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Old 11-26-2008, 02:30 PM   #1
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Would I (my pancakes) benefit from a flour sifter?

Hi there - I have a wee bit of a pancake obsession... I make them every Sunday morning - and have been doing so for 4 or so years now. I try to make them slightly different every week - I'm always trying new things to get the perfect pancake. I'm also always trying to make them healthier - reducing butter, using whole wheat flour, etc.

Anyways - would my pancakes benefit from the flour being sifted before being stirred in? What does benefit from sifted flour? Additionally - isn't flour from the store typically pre sifted?

Thanks!

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Old 11-26-2008, 02:36 PM   #2
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Sifting separates flour granules and aerates the flour by more loosely packing the flour. Any sifting that may have been done is long lost by the time it gets to your home.

This will make a fluffier pancake. Measuring will also be different as sigted flour takes up more space than unsifted.
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Old 11-26-2008, 02:51 PM   #3
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Ditto what Andy M. said ... measure your flour before sifting it. If you sift all of your dry ingredients together then you will not only loosen up everything together you will also weed out any lumps or clumps. And, you don't need any special flour sifter - I just use a large fine-mesh strainer and it works just fine.
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Old 11-26-2008, 03:15 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses Andy and Michael! I sometimes use brown sugar in my pancakes - would brown sugar be ok to put through a sifter or might it clog it?

Also - is it better to not get a flour sifter and just get a non specialized sifter instead? Or does it just matter? What's the difference? Mesh size? Any suggestions for one?

Thanks!
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Old 11-26-2008, 04:04 PM   #5
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No you should not put brown sugar in a sifter; it will get clogged because brown sugar is moist with molasses. You can only put dry ingredients in a sifter.
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Old 11-26-2008, 04:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uoficowboy View Post
... I sometimes use brown sugar in my pancakes - would brown sugar be ok to put through a sifter or might it clog it?
Brown sugar is a "wet" ingredient and should be mixed with the other wet ingredients (milk, eggs, etc.) before combining with the "dry" ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, etc.). No, you do not sift it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uoficowboy View Post
Also - is it better to not get a flour sifter and just get a non specialized sifter instead? Or does it just matter? What's the difference? Mesh size?
I just use a fine-mesh strainer for flour. I also have a medium-mesh strainer that I will sometimes use for corn meal (to sift together corn meal and flour for cornbread) if it is too coarse to sift through the fine mesh.

I, personally, can see no advantage to a specialized flour sifter ...
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Old 11-27-2008, 03:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael in FtW View Post
Brown sugar is a "wet" ingredient and should be mixed with the other wet ingredients (milk, eggs, etc.) before combining with the "dry" ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, etc.). No, you do not sift it.



I just use a fine-mesh strainer for flour. I also have a medium-mesh strainer that I will sometimes use for corn meal (to sift together corn meal and flour for cornbread) if it is too coarse to sift through the fine mesh.

I, personally, can see no advantage to a specialized flour sifter ...
I agree with Michael. Why buy a sifter when a strainer will do the job just as well? Not only that, sifters can rust, and most are a pain in the butt to clean. And, as Alton Brown says, the only uni-tasker in your kitchen should be the fire extinguisher.
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Old 11-27-2008, 07:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Sedagive View Post
I agree with Michael. Why buy a sifter when a strainer will do the job just as well? Not only that, sifters can rust, and most are a pain in the butt to clean. And, as Alton Brown says, the only uni-tasker in your kitchen should be the fire extinguisher.
Not only that but a strainer is much faster than the traditional sifter.l
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Old 11-28-2008, 05:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uoficowboy View Post
Hi there - I have a wee bit of a pancake obsession... I make them every Sunday morning - and have been doing so for 4 or so years now. I try to make them slightly different every week - I'm always trying new things to get the perfect pancake. I'm also always trying to make them healthier - reducing butter, using whole wheat flour, etc.

Anyways - would my pancakes benefit from the flour being sifted before being stirred in? What does benefit from sifted flour? Additionally - isn't flour from the store typically pre sifted?

Thanks!
I know what you mean by pancake obessions, I make them every Sat and Sun morning, it seems like forever. I do have and use a flour sifter, but not for pancakes, I've had the sifter since I started baking, in the early 1970's. And it is rusty on the outside, but I keep using it and pop it in the dish machine every couple of months. when I deem it unusable, I probably will not replace it, just go with a mesh strainer.

Let me give you my recipe for whole wheat pancakes that calls for no sugar. This recipe uses at least three leavening agents; beaten/whipped eggs, baking powder and soda/acid. It produces surprisingly light pancakes

2 cups whole wheat flour ( I have tried all sorts of ww flour; bread, cake, pastry and all work equally well) or any combination of rye, buckwheat, corn meal etc..
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon optional

2 eggs well beaten

1 3/4 cup buttermilk or thinned yogurt

2 T. oil

stir together dry ingredients. beat eggs in a med size bowl. add and stir in buttermilk. stir in dry ingredients until blended, stir in oil.

Since I make this recipe so often, I really like how little baking powder and soda this uses....so many pancake or biscuit recipes call for much more baking powder than 1 t.
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Old 12-02-2008, 10:14 AM   #10
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A triple sifter is most beneficial if you bake. Some recipes--like sponge and angel cakes are much lighter and bake higher when the flour is sifted--it also helps to ensure there are no lumps when you use the sifter while you are folding in the flour to the batter.

Some folks avoid sifting by putting flour in the a food processor and aerating it that way. Personally, I would rather use my sifter than have to wash my food processor.
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