Sifter recommendations: I am baking more with whole grain flours and would like a good, easy to clean sifter. Ideas? (I know some people use a sieve -- maybe mine was too fine, but it was painfully slow when I tried.)
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Get a medium-sized mesh colander. Works like a charm.
I don't own a sifter. Honestly, sifting is not necessary. Just get your flour good and aerated with a whisk and then gently spoon the flour into your measuring cup (don't pack it), and level it off with the back of a knife or an offset spatula if you have one.
Even better would be to buy a kitchen scale and weigh your flour.
The only thing I sift occasionally is powdered sugar, and I use the medium mesh sieve for that too.
I think the best sifter is a regular wire strainer, or sieve. I've had all types of sifters and they are just so slow! The hand cranks on many of them don't work well and they are a pain to clean when you use cocoa or anthing other than white flour. That's my opinion, for what it's worth!
I also tend to think it's a waste -- but, my new favorite cookbook, good to the grain, keeps insisting on the importance of sifting, which is why I asked. Glad to see I am not the only one, but don't want hockey-puck whole grain baked goods,
I got that book for Christmas!! Can't wait to dig in. Looks like I might be sifting more than I want to!
So if you sift whole grain flour, are you trying to eliminate bran and germ? I prefer some texture -- that's where the goodies lie as well as a lot of taste. (Yes, they can be finely ground, but why skip out on the nature of the stuff?)
Good to the Grain has you dump everything into the bowl, but using the sifting to eliminate lumps -- maybe I just try whisking and using my fingers to eliminate lumps and skip the pesky sifting??
I actuallly emailed the Good to the Grain author - she wrote back that she thinks whisking well should work. Joy!
Yay! I guess we're off the hook then!
Ditch the sifter. Go for a mesh strainer/sieve. Easy to clean, easy to store, a multi-tasker. If you want to make sure you get the extra "goodies" from your whole grains, go for a larger mesh, or a colander. All the sifters I've had hurt my hands to work (either crank or squeeze) and are a major PITA to clean. Strainers/sieves/colanders are cheap, easily available, and can go in the dishwasher.
I'm on the hunt also for a fine-mesh, hand-crank sifter/sieve. I used a handheld sifter/seive (i.e., a mesh bowl with a handle) for years, for separating bran from the endosperm, for the purpose of soaking the bran in the liquid ingredients for a little while before adding it all to the flour for a better rise. But the mesh is really too coarse to hold back all of the bran, so recently I bought a "sieve" (or a round pan with fine mesh) which works better but makes a mess as I have only one (plastic) bowl large enough to really accommodate it. Many hand-crank sifters claim a "fine mesh" but when I read the actual descriptions they don't appear to be that fine. I'd like to find a hybrid between a basic hand-crank sifter (preferably with a lid to contain the flour cloud) and a fine-mesh "pan" sieve. Surely someone has thought of this - ??
I've had best results with one with a curved wire sweep turning in a half dome shaped piece of mesh very fast and easy to clean. The more commonly seen type with a flat screen and an x-shaped sweep are a pain to use and clean. Actually, a lot of ingenuity has gone into the design of these things over the years, but I'm not so sure what's available now- simple, practical items like this are evidently not very profitable, as businesses don't put a lot of effort into them anymore.