Pastry flour in UK?
Posted: 15 November 2010 07:06 PM   [ Ignore ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  25
Joined  2007-11-18

I’ve recently moved to London and am making sure I have my ducks in a row for Thanksgiving. I snagged several cans of pumpkin at Waitrose today, so things are progressing. My plan is to make the Great Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate Pecan Pie (in a tart shell) from PPB. I’ve made both before with success, and I’m excited that I have access to Lyle’s Golden Syrup for the latter. However, I’m really confused about what to do for pastry flour. In the US, I’ve always done the homemade version with bleached AP and cake flour as Rose describes in PPB. I’ve read about Kate flour, but that seems really focused on cakes. Does anyone have a recommendation for what flour I should use for pie crusts over here? Either a way to treat plain flour or a brand/type of flour to buy. I’ve not seen pastry flour in Sainsbury’s, ASDA, or Waitrose when I’ve looked. Thanks in advance for any advice!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 November 2010 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4781
Joined  2008-04-16

Hopefully UK forum members will chime in soon, but just wanted to add that you don’t need to use Kate flour for pie crust, as pastry flour isn’t bleached.  It is finely milled and low in protein, so look for those characteristics.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Signature 

B&T Blog:  Cultured Butter Recipe

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 November 2010 12:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  25
Joined  2007-11-18
Julie - 16 November 2010 03:58 PM

Hopefully UK forum members will chime in soon, but just wanted to add that you don’t need to use Kate flour for pie crust, as pastry flour isn’t bleached.  It is finely milled and low in protein, so look for those characteristics.

Happy Thanksgiving!

My usual pastry flour blend has been bleached AP and cake flour, both of which are bleached. I guess a finely milled, low-protein, unbleached flour should work, if I can find something like that. Hoping someone has some guidance, otherwise I may just have to guess.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 November 2010 12:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  767
Joined  2007-11-15

I am in the UK, but although I have used ‘Kate’ flour or a combination of our plain flour and potato flour for Rose’s cakes, I have not made any recipes from the Pastry Bible as I haven’t got it.  I do make pastry, and I have always considered my pastry quite good, even though I say it myself, and I use just ordinary plain flour available from any supermarket.  Most recipes here specify plain flour for pastry, even Michel Roux, who I consider the king of pastry chefs.  Whether Rose’s recipes will work as well with plain flour I can’t say, as I haven’t used any of her recipes which specify ‘pastry flour’.  I would try a simple recipe from the book if I had it and see how it works out.  Sorry I can’t be of more help.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 November 2010 06:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  767
Joined  2007-11-15

As a postscript, I have been in touch with a friend who once lived in the US and uses Rose’s P&P Bible, and she says she found no difference between using pastry flour and UK plain flour.  The results were just as good with the plain flour as with pastry flour!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 November 2010 07:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  25
Joined  2007-11-18

Thanks, jeannette. Anyone else have any thoughts to chime in with? In checking the protein percentages Rose gives in PPB, it appears that US pastry flour a bit lower in protein than UK plain flour, but perhaps not so much as to be terribly problematic? I’ve just had such brilliant success with the bleached AP + cake flour blend that I’m worried a change in the equation will result in something not as good

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 November 2010 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4781
Joined  2008-04-16

Mitch, I’ve made Rose’s cream cheese flaky crust with U.S. AP flour, which has a protein content of 10-11%, a full point or two above pastry flour.  The result has still been wonderful, the only thing is to be extra careful about working the dough as little as possible, and to allow for some shrinkage of the sides, especially if blind baking.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you could probably come up with a formula to cut the protein of UK plain flour with corn starch or something similar.

 Signature 

B&T Blog:  Cultured Butter Recipe

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 November 2010 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  767
Joined  2007-11-15

I have made the cream cheese pastry from Rose’s recipe on her Blog, with UK plain flour, and it is one of my favourite recipes for a pastry dough.  I wouldn’t be afraid of using UK plain flour for your pastry, try it and see!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 November 2010 04:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  25
Joined  2007-11-18

I also love the cream cheese pastry and was planning to make it for at least the chocolate pecan pie. I guess if there’s been success with UK plain flour on that one, I’ll go with that. jeannette, do you use any particular brand? I’m so used to following Rose’s advice and buying Gold Medal or Pillsbury all the time that I’d love a brand recommendation. I know that store brands in the US can be very inconsistent, so I’m unsure if I should go with the generic Sainsbury’s stuff or spring for a name brand.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 November 2010 05:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  767
Joined  2007-11-15

Honestly Mitch, I never bothered about looking at the different qualities of flours until I started baking from Rose’s books!  I used to buy whatever was available and I can’t say I’ve ever noticed any differences in the results of my baking.  However, I do now look at the protein values on the packets and try to match them with the recipe I am using.  I suppose the most well-known and respected flour brand is McDougall’s but that is not to say you won’t get good results with other brands.  It doesn’t do any harm to try whatever is on sale at your local supermarket, none of them are going to be total failures.  I have seen the flour from LIDL recommended on some baking websites, and that is one of the cheapest brands on sale here!  I think technique is more important in the making of pastry than the flour used.  That is just my personal opinion, you must understand!  I’m sure some would disagree with me.  I have made many of Rose’s cake recipes just with plain flour and they have still turned out really well, obviously they would be even better with ‘cake flour’ but you would have to have a side by side comparison , I think. to tell the difference.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 November 2010 05:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  25
Joined  2007-11-18

Thanks, jeannette. It’s likely much less of an issue with pastry than with bread, where something having less protein content than you’d expect can be disastrous. I need to get back into bread baking soon, but I won’t mind a few missteps there, as I won’t be taking them to a potluck to share with a bunch of other people.

Profile
 
 
   
  Back to top