Sifting flour may seem like an unnecessary step that you’re likely to skip when baking, especially if you’re crunched for time. It makes a mess, you don’t even know why you “need” to sift, and you don’t have a proper sieve anyways. Forget that.
Well, as silly as it might seem, we’re here to tell you that sifting really can make all the difference in your baking. Let’s break down why sifting is important and how to do it the right way – even if you don’t have a sieve!
Sifting is important in your baking for a few reasons. First of all, the obvious one, sifting helps to break up clumps in your flour. These lumps are common and often keep the baked good for cooking just right. Do you really want to bite into a piece of cake with a big, uncooked flour lump inside? We didn’t think so.
If you’re mixing several dry ingredients (which you usually are) like baking powder with your flour, sifting helps to evenly mix these ingredients, distributing them throughout the batter. Think of it this way: if you only have baking powder distributed in one area of your baked good, the rest of your dessert isn’t going to look so hot.
Sifting also brings air into the flour, making your end result lighter and fluffier. And we all want that.
HOW TO SIFT WITH A SIEVE
If you have a sieve, good for you! You’re that much closer to above-and-beyond baking. If you’re new to the sifting world, it’s very easy to use a sieve:
STEP 1: Place a piece of parchment paper under your bowl to keep things clean.
STEP 2: Fill your sieve 3/4 of the way full with flour. If this isn’t all the flour you’ll be using, that’s okay, you can sift in batches.
STEP 3: Either shake your sieve or turn the handle slowly to allow the flour to sift through into the bowl beneath. If you have to sift twice (it should say in the recipe) repeat these simple steps.
Now your flour is the perfect texture for baking!
HOW TO SIFT WITHOUT A SIEVE
No sieve? No problem. There are a few different ways you can prep your flour for baking without this equipment.
Try a whisk to not only even mix all your dry ingredients, but to clear out any lumps and bring air into your flour – just like a sieve would.
You can also try a colander. This works exactly the same as a sieve would, it’s just technically made for a different purpose! It will sift your flour just as well.