Sifting

Does anyone have a neat trick to sift dry ingredients without a sifter or a fine mesh sieve? Thanks!

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HalfPint
HalfPint September 14, 2012

I use a whisk.

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ChefJune
ChefJune September 14, 2012

You're going to need one or the other. A whisk does not sift, per se. Only aerates.

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BrangDang
BrangDang September 14, 2012

I agree, stick to sifting for the best results. A whisk will never give you the same results, also sifting is pretty enjoyable.

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SeaJambon
SeaJambon September 14, 2012

Agreed on sometimes there isn't a good substitute for the right equipment. Personally, I prefer a sieve to an actual sifter -- so much more versatile, easier to clean and typically less expensive. I frequently find myself dusting the top of something with a little powdered sugar, and immediately see the clumps that don't go through (and which all the best whisking in the world wouldn't break down). This is particularly an issue if using organic powdered sugar (which I do). My theory is that the organic uses a little tapioca starch (as opposed to cornstarch in the non-organics) to keep it from clumping, and it isn't quite as effective. That said, I'll trade the little bit of clumping (that sieving removes, so not a problem) in an organic/non-GMO product, for smoothness in a non-organic/high likelihood GMO (did you know that 88% of the US corn crop is GMO?) product.

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Reiney
Reiney September 14, 2012

Sieve over sifter for sure - you can keep to the never-having-a-kitchen-utensil-that-serves-only-one-function rule this way, plus I find a sieve less awkward to use.

But in a pinch, a whisk is better than nothing.

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Melusine
Melusine September 14, 2012

The fine mesh sieve!! If you hold it high over the bowl, it also helps to aerate the flour or powdered sugar.

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Pegeen
Pegeen September 14, 2012

Are you stranded in a vacation house without a sifter? Yikes! A broken window screen from out in the garage will do. Could get messy, though. I often use a whisk, but I'm not a baker.

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Linn
Linn September 15, 2012

Ever considered using a scale?

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Sam1148
Sam1148 September 18, 2012

I always use a scale. I'm from the south and AP flour here is soft. So a cup of USDA AP flour is 125 g/cup. While Martha White or Gold Medal is 130g/cup.
You'd think that's small amount but can make a diffrence in baking. (especially "no kneed bread").

Scales are so cheap now, it doesn't make sense not to have them.

CarlaCooks
CarlaCooks September 18, 2012

I use a strainer (the kind you would use for vegetables or large-shaped pasta) over a bowl. It seems to work fine.

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Reiney
Reiney September 18, 2012

Agree with Sam on the benefits of scaling, but scaling and sifting are two different functions.

Sifting breaks up clumps and aerates the ingredients - especially crucial for fine powders like icing (powdered) sugar, cocoa powder and cake/pastry flour, but basically not at all important for bread flour. It can also help mix two or more ingredients together, such as sifting baking powder with flour.

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