The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Flour for choux pastry?

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nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Flour for choux pastry?

Hi,

what's the right flour to use to make choux pastry, in particular very puffy beignet? I found very divergent opinions on this subject: most people advice to use cake flour, while others recommend to use bread flour.

I can't explain myself how using a high gluten flour can change the result: don't the proteins denature during the initial gelatinization? How can they still form gluten after that?

Yet the only time that I obtained well made beignet I used strong bread flour, so... either it was a case or there must be some scientific explanation of the processes happening during the initial gelatinization.

Thanks,

  Nico

ananda's picture
ananda

Good question Nico,

I have always been taught to use Strong flour in Choux paste.   This is because it will take up more liquid...which is of great importance, as this liquid is egg, which dictates the level of lift in the oven.

Just checking Suas, along with my UK texts, and he agrees with this analysis in "Advanced Breads and Pastries".   However, he still recommends pastry flour arguing that stron flour will toughen the end product and causing mis-shaping.   To me, mis-shaping will only occur if there is insufficient egg in the formula, and I'm with you about protein denaturation.   Proper gelatinisation should de-nature protein.

Take good care

Andy

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Hi Andy, thanks for your reply. I wonder if you ever made beignet with weaker flours to make a comparison?

Actually my beignet came out a bit tougher than expected, but I attributed this characteristichs to over-baking, as I'm used to do... grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

A very interesting subject for me!

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

All of the beignet recipes that I have seen are for a yeasted dough which is deep-fried.  Can you get a similar texture with a baked choux pastry dough?

Paul

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

According to Gisslen [Professional Baking 4th ed.]:

"Pastry flour - Pastry flour is also a weak or low-gluten flour, but it is slightly stronger than cake flour. It has the creamy white color of patent flour rather than the pure white of cake flour. Pastry flour is used for pie doughs and for some cookies, biscuits, and muffins. Pastry flour has a protein content of about 9% and an ash content of about 0.4 to 0.45%."

Wild-east