Recipe Notes section at the bottom of the recipe under Variations to prepare either a double-batch or large batch. Having a large batch of this Homemade Pastry Flour prepared in advance of summer berry pie baking or autumn and holiday baking is a considerable time-saving benefit and worth the upfront effort.
As for this recipe for Homemade Pastry Flour, it creates the perfect amount for preparing our Perfect Flaky All-Butter Pie Crust Pastry recipe that yields a double-crust. In fact, I will be posting that recipe next as well as my recipe for Best Ever Flaky Butttermilk Pie Crust Pastry as part of my new How To Bake Series. Here at Montana’s Trail House, we’ve got all bases covered!
Meanwhile, below is a simple yet helpful guide to know the levels of protein in each type of flour commonly used in baking. Of course, these amounts can very greatly by brand. Not only that, the protein content in these flours can vary by region and also by country.
- Bread Flour: 14 to 16%
- Whole Wheat: 14%
- White Whole Wheat: 13%
- Type 00 Flour: 11%
- All-Purpose Flour: 10 to 12%
- Pastry Flour: 9%
- Cake Flour: 7 to 8%
Now that protein levels can be easily recognized in these flours by referencing this small chart, it is easy for novice bakers to understand that a baker would not use bread flour to bake cakes or cupcakes and pie crust. Pastry flour, however, is ideal when baking light and flaky biscuits, tender muffins and cookies as well as puff pastry.
Essentially, the amount of protein in a given flour being used is key in how light or dense, or even tough, home-baked goods turn out. Flours rich in protein create dense and chewy baked goods while flours with less protein create light and airy baked goods. Since pastry flour is relatively low in protein yet higher in starch, it is ideal for making scones and pastries for example.
Pastry flour is very similar to regular all-purpose flour, however it contains only 8 to 10% protein versus 10 to 12%. It is also similar to, but definitely not the same as cake flour. In addition, pastry flour falls right smack between all-purpose flour and cake flour—which is why the blending of both of these flours together is so ideal when making a quick and easy Homemade Pastry Flour.
While many professional bakers swear by the use of pastry flour, most home bakers will find themselves quite happy and content with their results when baking with all-purpose flour. However, I encourage you to make your own Homemade Pastry Flour and use it in your baking to make your own decision on which flour is best in your applications. Since pastry flour can be rather expensive and sometimes hard to find, it is an excellent idea to make your own at home for seemingly pennies. It’s also healthier since you can make it without using bleached all-purpose flour and bleached cake flour.
Although I have not tested my gluten free variation for this recipe using my own GF flour blend, I will be adding it to this recipe soon as an option. So, please stay tuned my GF baking friends.
Happy pie and pastry baking!
Below are Pinterest-friendly sized images to pin at Pinterest!
Best Homemade Pastry Flour
About 2½ cups (300 g)
Making your own pastry flour is a snap with our recipe and it is much better than store-bought as well as less expensive. Within minutes, you will have a special flour on-hand to bake your favorite pastries and pies with an incredible tender, light and flaky crust. What’s not to love?
- 2¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon (289 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons (12 g) tapioca flour (also known as starch)
In a medium to large bowl, whisk together flour and tapioca flour until well blended. Using a sifter or fine-mesh sieve, sift the flour blend several times to evenly distribute the flours.
Transfer flour blend to storage container with airtight lid. Store in cool, dark and dry place.
Homemade Pastry Flour is now ready to use in recipes calling for pastry flour—such as pastry and pie recipes.
Store Homemade Pastry Flour in airtight container in cool, dark and dry place such as a pantry or cupboard. This flour blend will keep for several months and up to one (1) year.
For Double Batch: You will need 4½ cups plus 2 tablespoons (578 g) unbleached all-purpose flour and ¼ cup (24 g) tapioca flour (also known as starch). Makes about 5 cups (about 600 g).
For Large Batch: You will need 9¼ cups (1156 g) unbleached all-purpose flour and ½ cup (48 g) tapioca flour (also known as starch). Makes about 10 cups (about 1200 g).
How to Measure All-Purpose Flour for this Recipe: This tip is provided for bakers who do not own a kitchen scale and will be measuring flour by volume rather than by weight. First, aerate flour by stirring it in the container. Then, simply use the dip and sweep method by dipping a dry measuring cup into the flour and level off the top with a straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) This should yield about 125 grams per 1 cup of flour. Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container.
Montana’s Trail House highly recommends selecting organic ingredients whenever possible.
For this recipe, and all our baking recipes calling for unbleached all-purpose flour, we highly recommend the pure and Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour by Hodgson Mill® because it is naturally white and contains no additives. We also highly recommend Arrowhead Mills™ Organic Tapioca Flour.
Recipe Inspired by: The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum (1998).
Original Recipe Source: MontanasTrailHouse.com
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