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…
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