Are you wondering why you’re not getting that fluffy and soft bread? While every step in the baking process is important and contributory to making good bread and other baked goodies, there is one that is often overlooked—sifting.
Do you realize that when you sift the flour and other ingredients, it gets aerated making it less dense and easy to mix and measure? Sifting also removes a lot of lumps which can potentially ruin the baked products.
You do realize the importance of picking the right sifter at this point right? But that might not be as easy as you might think. There are a lot of brands out there that’s competing for eye share and they are all trying to be better than the other.
Would you be able to pick the right one? Of course, you would. With this review, you will so read on.
How Important is Sifting Flour to Baking
I have already mentioned aeration and removing lumps, but I believe I need to expound it further. Aerating flour by sifting it results in a light and delicate texture in your baked goodies. For cakes and pastries, this can be the difference between professional quality and a lumpy-and-bumpy-who-knows-where-it’s-made product.
Climate plays an important role in how the flour can clump and compact inside the bag. In humid tropical countries, it has been observed that flour packed more densely and a cup may actually weigh more. This means that you may actually be using more flour than you should, resulting in a dry and brittle product.
If the flour has been sitting in the bag for some time, there is a good chance that it is already compacted. It is a good idea to just go ahead and sift it before you actually start measuring out overly packed portions.
While a lot of recipes are more forgiving than others when it comes to measurement, simply sifting the flour results in more consistent quantity regardless of where you’re located. This adds up to a more predictable and consistent result.
Generally, if you’re trying to bake delicate products, you need to be precise with your measurements. This highlights the importance of sifting in the bigger picture of baking.
Lastly, it used to be that store-bought flours have creepy crawlies feeding on them. Although better production conditions in factories have made this less of a problem nowadays, it’s possible but bugs and bits of debris can still make it in the bag. You will save yourself from a huge headache later on by simply sifting the flour.
What to Look for in a Flour Sifter
As I have already mentioned, there are a lot of brands out there that’s competing for your attention, but there are ways to distinguish a good sifter from the garden variety. While your baking needs are the ultimate standard of your buying decision, here are some of the qualities that you would look for in a sifter.
- Ease of operation
- Measuring marks
- Fineness of the wiremesh
How frequent are you baking huge recipes? If you do this often, then you need a sifter that’s larger. Large sifters will save you more time. Most sifters can range from 1 to 5 cups capacity.
You don’t want to be buying a new sifter every time you bake something, do you? Try out the construction of the sifter if you think it can last long-term use and abuse. Sifters are often made from hard plastic to stainless steel. If you want a sifter to last, bet on the stainless. Plastic is fine as long as its really hard, but don’t expect it to really last that long.
You hands are mostly full when baking and you can’t afford to have your sifter to get in the way. To fully enjoy the baking process, you need to have a sifter that’s easy to use and would seem like an extension to your hands.
Crank-style sifters allow you to break lumps of flour but often times, they are difficult to operate. If you buy this style of sifter, make sure that it cranks smoothly.
A measuring mark is a simple but very important add-on in a sifter. Not only will it save you a lot of time, it will also remove a lot of the guesswork involved in measuring flour and other ingredients.
Make sure to choose a sifter that has a measuring mark that’s highly visible both inside and out. The markings and numbers should be stamped and not just painted. Painted markings fade over time.
The finer the wiremesh, the more the sifter can filter the ingredients. It will be able to remove more bugs and debris that might get embedded in the flour resulting in purer baking ingredient. It will also aerate the flour better resulting in fluffier and softer baked goodies.
If you take note of these qualities, you can be sure to pick the best flour sifter for your baking needs. Regardless of how many brands are placed in front of you, you can still choose the best one because you know what you’re looking for.
My Top Five Flour Sifters
Based on the criteria above, I went ahead and chose the best five for this review. I have personally tried these and I also considered other reviewers opinion in formulating my own. Although this listing is not exhaustive, these are the ones I’ve tried and would personally vouch for.
The Bellemain 3-Cup Stainless Steel Flour Sifter
If you’re looking for a flour sifter that has decent capacity and weight, the Bellemain 3-Cup Stainless Steel Flour Sifter is a fine choice. It can sift 3 cups simultaneously and it weighs only 6 ounces. The hand crank is smooth and works flawlessly in removing lumps from the flour.The measurements are stamped on the stainless steel body and you can visibly read it both inside and out.
For people suffering from arthritis, the handle is ergonomic enough to handle. To me, this speaks a lot about the level of care the manufacturer puts into it.
This sifter is roomy enough to allow huge quantities of flour or sugar and it aerates dry ingredients well resulting in fluffier and lighter baked goodies.
- It’s lightweight but sturdy
- Has enough room for 3 cups of sugar and flour
- Highly readable measurements
- Single mesh and highly reliable hand crank
- All you need to do is wipe it out to clean it.
- The mesh tends to be larger
- The crank is harder to operate at times.
The Norpro Stainless Steel 3-Cup Rotary Hand Crank Sifter
Another good contender in the 3-cup sifter department is the Norpro Stainless Steel 3-Cup Rotary Hand Crank Sifter. It’s made from high quality lightweight stainless steel with a design that’s simple yet elegant. You can easily see the stamped measurement both inside and out and it has a dual wire agitator.
To use it, all you need to do is add the ingredients and turn the hand crank which is super smooth to operate.
If you’re baking cakes and other goodies with delicate texture, this is the sifter to use. You can even use it to dust food with a light dusting of sugar. You clean it by either washing or just wiping it.
- Highly readable measurement markings
- Made from light but high-quality stainless steel
- Decent capacity
- Easy to clean
- Smooth hand crank operation
- Double wire agitator ensures no flour is wasted
- Measurements are not precise
- Handle tends to be problematic for people with disabilities
- Flour can leak through the sides of the sifter
The Natizo Stainless Steel Flour Sifter, 3-Cup
If you want to sift flour without the possibility of wasting it on the side of the sifter, the Natizo Stainless Steel Flour Sifter, 3-Cup is what you’re looking for. This is because it comes with a lid cover that protects the flour from spilling over the sides. This simple but useful improvement is really important particularly if you want to maintain the cleanliness of the baking area.
It has a single mesh and two wire agitator which ensures that no ingredient is wasted. These also ensure that flour and others ingredients are well aerated and properly sifted.
- 100% sifter and agitator performance
- Lid cover ensures no flour is wasted
- Durable hand crank, agitator and sifter. Made for long-lasting operations
- Cleaning is as easy as wiping it out
- Bottom lid does not fit well
- Flour can leak where the crank is located
- Mesh is sometimes too large for smaller particles
The Cook N Home 8-Cup Stainless Steel Flour Sifter
Are you baking huge quantities often? Then the Cook N Home 8-Cup Stainless Steel Flour Sifter is what you’re looking for.
While it’s not a joke to be sifting 8 cups all the time, it’s a time saver if you’re looking at baking huge quantities.
This behemoth of a sifter can sift a maximum capacity of 8 cups without any hiccups because of its durable and sturdy build. Coupled with a strong stainless steel construction, this sifter is made for serious baking.
Mesh is also made of stainless steel and the wire agitator is easy to operate. The crank is decently smooth but tends to become harder as you add larger flour volumes.
- It’s biggest strength is its huge capacity
- Durable and sturdy stainless steel construction
- Easy and simple to clean
- The crank handle often comes off
- The mesh if too big for fine ingredients
- Measurements are inaccurate
Mrs. Anderson’s Hand Crank Baking Flour Sifter, 3-Cup Stainless Steel
Another 3-cup contender is the Mrs. Anderson’s Hand Cr an k Baking Flour Sifter, 3-Cup Stainless Steel. It removes lump easily through its fine wire mesh and agitator. It accomplishes decent aeration but may not be ideal for sifting powdered sugar.
It must be the kind of steel that’s used but I find it to be a bit heavy for its size. Nevertheless, its durable and sturdy being made of stainless steel.
- Breaks lumps with ease
- Accomplishes decent aeration
- Easy to clean and simple to operate
- Crank tends to be flimsy
- Too heavy particularly when full of flour
- Not ideal for powdered sugar
The clear winner in this review is the Bellemain 3-Cup Stainless Steel Flour Sifter. The lightweight and sturdy construction is a killer because all the other contenders tend to be heavy. This is particularly true of the Cook N Home 8-Cup Stainless Steel Flour Sifter. The weight may be due to the capacity but a lighter material could really help in that case.
Three cups is the typical sifting capacity needed for most baking unless you really want to bake huge batches. This eliminates the 8-cup contender. I’m all for the highly readable measurements because you need to be precise particularly for delicate baking.
All the other sifters suffered from the single mesh allowing some finer particles to escape so it’s really a minus for all the sifters reviewed.
Have you tried any of these flour sifter? Kindly share your success story in the comment section below.