Difference Between Cake Flour and Pastry Flour

Difference Between Cake Flour and Pastry Flour

Choosing the right ingredients for baking is very important, even when it's the flour you choose. Is there a difference between cake flour and pastry flour? Well, let us find the answers in the article below.
Tastessence Staff
What makes us love birthdays and celebrations so much? It's the cake and this yummy delight is a favorite when it comes to home baking. Most of us, whether new to baking or masters at it, know what makes the recipe so perfect. Yes, it is the ingredients, and I must say the most important ingredient in any baking dish is the flour that is used. It is such a basic thing, but if not chosen properly, can spoil many baking experiences. So what do people like us, who are seasonal chefs in the kitchen only for baking, do? Get help and information on the ingredients that you use in the recipe. For example, when baking a cake, having a little knowledge about the ingredients will help a lot, especially when simply following the recipe from a book. Today we have a primary ingredient of baking, that is flour, to learn about. In fact we are going to see about the flour that is used in baking the same category of goodies, but of different variety. It is cake flour and pastry flour that we will learn about. Most of us may think, why would there be a separate flour for pastry and cake? And is there a difference between both flour varieties? Well, yes there is, from the experts and a little research we have compiled some facts on both these flours.

Are Cake and Pastry Flour Different from Each Other
To make it a little more interesting we have gathered facts about both the flours, and to know which one is better, let us just put it like cake flour vs pastry flour. Before we begin, there is one similarity between both these flours, and that is, they both are made from wheat. Simple.

Cake Flour
  • Cake flour is made from the soft quality of wheat. This will give you a very soft texture and relatively soft baked cakes.
  • The protein content in cake flour is 7 to 8%. In fact cake flour contains the least amount of proteins as compared to any other flours.
  • This flour is bleached and this process is what makes the flour soft, by breaking down the proteins in the flour. This bleaching process also makes this flour a little acidic. So it makes a good choice in recipes, where the ratio of sugar to flour is high.
  • This flour is high in starch content and gives a bright white color to the cake. This flour will not typically rise, due to high starch.
  • This makes it ideal for making baked goods, that do not require much stretching and rising. The gluten content is also very less in cake flour. As gluten gives a tough and dense property to the texture of the cake. This makes it perfect for certain recipes like sponge cakes
  • A common cake flour substitute is all-purpose flour and cornstarch in certain quantities. It is usually box packed in small sizes and sold at local grocery stores.
Pastry Flour
  • Pastry flour, though made form the same soft quality wheat will have a more defined texture than cake flour. It is usually made from red winter or soft white winter wheat.
  • It has more protein content, that makes 8.5 to 9%. This makes it suitable for certain recipes like biscuits and pie crusts. It has lesser starch content as compared to cake flour.
  • Pastry flour is not bleached or treated in any way. In comparison to cake flour, it absorbs lesser liquids. It also has higher gluten content than cake flour, giving it more elasticity. This makes it suitable for croissants and puff pastry, where layers of crust are needed.
  • Pastry flour will give a lighter texture to the baked goodies. It is more suitable for recipes like cookies, pastries and muffins.
  • Pastry flour can be substituted with a mixture of cake flour and all-purpose flour.
These were the highlights of the difference between cake flour and pastry flour. The next time you want to go baking, remember to use the most suitable flour for the recipe. And now that you know more than the basic about flour as an ingredient, baking will be fun.
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