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Dec 26, 2006 08:53 PM

Flour sifter

Does anyone still use one of these? I remember using them with my Grandmother when I was a little girl.....recently saw Paula Deen using one on her show.

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  1. Must have used it half a dozen times in the run-up to the holiday. Although flour measurements in many cookbooks these days, at least those that don't provide weights, use the dip and scoop method of measuring, there are still a number of modern recipes that call for sifting either to ensure the thorough mixing of various dry ingredients or the lack of lumps.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      Sifting doesn't thoroughly mix the dry ingredients. Rose Levy Beranbaum did her Masters thesis on the very subject, and found that the most effective way of mixing dry ingredients was in a food processor. If you want to see the effect, take a tablespoon of colored sugar and sift it with a cup of flour.

      1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

        I thought I knew her books by heart but I didn't realize that. And now that you mention it, every time I used the sifter in the past few weeks there was something that could be lumpy in the flour such as baking powder, light brown sugar, or confectioners sugar.

        I guess you *can* teach an old dog new tricks. And since my sifter takes up valuable cabinet space . . . . Hmmm.

        1. re: JoanN

          If you'd like to read the story behind it, it's in the introduction of The Cake Bible.

    2. i just use a whisk to evenly mix dry ingredients. chances are i'll also use it for eggs or something else in the same recipe -- one less thing to clean.

      1. I got rid of mine. It was too uncomfortable to use, all of that squeezing the handle thing repetitively. Now I just use a mesh strainer when I need to sift something and it is not often

        1. Yeah, I never use mine. My understanding is that sifting dry ingredients used to be more important under older processing techniques and standards that left a lot more foreign objects in flour.

          1. Have to admit I own three.(Blush) Mine, plus I inherited Mama's and my grandmother's. I use a sifter when recipes call for them. A lot of older recipes do, and some newer ones that are more precise.
            There is a difference between "1 cup flour, sifted" and "1 cup sifted flour" - in the first, you measure and then sift; in the second you sift first. There's a volume difference between the two, however small. Picky, picky, picky, I know - but I was taught by picky cooks.