Sifting flour is a crucial step in baking by breaking up clumps and aerating the flour. There are many ways to sift flour, including with a sifter or strainer, that allow your flour to sift smoothly into your mixing bowl. Read more to learn how to sift flour to make your batter smoother and more consistent.
When Should You Sift Flour?
The wording of the recipe will help you determine when to sift the flour. If the recipe doesn’t specifically call for sifting flour, don’t sift it. Language like “1 cup sifted flour” means to sift the flour first, then measure it. “1 cup flour, sifted” means to measure the flour, then sift it once measured.
How to Sift Flour with a Sifter
Follow these steps to learn how to sift flour with a sifter.
Hand crank sifter
Step 1: Get Your Supplies Ready
Set out a scale, mixing bowl, sifter and all of your dry ingredients.
Step 2: Measure Out the Desired Amount of Flour and Add Flour to Sifter
If you have a kitchen scale, choose your weight unit (usually grams, though the recipe will specify).
Using a spoon, scoop the desired amount of flour into the sifter until you reach the target weight.
Note: If your recipe calls for X cups of sifted flour, sift a large batch of flour and measure out your amount from that batch of sifted flour. If your recipe calls for X cups of flour, sifted, measure out only that amount and then sift that same amount.
Step 3: Remove any Visible Clumps
Take your spoon and gently break up visible clumps.
Step 4: Sift Flour
Hold your sifter over your mixing bowl.
Crank or gently tap the side of your sifter to gradually break up your ingredients.
Continue until all flour has fallen into the bowl.
Step 5: Incorporate Flour into Batter
Add flour to other dry ingredients.
Sifting Flour with a KitchenAid® Sifter + Scale Attachment
The best flour sifter is one that sifts and incorporates flour gradually into your mixing bowl. Follow these steps to learn how to sift flour with a sifter.
How to sift flour without a sifter
Find out how to sift flour without a sifter using common kitchen tools.
Fine mesh strainer
Step 1: Measure out your desired amount of flour
Use a kitchen scale to weigh out flour.
Step 2: Pour flour into mixing bowl and whisk
Aerate flour by gently whisking the flour with short, quick movements. A fork will also work.
If using a sieve, colander or strainer, pour the flour into the strainer and tap gently over your bowl.
Step 3: Incorporate flour into batter
Add sifted flour to other ingredients per your recipe.
Knowing how and when to sift flour will help you achieve your desired results in baking. Read the recipe carefully and measure flour per recipe instructions.
Why Sift Flour Before Use?
If a recipe requires sifted flour, it means a more aerated flour is required with no lumps. Sifting reduces lumps and makes mixing ingredients easier. The result is smoother, more uniform batter. Flour that hasn’t been sifted can make delicate baked goods like angel food cake or a Mother's Day cake too dense, hence why sifting flour is important.
How Do You Measure Flour for Sifting?
It’s best to measure dry ingredients by weight. Learn how to measure sifted flour with a few kitchen tools.
Step 1: Sift flour onto parchment paper or into a bowl
For sifted flour, sift a batch of flour over a large piece of parchment paper or into a bowl.
For flour, sifted, skip this step, and sift after measuring.
Step 2: Spoon the flour onto kitchen scale
Spoon flour from parchment paper or bowl onto scale.
If you don’t have a kitchen scale, spoon flour directly into measuring cups and scrape a knife across the top to remove excess flour.
Step 3: Weigh your flour
Add flour to scale until desired amount has been reached.
Step 4: Add sifted flour to recipe
If you’re sifting after measuring, sift flour and then add to other ingredients per recipe.
Explore KitchenAid® stand mixers and attachments
Few activities in the kitchen are as satisfying as baking. With KitchenAid® stand mixers you can take your sifted flour and use it to make any number of fresh baked goods. And if you want to elevate your desserts, KitchenAid® stand mixer attachments and accessories will help you create sweet, delicious fillings for your recipes.
Discover new food processor possibilities with KitchenAid
Crusty Bread Stand Mixer Recipe Flour, salt, yeast, water and your stand mixer are all you need to bake the perfect crusty bread. Start creating simple crusty bread recipes in your kitchen.
How to Make Homemade Bread with a Stand Mixer Learn how to make homemade bread with a stand mixer. Get tips on techniques, tools and accessories to streamline your bread making.
Stand Mixer Attachments Buying Guide Take your creativity to the next level with stand mixer attachments. Explore this buying guide from KitchenAid brand to learn about stand mixer attachments and accessories.