I confess that I have a flour sieve (sometimes called a sifter) and I have kept it safe in my kitchen drawer. I do not find any reason to use it. Recipe instructions are a bit confusing when it comes to sifting for baking . Some insist you sift for multiple times and others give opposite views. Contrary opinions might make it hard for you to decide whether sifting is necessary?
What Does Sifting Accomplish?
What is sifting? Does it prepare the flour for baking? Sifting is a normal process that is used to break up any lump present in the four. It will aerate flour by using a gadget that looks like a cup and comes with a fine strainer at the one end. The sifted flour is considered good for baking as it will be much lighter than unsifted one. As a result, you can mix it easily with other ingredients while making a dough or performing your cake batter.
If you sift the flour with some other dry ingredients that include cocoa powder, you will find it easier to combine the mixture evenly before mixing them with other ingredients. Another benefit of the sifting flour is that you can measure consistently. There will not be any problem with sifting flour.
When is Sifting Recommended?
Sifting is considered essential to separate things such as chaff or bugs. But you do not need to sift flours always. In most of the cases, it is unnecessary. Many things will depend on the type of flour you are using. Also, some recipes will decide sifting is required or not. So, before planning for sifting, you should check the recipe and the type of flour you are going to use for baking.
Some recipes can benefit from the sifted flour. The flour in cakes with a very delicate and light texture such as angel food, genoise, or sponge need to be sifted to prevent and eliminate the lumps that can weigh down your batter. In these conditions, sifting will be recommended to get a better result.
You can also consider sifting if the flour has been sitting around for a while and it looks like very tightly packed. You can sift the flour before using it for baking. Otherwise, you might measure overly packed cups.
Besides, you should sift flour over the work surface while kneading the dough. It will help to get a thin layer of flour. Too much additional flour is going to make your dough dry or tough.
When is Sifting Unnecessary?
As stated earlier, sifting is not necessary for baking always. As the process is needed to separate the flour from some out things, the flour will decide sifting is required or not. If it has many things, then you will need sifting to separate those things. But some flour like commercial flour is refined and does not require sifting. You can use it without sifting for everyday baking. I merely puff up the refined flour with a spoon, fork, or whisk before measuring and then use a whisk to mix all the dry ingredients for some baking things such as most cakes, muffins, cookies, pie doughs, and quick bread.
What Types of Common Kitchen Ingredients Should Be Sifted Together and Why?
When it comes to the common kitchen ingredients, I will suggest many of dry ingredients that you use for baking. You can take the example of the cocoa powder. You can sift it with flour for baking to get a delicate texture. Now you know when sifting is necessary. Next, we will know how to sift.
If your recipe demands sifting and you are planning to do this, then here is the way to sift:
Check the recipe properly. If it says, X cups sifted flour, and then you will have to sift a lot of flour and then get the measure the required amount. When the recipe says, X cup sifted, you can measure the necessary amount of the flour and then sift it and use the sifted flour.
A sifter can be very helpful if you use it more frequently. In the absence of sifter, you can use a fine-mesh strainer.