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Gluten Free Pastry Flour

February 26, 2021
At a Glance

Summary

This recipe for gluten free pastry flour is built by adding two simple ingredients, cornstarch and milk powder, to our basic all purpose gluten free flour blend. Use it in place of a basic GF flour blend in all your gluten free pastry for superior tenderness and flakiness.

Prep

5 minutes

Rating

 5/5 (5 votes)
Print
Gluten Free Pastry Flour

This gluten free pastry flour blend is a lightened and enriched version of our all purpose gluten free flour blend. Use it in everything from gluten free pie crust and scones to biscuits and puff pastry. You can even make it dairy-free!

Glass bowl filled with white gluten free pastry flour and a whisk

Why use gluten free pastry flour in baking pastry?

Whenever I make gluten free pastry, not in recipe development but in my life, and for myself and my family, I use this recipe for gluten free pastry flour. My two basic recommended all purpose gluten free flour blends are Better Batter (the original blend) and Cup4Cup.

I almost always use Better Batter in my everyday baking. It is an all purpose flour, and isn’t designed specifically for pastry or any other specialty application.

Cup4Cup is, at base, a pastry flour. It has a lot of starch, and a lot of milk powder. If you use it (or my mock Cup4Cup blend), then that’s your pastry flour, just as it is.

But using Better Batter and building on it to make cake flour (with cornstarch and salt) or pastry flour (with cornstarch and milk powder) simplifies my baking life. And simplicity is always welcome.

You’ll notice that most of my recipes for different types of pastry here on the blog call for an all purpose gluten free flour, not for pastry flour. Sometimes, I’ll add cornstarch and milk powder as additional ingredients, but often I don’t.

Using an all purpose GF flour in most recipes keeps things simpler and more approachable—and it works. But if you want to take your pastry-baking to the next level, and do it easily, use this formula.

This way, you’ll turn Better Batter into pastry flour. Then, use that in place of Better Batter in all types of pastry recipes here on this site that call for an all purpose gluten free flour, like the ones below.

You must use a kitchen scale

Building any sort of blend requires you to use a digital kitchen scale for precise measurements. Volume measurements are inherently unreliable from unavoidable human error and lack of standardization in volume measuring tools like cups.

For consistent results in baking, you need the right ingredients—measured accurately. The flour blend you use in any recipe is the foundation of your success. It must be measured right.

How to use gf pastry flour

In conventional baking, pastry flour has less protein (in the form of gluten) than all purpose flour. That makes more tender baked goods.

In gluten free baking, our flour blend has protein from rice flour, but it also has xanthan gum as a binder. That’s why an all purpose flour like Better Batter performs like an all purpose flour.

But rather than playing with all the proportions of Better Batter, here we add more starch to lighten the blend. And we add milk powder to soften it and create browning and flakiness.

Make classic gluten free pie crust

A pastry brush on raw pie crust

Our most classic gf pie crust is made with gluten free pastry flour, baking powder, salt, cold butter, and ice water. If you watch the how-to video in this post, you’ll see me make the pastry flour, and then the raw pie crust.

Above, you see the bottom crust for our gluten free apple slab pie. Both recipes call for an all purpose gluten free flour blend, but ideally you’d use pastry crust.

Pastry crust will enhance every aspect of a light and flaky crust that browns beautifully and is tender in the center. Of course, you’ll still have to use the proper cold ingredients and handle them with a light touch, as with all pastry.

Make laminated gluten free biscuits

A close up of a layered biscuit with a brown top

These gluten free buttermilk biscuits are made by laminating the dough similarly to how you would make puff pastry. Lamination refers to the process of folding a packet, or chunks, of butter into flour, over and over to create the layers that you see in the biscuit above.

You can make this recipe, like the others, with a classic all purpose gluten free flour blend. But if you instead make it with pastry flour, your biscuits will be both tender and more flaky.

Of course, pastry flour is perfect for our gluten free drop biscuits, too. Just replace both the all purpose gluten free flour blend and the cornstarch in that recipe with this pastry flour blend, gram for gram.

Make a gluten free puff pastry tart

Making gluten free puff pastry is a snap, when you have the right recipe. If you've had trouble understanding the butter packet, or the "turns" that create all those flaky layers, click through for a video that shows you exactly how to do it. Easily!

The ultimate laminated gf pastry dough is gluten free puff pastry. The simple apple tart above is made with a small sheet of puff pastry that’s been scored, docked, and baked until golden brown and super flaky.

Making puff pastry is not difficult, but it does take time—even though most of the time is inactive time. You have to chill the dough in the refrigerator after each step, in between each “turn.”

The very idea of puff pastry can be very intimidating to make from scratch, so the flour I called for is an all purpose gluten free flour. It makes a lovely puff pastry—but all its best qualities are enhanced with pastry flour instead.

Make simple gluten free scones

A close up of an iced vanilla scone with a cup of coffee on a plate

These petite gluten free vanilla scones are made with a bit less butter than usual for a scone, but they also have an egg in the dough. The egg adds richness, and also structure to the scones.

This recipe calls for all purpose gluten free flour, plus dry milk powder and cornstarch. I often include the elements of pastry flour (cornstarch, milk powder) as separate ingredients, because the mention of “pastry flour” can feel overwhelming.

In any recipe that calls for these ingredients separately, you can replace all of those ingredients with pastry flour, gram for gram. So in these scones, that would mean 284 grams total gluten free pastry flour (227 g + 30 g + 27 g). That’s only slightly more than 2 cups of pastry flour.

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy

In place of the cow’s milk powder in this recipe for gluten free pastry flour, you can use powdered nondairy milk. I like Native Forest brand coconut milk powder best.

If you’d like to avoid milk powder entirely, you can use superfine blanched almond flour. You’ll need different proportions. For one cup of nondairy gluten free pastry flour, the proportions are:

  • 105 grams Better Batter all purpose gluten free flour blend (75% of total)
  • 18 grams cornstarch (13% of total)
  • 17 grams superfine blanched almond flour (12% of total)

Corn

If you can’t have cornstarch, you can try using arrowroot or even more potato starch (not potato flour).

 
Glass bowl with black mixing spoon and lumpy raw pastry dough

Words gluten free pastry flour with images with pastry dough in a bowl, pastry flour in a bowl and an apple pastry tart

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Yield: 2 cups (280 g) flour (easily multiplied)

Ingredients

Special equipment
Simple digital kitchen scale

Ingredients
224 grams (mock) Better Batter all purpose gluten free flour (80% of total) (See Recipe Notes)

28 grams cornstarch (10% of total)

28 grams dry milk powder (10% of total) (See Recipe Notes)

Directions

  • To make a gluten free flour blend of any kind, you will need a simple digital kitchen scale. Turn the scale on, and switch to grams (from pounds) if necessary by pressing the appropriate button on your scale.

  • Place a large bowl on the scale and press “tare” to zero out the weight of the bowl. Add the Better Batter (or mock Better Batter blend) to the bowl, bit by bit, until the scale display reads 224 grams. This first ingredient can be added quickly and without much care, since you can remove some flour if you add too much.

  • Press the “tare” button to zero out the weight of the Better Batter flour blend. Add the cornstarch, bit by bit, until the scale display reads 28 grams.

  • Press the “tare” button to zero out the weight of the cornstarch. Add the milk powder, bit by bit, until the scale display reads 28 grams.

  • Whisk vigorously to combine very well. Use in a recipe like pie crust, or place in a lidded container and store in a cool, dark place until you’re ready to use it to make pastry.

Love,
Nicole

  • Caroline Good
    April 19, 2021 at 2:33 PM

    Wow! Thank you SO MUCH for the clear explanations and directions/ingredients for converting AP flour to cake flour and pastry flour. I’ve searched for a simple, clear explanation and shame on me!, I should have just started here. :-) Wishing you continued success!

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 19, 2021 at 3:10 PM

      My pleasure, Caroline. I’m afraid it took me a bit too long to spell it all out than it should have. Glad it’s useful.

  • Cheri Seli
    April 3, 2021 at 6:06 PM

    Thank you so much, Nicole! I didn’t expect to hear back on a Saturday afternoon!
    I’ve made that note in the biscuit recipe ~ can’t wait to give them a try. Southern girl that I am, I’ve really missed biscuits!

    Have a great weekend.

  • Cheri Seli
    April 3, 2021 at 4:46 PM

    I made your GF Pastry flour and want to use it in biscuits, using your GF Biscuits/Extra Flaky recipe. Using the pastry blend, do I omit the milk powder and cornstarch from the biscuit recipe? Or do I need the additional? Sorry, but thanks for the help.

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 3, 2021 at 5:01 PM

      Hi, Cheri, You’ll add up the entire weight of flour, milk powder, and cornstarch in the biscuit recipe, and use the pastry flour blend for that entire amount (by weight). So in that recipe in particular, that would be 228 + 26 + 27 = 281 grams total (basically 2 cups (280 g)) gluten free pastry flour, and don’t add extra cornstarch or milk powder. I hope that helps!

  • Elaine
    March 21, 2021 at 3:21 PM

    Nicole, Brilliant! Thanks for this recipe to turn Better Batter/Mock Better Batter into Pastry Flour. It saves me from making two gf flour mixes. On another note, I have adverse effects when using xanthan gum so I substitute konjac powder for xanthan gum in your recipes and I’m good to go with no gastric distress.

    • Nicole Hunn
      March 21, 2021 at 4:00 PM

      Hi, Elaine, I’m so glad you enjoy the convenience of modifying mock Better Batter a bit to make gluten free pastry flour. And I’m extremely intrigued by your use of konjac powder. I simply can’t get on board with psyllium (no matter what, its odd taste shines through for me, and that’s a hard no!), but I’ve long sought a true xanthan gum/guar gum alternative. Thank you for sharing your success!

  • Cheri
    March 9, 2021 at 9:51 PM

    For the milk powder, have you ever tried dry buttermilk powder? How did it work?
    Thanks for all the great GF recipes and tips.

    • Nicole Hunn
      March 10, 2021 at 8:18 AM

      Buttermilk powder adds an unwelcome acidity, Cheri. I don’t recommend using it instead of milk powder in a flour blend.

  • KANEEZ FARID
    March 5, 2021 at 8:59 AM

    Hi Nicole,
    Thank you for the response to my pectin post. I will look into this. Also, is there a non dairy replacement for the whey protein isolate used in your bread flour? Thank you.

    • Nicole Hunn
      March 5, 2021 at 9:29 AM

      Please use the search function to find my in-depth post on gluten free bread flour, Kaneez. But the short answer is: not a very good one, no.

  • Kaneez
    March 3, 2021 at 11:35 PM

    Hi Nicole,

    Thank you for your recipes. For the pectin powder , do you use Bernardin brand or can I use one without any sugar in the ingredients?? Thank you.

    • Nicole Hunn
      March 4, 2021 at 7:16 AM

      Hi, Kaneez, you actually must use one that doesn’t have any sugar or added ingredients. Just the pure powder. I only know of one brand that qualifies, called Pomona (discard the calcium packet). But perhaps there are others somewhere. Please see the details on my mock Better Batter in that post.

  • Leslie
    February 28, 2021 at 10:56 AM

    Dear Nicole, I really appreciate all the effort that I see in the development of your recipes, although I’m not on a doctor ordered gluten free diet , I do see the benefits. I currently am diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and some with this thyroid condition swear by the gluten free diet. Right now the transition is challenging since I have a husband that thinks some gluten-free recipes I make are too binding or make him feel too bloated. I was wondering if there are significant calorie differences between gluten free baking and non gluten? And I’ve heard one needs to up the water intake with eating gluten free because it has higher fiber content. Do you agree? All your recipes look really appetizing and I try them all the time. Keep up the great work!

    • Nicole Hunn
      February 28, 2021 at 1:05 PM

      I’m afraid I really don’t feel comfortable providing any nutritional advice, Leslie. I can tell you that there’s nothing about gluten free baking that necessarily requires more sugar or fat, if that’s what you’re asking. Just properly balanced recipes, which I provide. You may be thinking of packaged goods, since there’s a fair amount of noise about gluten free packaged goods not containing “enriched” flour like conventional ones. But enriched packaged products are not a significant source of nutrition.

  • Lissa
    February 28, 2021 at 10:31 AM

    Under the laminate biscuits, you say the laminate dough is made by folding chunks of flour into flour. I think you may mean butter. If you want me to delete this comment just let me kniw

    • Nicole Hunn
      February 28, 2021 at 1:02 PM

      Ugh you’re 100% right, Lissa! I’m so grateful you mentioned that, and I’m not ashamed of an honest mistake so no need to delete. Thanks!

  • Susan
    February 26, 2021 at 4:21 PM

    Can whey powder be substituted for dry milk powder? I always seem to taste the dry milk powder when I use it in baking, but do not taste the whey powder.

    • Nicole Hunn
      February 26, 2021 at 5:03 PM

      I’m honestly not sure, Susan. It’s a good question. Whey powder has a different chemical composition, and I worry that it would make a difference in higher amounts. Maybe try with just 2 cups, make some pie crust, and see if you like it!

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