So we don’t bake that often, but when we do, we want it to be easy, neat and with great results! One of the processes that is often called for in baking recipes is to “sift the dry ingredients”. And you may have wondered, as I did, what is it, and why do you need to do it?
The “what” is simply passing your dry ingredients through a fine sieve, often with the help of a paddle or other pusher to make it go through faster and more thoroughly. The “why” is a little more complex and interesting. Originally, one of the reasons for sifting was to remove foreign matter: husks, bugs, stones, etc. Most flour today is very clean, so this isn’t much of an issue, but there are some other very important reasons for doing it. First, when you sift dry ingredients, you aerate them, which makes them easier to mix with your wet ingredients (think way fewer lumps to have to press out!) The other advantage of sifting is that it mixes your dry ingredients better, before you combine them with the wet ingredients. This means your flavors are more evenly distributed.
OK, so now we have the “what” and “why”; let’s talk about the “how”. Most sifters we’ve used have been reasonably efficient, but often messy, spreading the flour or other dry ingredients over a wide space. That’s mostly because once the dry ingredients are sifted, they are pretty light, and it’s darn hard to keep them contained. But one of our favorite vendors, Fox Run Brands, thought of a better way…
The Fox Run Swift Sift (say that 3 times fast!) is both self-contained and self-enclosed, with a whole lot of other great features! First, it has 2 containers: the upper container, into which you put the ingredients to be sifted, and the lower container into which you deposit the sifted ingredients. These two containers screw together, so there are no undisciplined flying ingredients to be lost. Since baking often is such a precise process, losing some of the carefully measured dry ingredients could be very problematic. The Swift Sift also has a lid that fits on both the upper and the lower containers, so you can put it on the upper container while you’re sifting to keep ingredients from flying out and on the lower container if you’re not using the sifted ingredients immediately. The two parts also stack very compactly for storage.
Now let’s get to the actual sifting. I’ve used sifters you squeeze and sifters you shake and even electric sifters, but none of them have worked as quickly or efficiently as the Swift Sift. It has a “Chatty Cathy” type string on the side that you pull to move the “paddles”, and only one or two pulls will take care of 1 cup of flour.
The other thing I love about the Swift Sift is that both containers have measurement markings, so whether your recipe calls for 1 cup of flour sifted or 1 cup of sifted flour (there is a difference!), you’re all set.
This is the best design we’ve ever seen in a sifter, and with its compact footprint and reasonable price, it is truly a Cool Tool.
- Measures up to 3 Cups of Flour
- Stackable to 6”/15cm x 6”/15cm x 4.75”/12cm for easy storage
- Easier and faster than standard sifters
- Dishwasher safe
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