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Jan 5, 2010 12:04 PM

Confusion over types of Flour - Cookie recipe question

I am eager to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies whose recipe calls for 8 1/2 oz. cake flour and 8 1/2 oz. bread flour.

However, I only have all-purpose and pastry flour at home. Can I use this combination instead, replacing the cake flour with pastry flour and the bread flour with AP? Or should I use only all-purpose? Also, do I need to change the amounts of either/any?


Thanks in advance - I'm DYING to make this recipe but don't want to mess it up, as the ingredients (chocolate, mainly) are expensive.

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  1. Bread flour has more gluten in it than AP but I suppose this is suppose to compensate for the lack of it in the cake flour. I don't think I'd swap it because there may very well be textural differences but if you need more info on flours, look here:

    1. When I run out of AP flour, I use half cake and half bread flour...I'm wondering if that's why the recipe was written that way!

      I'd use all AP flour.

      1. I wonder if any of the food science hounds can help you out here -- it seems to me that cake flour + bread flour = AP flour, for all intents and purposes. Cake flour has 7.5-9% gluten, bread flour has 13-14% gluten, and AP flour has 10.5% gluten... Doesn't that seem like it's going to work out to about the level of AP flour if you mix cake and bread flours?

        If it were me, I'd make it with 14 oz of AP and 3 oz pastry flour just to nudge the gluten content down a bit, but I'm not of a particularly cautious nature. ;)

        I hope you get some more authoritative advice! :)

        1. I'm assuming it's the NYT chocolate chip cookie recipe? As the breakdown goes, cake is about 8-9% protein, unbleached ap flour is about 12% (though higher for King Arthur), and bread flour is about 14%. If you have corn starch, I'd probably remove about 1-2 tablespoons of flour and replace w/ corn starch. If you don't have corn starch, just remove 1 1/2 or so tablespoons of flour. If you don't, I think it will turn out fine but be more chewy/tough and less soft but not substantially. I haven't done an exact calculation but think that's close enough.

          1. The recipe aims for a mix of puffiness and chewiness. The cake flour adds puffiness:

            "The lower protein cake flour will tie up less moisture making it available for steam production. Steam will lift the batter in the oven producing a fluffy, cake-like batter."

            That's from the transcript of Alton Brown's show on chocolate chip cookies, which explains how a minor change in ingredients (white sugar vs. brown sugar), cake flour vs. bread flour, melted butter vs. creamed butter, produces big changes in the final baked cookie.

            Read more here: