ABC of Baking: Importance of Sifting of flour/ Why Sift flour
SIFT THE FLOUR
LIFT THE AIR
Sifting flour? Is sifting of flour required? Is it important? If yes, what purpose does it solve? If no, can it be avoided?
I have seen my mom, granny, mom in law, aunts, everybody sifting the flour before kneading it to make chapatis.
I am sure, you all must have experienced this some time or the other. It was a common practice in every household.
However, it seems to be weaning away nowadays.
When I started cooking, I too blindly followed the practice as was told that chapatis come out soft and light by doing so.
But had no clue as to what makes it soft and light.
I somehow believed that it was done to remove impurities (bran) and lumps, if any, in the flour.
No doubt, this is one of the reasons behind sifting but when I entered the world of baking, I realised that there was much more to it.
While following the recipes to bake cakes, breads etc, I noticed that one step was common and that was to sift the flour at least 2-3 times.
Slowly and gradually, with practice, through reading and sharing with friends, I understood the science behind sifting.
Sifting, in fact, is a process through which air is incorporated in the flour, which in turn, makes the end product light and fluffy, be it chapatis or cake or bread.
Through sifting, the flour becomes aerated.
Apart from this, there is one more reason for sifting and it is that ingredients like salt, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder etc gets mixed up evenly in the flour.
Nowadays, people are also using fork or wire whisk for this purpose. It does solve the purpose to some extent but sifting undoubtedly gives excellent results.
To sum up, we can say the three purposes of sifting flour are:
Remove impurities and lumps.
Even mixing of ingredients.
So please, if you want light n fluffy cakes n bread then don’t underestimate the importance of sifting.
Use a strainer or sifter for sifting flour.
While baking, first weigh/measure the flour, cocoa and other dry ingredients and then do the sifting.
Make it a routine to sift the flour at least once, whether it is whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour or any other.
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