I have been wanting to make Canelas but the recipes say pastry flour. What is this and where can I buy it in Australia?
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Pastry flour is a low protein wheat flour, sometimes noted as being from soft wheat, about an 8-9% protien content. For tender baked goods like cakes or pastries, lower protein helps avoid the formation of gluten as you create and work with the dough.
As to where to get it in Australia, I don't have any idea. You can approximate it with the proper mixture of corn starch into all purpose flour. All the conversions I've seen are for US volume measurements, but I think we can construct a metric conversion for you.
All purpose flour is 10-12% protien. So we want to remove some flour and add back a pure starch like corn starch, which I think is called corn flour in the Queens English. This will reduce the total protien percentage of your flour mix. You want to remove an 1/8 of the flour measurement of your recipe and replace that with corn starch. Sift the flour and corn starch together and proceed from there.
Full disclosure. I didn't do the math. I just worked from the ratios used in the US conversion based on cup and tablespoon measurements.
Pastry flour is not necessary; all-purpose will do just fine. There are so many difficulties in perfecting the cannele that the few % of gluten will be the least of your worries. Keep trying and enjoy the experience.