Sifting the flour, in addition to keeping it from clumping, will also introduce air between the grains, resulting in a light, fluffy cake. This is important because store-bought flour is usually tightly packed and dense, and may be subjected to further stresses during shipping and storage. Sifting the flour will help remove any lumps of flour (which could affect your cake) as well as filter out any unwanted debris. In addition, sifting will also make it easier to mix flour with other dry ingredients such as baking powder, salt or cocoa powder. There are several different ways you can sift flour. But whichever method you choose, your cake is sure to be even more delicious! Get started with Step 1 below to learn how and why to sift flour.
Step 1. Pay attention to the words in your recipe
One of the most important things to consider before you start sifting flour is the wording in the recipe that has to do with sifting.
- Sometimes a recipe says "1 cup flour, sifted". When this is the case, then you only need to take 1 cup of flour and then sift it.
- However, if the recipe says "1 cup of sifted flour (sifted flour)", then you will need to sift the flour first before measuring it. You can do this by scooping 1 cup of flour from a bag or container and sifting it into a bowl. Then use a spoon to transfer the sifted flour back to the cup or measuring cup, and use a knife to level the surface of the flour.
Step 2. Use a sieve
- Place the flour into the sieve and hold the sieve over the bowl/container/basin or tray. The higher you hold the sieve, the more air you will get into the flour.
- But holding the sieve too high over the bowl can make it fall apart and fly all over the place. Therefore, it is better to line the bowl with a wide parchment paper so that it can hold the flour grains that fall outside the bowl. That way you can easily collect and put the flour in the bowl.
- Sift flour by shaking it left and right or hitting the side. This way the flour will fall lightly into the bowl underneath. If your flour is very lumpy or you need an extra light, fluffy flour for certain recipes (such as for making Angel Food Cake), you can sift in the flour twice.
- If you want to mix the flour with other dry ingredients such as baking powder or cocoa powder, simply place all the ingredients into a sieve at once and sieve as usual.
Step 3. Use a sieve or sieve
If you don't have a sieve, you can easily use a sieve with fine holes to sift through the flour.
- Simply place the flour in a sieve and sift the flour by tapping the sides of the sieve or using a fork to stir it.
- If you don't have a filter with fine holes, a regular filter will work as well.
Step 4. Use a whisk or whisk
You can also use a whisk to mix the flour in a bowl. While this won't produce a flour that's as light and fluffy as if it were sifted, it will help to break up any lumps of flour and introduce some air between the flour grains.
Stirring also allows you to “kill two birds with one stone”: you can mix all the dry ingredients together while making the flour lighter and airy
Step 5. Use a food processor
A food processor will give you the same results as a whisk – only faster. Put the flour in a food processor and turn it on four or five times. Make sure the lid is screwed on tightly, otherwise you could make the flour fly and splatter all over the place!
Step 6. Store the flour in a plastic container
If you store flour in its packaging bag like you bought it, the flour can easily be pressed back and solid without air.
- That's why it's best to transfer the flour you buy to a large, airtight storage container as soon as you get home.
- Once the flour is in the storage container, stir it with a fork or wooden spoon to get some air in. Or simply shake the storage container with the lid attached!
- Then the next time you need flour for a recipe, you can stir the flour you picked up in another bowl before using.