Monday, 10 January 2011

To sift or not to sift....

Have you ever baked cookies, read a recipe, and saw it said "sift the flour." Ever wondered WHY you are sifting the flour? Is it really necessary? Not only sifting flour is easy, it should be done with the majority of dry, powdered goods. Read more to find out why!

Why do you sift flour and other dry goods?When dry goods, esp. flour, is packaged into paper and plastic packages, it "clumps" up because of the tight space. Then, it is moved into delievery trucks, grocerey shelves, and people's pantry space. Yes, it will clump it! Sifting flour will make it uniform, thus creating a uniform batter/dough/product.

What do you use to sift dry goods?There are the "old-fashion" sifters, which look like a large tin can with handles. Those are out-dated and rarely used. You can used a "sieve" or "strainer." They look like a mess screen ball cut in half with a handle. I love using the strainer because it serves as a multi-use tool in the kitchen. I can sift flour, strain stock, and drain pasta. You can buy a cheap, plastic one at any kitchen store. Buying a plastic strainer makes it easy to clean and store.
A "quick" method is using a whisk to "whisk out the clumps" in dry goods. I sometimes use this method when I am in a hurry. Yet, using the strainer is just as fast as whisking the dry goods.
I have heard of people using their hands, wooden spoons, or forks to "break up the lumps." Basically, when sifting, you want to break up the lumps of dry product. I like using a strainer because it is quick, easy, and it serves as a multi-use tool.

How can you tell if you properly sifted flour/dry goods?You can tell if you properly sifted flour if your baked good comes out without any "baked flour lumps." Sifting is easy to do and master! I recommend it whenever you are baking.

What about cocoa powder and powder sugar?I recommend ALWAYS using a sifter when baking with cocoa powder and powder sugar. Why? They become very compacted when package, thus creating large lumps. Baking powder and baking soda tend to "clump" also, so sift it with the flour. You can sift it all together.

-Place your strainer over a bowl.
sure the strainer fits on top of the bowl.
-Measure your dry ingredients and place directly in the "middle" of the strainer.
-Using your hand, "push" the dry ingredients through the strainer.
-Your sifted flour is now in the bowl, ready for use!
-Bake and be happy!

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