The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Can I soften whole wheat flour to make whole wheat pastry flour?

dolcebaker's picture

Can I soften whole wheat flour to make whole wheat pastry flour?

I have recipes that call for whole wheat pastry flour, I have whole wheat flour, bread flour, cake flour and AP flour along with potatoe and corn starch.  Can I make something equivalent to the whole wheat pastry flour by combining the whole wheat flour and one of the starches to soften it?  


PaddyL's picture

I don't know about softening ww flour, but someone, I think it was Rose Beranbaum, suggests sifting whole wheat flour to get most of the bran out.

dolcebaker's picture

Thank you for the reply, but I want the bran in it, it is the reason to use whole wheat flour.  Rose was I think making it work in a formula for regular all purpose or something.  The recipe's I read were written for whole wheat pastry flour, so I guess the bran is already figured in for water, etc.   My customer wants products that contain fiber.  

Crider's picture

I've seen whole wheat pastry flour in the bulk bins at health food stores. It is milled quite differently than the usual whole wheat flour in that the bran is also milled very fine. So check your local health food store.

subfuscpersona's picture

...should be milled from *soft* wheat. Most whole wheat flour is made from hard wheat.

You could try mixing whole wheat flour from hard wheat with unbleached all-purpose flour if you're not adverse to using some white flour. Maybe try 50/50 (by weight, if possible).

What recipes are you using that call for whole wheat pastry flour?

dolcebaker's picture

I do some baking for an adult day center and was asked to do muffins, etc with extra fiber, low or no sugar for diabetics, etc. for breakfast/ morning snack.  When I started looking at diabetic and healthy items for a muffin or other pastry items some had 'whole wheat pastry flour' as the flour.  I was thinking gluten content of flours is the main difference because it is already taking the extra bran into account.   But then I have never bought/used whole wheat pastry flour so I wasn't sure.    I am thinking the gluten in whole wheat fl is around 12-14 and pastry around 8-9?  So I thought just substituting a starch (corn or potato) would help to lower the gluten content??  I seemed to remember once reading something about that.

dghdctr's picture

As has been mentioned already, whole wheat pastry flour is milled from low-protein, "soft" wheat.  Taking a higher protein WW flour and cutting it with softer white flour might still give you a product you like (or even prefer), but it won't be the same as whatever would have been produced with WW pastry flour.  Not only would the levels of bran and germ be very different after mixing them, but the type of gluten in hard wheat is actually tougher and less extensible than that in soft wheat.

Carol Field suggested using graham flour if WW pastry flour cannot be found, but I've never tried it, so I'm not sure if that would work well, and graham flour might be even harder to find than WW pastry flour.

Have you tried visiting a Whole Foods Market to get the WW pastry flour?  They usually have pre-packaged brands like Arrowhead Mills or Bob's Red Mill, and they often have it in their bulk food bins.

-- Dan DiMuzio

mimifix's picture

I bake a lot with whole wheat pastry flour. There have been times when I've run out and was forced to substitute but nothing ever worked quite as well. Hard wheat flour is never a good substitution because of the reasons stated above. Are you having trouble sourcing it or do you just want to avoid purchasing/storing another ingredient?

jstreed1476's picture

Two recipes in which I've used ww pastry flour are Hokkaido Milk Loaf (as a sub for white cake flour) and Irish Soda Bread. Both turned out great--anecdotally, better than other bakes of those breads with substitutes. Can't really say whether the success was due to that one ingredient, but I liked the results enough to make a note on my recipes.

dolcebaker's picture

Unfortunately my local natural food store does not carry the bulk form of the flour, I have to look at their bags.. but they are expensive and I might be able to get it online cheaper.  They aren't all that accomodating either.  I happen to live about 2 hours from the closest Whole Food Mkt and about 1+ hour from another natural food store, co-op,  that I think does have it in bulk.  

From what I am reading I might be better off just using the cake flour I have and maybe swap out a 1/2 C or so of the whole wheat so I have some of the fiber.  


Elly May's picture
Elly May


I just tried this for making cake donuts and it worked just fine. So....

1/2 C., wwf + 1/2 C., cake flour = 1 Cup whole wheat pastry flour.

I don't know about using starch but I think the same formula would work with rice flour or Tokyo flour. Tokyo flour is at any Asian grocery  store and I got the Big white colored bag that has a pen/ink style red chrysanthamum on the front. Also  the flour called Ban Bao which is what is used to make those wonderful light and airy steamed cake like dumplings. Not the Dim Sum noodley dumplings. I discovered these flours because a recipe right here in Fresh Loaf for Mexican Coffee Buns called for Tokyo flour and after searching the web over the next couple days, finding the properties of Tokyo flour..I found out it's actually really easy to find and isn't expensive. I did finally find the Tokyo one but not anything smaller than 25 pounds.