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Old 06-21-2010, 06:49 AM   #1
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To Sift or Not To Sift

I understand the concept of sifting flour to lighten it up but I don't understand why recipes tell you to sift your flour and then tell you to pour milk and oil/butter/lard all over it, then squish it all together with your hands or beaters, and then roll it with a heavy rolling pin. Doesn't that just smoosh down all that lightened up flour you just sifted?

It seems like such an obvious curiosity to me but I did a search and couldn't find this question anywhere in the DC forum. Therefore, I'm bracing myself for a simple answer to this question that everyone must know but me.

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Old 06-21-2010, 07:31 AM   #2
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The reason for sifting, even just before adding liquid, is to prevent any clumps from forming. Flour that hasn't been used for a while and has gotten damp, depending on the weather, how you store it, and where you live, can greatly effect the portion of the flour that has been exposed to the air.

Someone who lives in a rainy/coastal city such as Seattle is going to have a different texture to their stored flour than someone who lives in a dry climate, such as Phoenix. Sifting is necessary in order for everyone to achieve the same result.
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:43 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selkie View Post
Someone who lives in a rainy/coastal city such as Seattle is going to have a different texture to their stored flour than someone who lives in a dry climate, such as Phoenix. Sifting is necessary in order for everyone to achieve the same result.
Thank you, Selkie...that makes sense. That didn't occur to me. I don't bake much so have never noticed flour of varying textures before. I wonder if it's necessary to sift if the flour is fresh then.
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:59 AM   #4
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I would sift new flower, but that's my personal choice. There's a second reason for always sifting, and I didn't mention it before because it's not very pleasant.

Things other than flour, can upon occasion, be found in the sack... such as bugs, animal parts or pieces of the grinder. Sifting is just a prudent thing to do.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:03 AM   #5
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...okay, I'm a believer now

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